Friday, February 10, 2006

CIA Official: Intelligence Community's Work Politicized for War

CIA Official: Intelligence Community's Work Politicized for War

This is very important news. This is the the first time that a senior intelligence officer has so directly and publicly condemned the Bush administration's handling of intelligence related to its pre-Iraq war decisions. Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, has written an article for the the journal Foreign Affairs which says that the Bush administraion was not only determined, but willingly blind to the full scope of available Intelligence information at the time of the Iraq war lead-up. It is clear that a war of option (now known as a failure because intelligence was ignored) was not going to be denied the hyperfocused administration.

From the Washington Post:
Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, acknowledges the U.S. intelligence agencies' mistakes in concluding that Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. But he said those misjudgments did not drive the administration's decision to invade.
So what DID drive the administration's decision to invade? (Remember, our House and Senate voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002 on the predication, from documents supplied by the Bush administration, that the intelligence presented was sound)
"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."
You may ask - what were "strategic-level intelligence estimates? Why would they have been important to consider before committing our troops to a ground war in Iraq?

Pillar says that the entire body of official intelligence analysis was not taken into consideration:
"If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication, it was to avoid war -- or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath.
He also blames some in the Intelligence Community for their weakness and their bending to the administration's hunt for reasons to support war:
They .. knew, [Pillar] wrote, that senior policymakers "would frown on or ignore analysis that called into question a decision to go to war and welcome analysis that supported such a decision. . . . [They] felt a strong wind consistently blowing in one direction. The desire to bend with such a wind is natural and strong, even if unconscious."
Mr. Pillar describes a process in which the White House attempted to frame intelligence results by repeatedly posing questions aimed at bolstering its arguments about Iraq. They were focused on a Saddam/al-Qaeda link, which has never been proven by one shred of evidence from any reputable journalist or investigator. The administration's hyperfocus caused them to become blind to any contradictory intelligence evidence.
The Bush administration, Pillar wrote, "repeatedly called on the intelligence community to uncover more material that would contribute to the case for war," including information on the "supposed connection" between Hussein and al Qaeda, which analysts had discounted. "Feeding the administration's voracious appetite for material on the Saddam-al Qaeda link consumed an enormous amount of time and attention."
Pillar says that the general belief among experts in the Intelligence community was that Saddam was being contained and that a war was not necessary. Put that thought up against the aftermath of the American occupation of Iraq. If you're not enraged, you simply are not paying attention.
"...the prewar intelligence asserted Hussein's "weapons capacities," but he said the "broad view" within the United States and overseas "was that Saddam was being kept 'in his box' " by U.N. sanctions, and that the best way to deal with him was through "an aggressive inspections program to supplement sanctions already in place."

Flemming Rose Goes..

Flemming Rose Goes..

Flemming Rose goes on vacation, that is.

It seems that the Jyllands Posten cultural editor could be as unapologetic as he liked about taunting Muslims, but when he dared to say he'd consider printing Iran's proposed Holocaust toons - and maybe some Jesus funnies - -


Flemming was whisked off on an extended vacation.

Pissing off the West?
What was he thinking?!

NY State Has Largest Education Funding Gap

NY State Has Largest Education Funding Gap

At my blogsite, you can read about the shame of New York State - the truth that Governor George Pataki would rather have you not know.

If you do not know about the largest education funding gap between the haves and have-nots in this entire nation, read about it - and learn about A.100 - Schools for New York's Future act, which will turn the tide and provide every public school student in New York state with a sound basic education.

Michael Berg, Father of Slain US Citizen Runs for Congress

Michael Berg, Father of Slain US Citizen Runs for Congress

"We cannot afford to be distracted by this war any longer while our planet passes the point of no return in global warming. We have urgent business to attend to such as the disgusting practice of American corporate CEOs of stealing profits in their yearly bonuses that exceed what most of us would earn in ten lifetimes. Yes. The war is too costly and I am against it! I am against any plan that has our troops and civilians occupying territory anywhere in the Middle East region for one more day. Only when we withdraw from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of the Middle East will we cease to be a target of terrorists. I am against the continuation of this war for another day, another hour, another minute, another life, another heartbeat of one of the world’s sons or daughters."

-Micheal Berg, father of American citizen Nick Berg, who was slain in Iraq.
Mr. Berg (Green Party - DE) is running for a seat in the US House of Representatives.

Some knee-jerk war apologists have gone deep into the territory of falsehoods and complete disrespect for Mr. Berg to combat his strong conviction. It seems that they would say just about anything to divert people from the truth - a truth that is proven more and more as each day passes.

Budget Cuts Reveal Bleak GOP Hypocrisy

Budget Cuts Reveal Bleak GOP Hypocrisy

Mary Matalin recently appeared on Hannity and Colmes, referring to some of the speakers at Coretta Scott King's February 7 funeral, and had the audacity to blame African American leaders for keeping their community members feeling victimized - sinking as low as to calling civil rights leaders "racists. Meanwhile, the immoral and socially irresponsible policies of the Bush administration and the GOP cry out for realistic scrutiny. The truth speaks louder than the spin. The recent budget cuts are a perfect example of not only racism, but an outright abandonment of America's working poor.
I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping constituency, they're keeping their neighborhoods and their African-American brothers enslaved, if you will, by continuing to let them think that they're -- or forced to think that they're victims, that the whole system is against them.
I wonder if Mary Matalin realizes how many poor mothers of minority children cry when they think about the bitter truth - that kids in the suburbs are regularly prepared for college while their boys are ill-prepared for anything except future incarceration and their young girls face a future of motherhood at far too young of an age?

Wake up, Mary Matalin. The system is stacked against them and the facts prove it. Your party's indifference to social democracy is not helping you to create the moral society you brag about wanting to achieve.

I am calling these people on their sheer hypocrisy and false spin about matters of race, social justice, and class.

How moral or just, in its effect, is the slashing of $49 million from the federal budget for the reintegration of youthful offenders into society?

Fact: The United States is already the world leader in execution of youthful offenders. Due to the many years it takes to process appeals in the United States , juvenile offenders are sometimes in their twenties or even thirties by the time the executions take place. Nevertheless, between 1990 and January 2000, the U.S. executed more juvenile offenders than the rest of the world's nations combined. The U.S. Juvenile Justice System in general, seems to favor incarceration and punishment over rehabilitation and treatment when dealing with juvenile offenders. With social workers replaced by lawyers, juvenile courts increasingly have taken on the character of the adult criminal court system, violating international standards. In many cases children in the US are detained and incarcerated following conviction when other options such as counseling, rehabilitation, and restorative justice programs are available.

How hypocritical is it to know that, while President Bush tells us that we need qualified teachers in Math and Science to make all of our children competitive in the global economy, that Teacher Quality Enhancement has been cut to the tune of $60 million?

Fact: President Bush's “American Competitiveness Initiative” would result in the recruiting of 70,000 new math and science teachers and encourage 30,000 private sector math and science professionals to teach in the schools. However, since the proposed fiscal 2006 budget decreases funding for elementary and secondary educational programs, we can only assume that the funding for these new teachers will fall to the states. It couldn't come from any other source.

Read about the priorities that were listed for the State grants for which a whopping $60 million of support for teacher enhancement in the states have been torn away:

U.S. Department of Education Priority Areas For State Grants:

Initiatives to reform state teacher licensure and certification requirements so those current and future teachers possess strong teaching skills and academic content knowledge in the subject area that they will teach.

Innovative reforms to hold IHE teacher preparation programs accountable for preparing teachers with strong academic and teaching skill.

Innovative efforts to reduce the shortage (including the high turnover) of highly competent teachers in high-poverty urban and rural areas.
The Republican plan for education is revealed as an emperor with no clothing. All hat - no cattle. Pro-business, anti-social. It leaves the already tax-burdened states' children to hang. States are already having great difficulty meeting the financial burdens placed on them by the No Child Left Behind act. Over 50% of US schools lack the resources necessary to implement No Child Left Behind standards. The GOP policy has made it more difficult for low and middle-income American families to send their kids to college,cutting grant and loan programs that would finance that education.

If Bush and his rubber-stamp GOP were truly concerned about our children competing in the global economy, they would never have cut out their support for states to fund educational grants for children from pre-school through college age.

Where's the beef?

Mahablog Visits CSPAN

Mahablog Visits CSPAN

Congratulations to Barbara O'Brien of Mahablog, who did an outstanding job on her CSPAN debut. I'm sure there will be a link to a video of her appearance on Washington Journal made available at the CSPAN website soon. It's good to see progressive bloggers having an opportunity to speak in such a widely viewed public forum.