Author Topic: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?  (Read 1008 times)

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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2019, 05:06:32 PM »
Tenet, if anyone, would have been responsible for the questionable intelligence that was trumped up into an excuse for an invasion. 

In his book, Tenet openly addresses the failings of the CIA. He accepts responsibility and expresses his own regrets about the quality of information that was delivered, how the report was worded, and how that was eventually received, spun, and acted upon by the Bush administration.


His opinions are interesting but I'm not sure how reliable he is.

Nobody's reliability is above question. But Tenet was uniquely positioned to present a timely view of the interplay between the intelligence, military, and political communities during the period in question.   

The impression he creates about the White House's strategic interest in Iraq is no secret by this point. His book was a major bestseller and went largely unchallenged by major figures in the intelligence community and the military, and many of his claims have been verified by senior officials. If his overall depiction was totally off-base, I'd have expected a lot more outrage and push-back from others who were there.

If we're trying to arrive at a fact-based conclusion whether or not the Bush administration lied about Iraq having WMDs, George Tenet (as the ranking Central Intelligence officer) is one of the few individuals who can provide firsthand testimony about that. His book testifies about the political attitude toward Iraq. It provides insight into the plans of Bush administration officials, and addresses the unevidenced claims publicly bandied about by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and others. Most importantly, it provides critical, word-for-word deconstruction and analysis of specific CIA reports about Iraq and WMDs.

Go ahead and handwave it if you like, but it's some of the best-sourced information we have about what was known, what wasn't known, and what was going on inside the White House in the months leading up to the Iraq War. 


Nothing I was pissed when W awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I don't understand the syntax of this sentence.

You do not know what handwaving is. 

I am not handwaving, I am not distracting you from the real issue and pointing you to a smaller issue that's more favorable for my position.

I am simply saying that the primary source for the bad intel that led to the war may not be the most reliable, unbiased and objective sources to rely on.

If you're going to dispute something I'm saying dispute that.
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Offline gmalivuk

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2019, 08:23:57 AM »
I am not handwaving, I am not distracting you from the real issue and pointing you to a smaller issue that's more favorable for my position.
That's not (all of) what handwaving is...
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better...is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2019, 07:28:32 PM »
CarbShark, I'm not letting you drag this discussion into another inane semantic bicker-fest. "Handwaving" is a broad term for an overly dismissive style of rhetoric. Besides what you said, it's also commonly used to describe the act of dismissing a large quantity of pertinent information on a flimsy rationalization.

More specifically, what you did was poison the well by merely asserting that George Tenet was "the primary source for the bad intel," so nothing he says is worth considering. You have obviously come to this opinion without bothering to read his side of the story or examine the CIA reports. You've apparently pre-decided that George Tenet is a villain in your preferred narrative, so you're shutting yourself off from a primary source of insider information about the decision-making process that led to the 2003 Iraq War.

You have a bad habit of letting your confirmation bias deter you from examining any information that you suspect might conflict with your preferred position.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2019, 08:03:16 PM by John Albert »

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2019, 07:34:54 PM »
You’ve fallen hook line and sinker for Tennent’s self- serving version of events.


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and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

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Offline John Albert

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2019, 07:47:36 PM »
I haven't fallen for anything. I never said I take everything Tenet says a gospel truth.

You're just throwing around accusations as retaliation for corrections of your critical thinking failures.

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2019, 08:09:46 PM »
Quote
Nothing I was pissed when W awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I don't understand the syntax of this sentence.

Whoops. It should say simply: I was pissed when W awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Originally I was going to say:  Nothing pissed me off about that war than  when W awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

But then after thinking about it I realized as much as that pissed me off there were aspects of that war that pissed me off even more.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2019, 08:11:30 PM »
I am not handwaving, I am not distracting you from the real issue and pointing you to a smaller issue that's more favorable for my position.
That's not (all of) what handwaving is...

Pretty much it is, at least in terms of rhetoric, logic and critical thinking. Although some of that may not apply in this discussion.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2019, 09:24:56 PM »
I haven't fallen for anything. I never said I take everything Tenet says a gospel truth.

No, no, you did an enourmous post with numerous extended quotes from Tenent's account (spoiled below) with no hint or reservation about his reliability in his account of his own conduct in this enormous debacle.

and finished it with this:
Quote
The book contains a lot more detail about the actual intelligence on WMDs, if you want me to post it.

(No, I don't think anyone here wants more posting)

(click to show/hide)

And then you said this, stoking Tenet's authority on the issue

Tenet, if anyone, would have been responsible for the questionable intelligence that was trumped up into an excuse for an invasion. 

In his book, Tenet openly addresses the failings of the CIA. He accepts responsibility and expresses his own regrets about the quality of information that was delivered, how the report was worded, and how that was eventually received, spun, and acted upon by the Bush administration.

And this
Quote
His opinions are interesting but I'm not sure how reliable he is.

Nobody's reliability is above question. But Tenet was uniquely positioned to present a timely view of the interplay between the intelligence, military, and political communities during the period in question.   

The impression he creates about the White House's strategic interest in Iraq is no secret by this point. His book was a major bestseller and went largely unchallenged by major figures in the intelligence community and the military, and many of his claims have been verified by senior officials. If his overall depiction was totally off-base, I'd have expected a lot more outrage and push-back from others who were there.

In which you contradict yourself and further dig a hole with an argument from popularity (bestseller) and an argument from silence.

Quote
If we're trying to arrive at a fact-based conclusion whether or not the Bush administration lied about Iraq having WMDs, George Tenet (as the ranking Central Intelligence officer) is one of the few individuals who can provide firsthand testimony about that.

Right, and the point is that he is a not a reliable witness...

Quote
His book testifies about the political attitude toward Iraq. It provides insight into the plans of Bush administration officials, and addresses the unevidenced claims publicly bandied about by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and others. Most importantly, it provides critical, word-for-word deconstruction and analysis of specific CIA reports about Iraq and WMDs.

Go ahead and handwave it if you like, but it's some of the best-sourced information we have about what was known, what wasn't known, and what was going on inside the White House in the months leading up to the Iraq War. 



And to describe your credulity with this authority as buying it hook line and sinker is pretty reasonable.


 
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline gmalivuk

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2019, 09:39:24 PM »
I am not handwaving, I am not distracting you from the real issue and pointing you to a smaller issue that's more favorable for my position.
That's not (all of) what handwaving is...

Pretty much it is, at least in terms of rhetoric, logic and critical thinking. Although some of that may not apply in this discussion.

Yeah you still don't know what you're talking about.
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better...is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2019, 10:07:30 AM »
No, no, you did an enourmous post with numerous extended quotes from Tenent's account (spoiled below) with no hint or reservation about his reliability in his account of his own conduct in this enormous debacle.

Like I said, I'm not engaging with any more of your bullshit meta-arguments. If you don't like what George Tenet had to say, you don't have to read it.

I'm posting it because it's the exclusive, firsthand perspective of the sitting Director of Central Intelligence, of behind-the-scenes activities of the US government leading up to the 2003 Iraq War. In those matters, George Tenet is what they call in historical research an original source. His book provides excerpts from official documents as well as a rare insight into the decision making process of the White House during that time period.

Does his account include admissions, apologies, and perhaps some self-serving excuses? No doubt.

Does it contain blatant misinformation? That's hard to know for sure without access to volumes of classified internal CIA documentation which probably won't be made available via FOIA for nearly a decade from now (if ever).

But we do know that At the Center of the Storm was received fairly lukewarmly by former Bush administration officials, despite some of Tenet's criticisms and characterizations reflecting badly on the eagerness with which the administration pursued a war in Iraq. And many of Tenet's claims have even been verified by other officials who were working at the White House and the intelligence community at the time. In general, the Bush administration neoconservatives have been quite unapologetic in their doubling-down on their decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein and turn Iraq into a capitalist windfall of tax-free profits. Taken together, all of that would appear to indicate that Tenet's impressions aren't too far off-base.


(No, I don't think anyone here wants more posting)

Too bad. I'll be posting more excerpts as soon as I have an hour or two to prepare them.

The next round will be Tenet's criticism of Dick Cheney's rousing speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on August 26, 2002, in which he made some bold accusations about Iraq that were unsupported by real-world intelligence.

I will follow that up with excerpts of Tenet's analysis and reflections on the two CIA reports that the Bush administration used as their justification for the Iraq invasion. The first of those documents was the CIA's official National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's potential nuclear capabilities, which was hastily drawn in the autumn of 2002 at the specific request of the White House to aid in their decision to go to war. The other document was an older, unclassified white paper from British intelligence services which provided a rather outdated summary of Iraq's weapons capabilities and possible terrorist intentions. Selections from those two documents were collated together and released to the press, and alleged to be the best US intelligence on Saddam Hussein's potential to deliver on (assumed) threats of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

I'm posting this stuff not because I believe it's the unassailable Truth, but purely in the interest of stimulating discussion. When investigating alleged conspiracy theories, it's always better to have public information from primary sources rather than a bunch of armchair know-it-alls spouting their own opinions as fact.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2019, 10:44:48 AM by John Albert »

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2019, 10:22:25 AM »
I am not handwaving, I am not distracting you from the real issue and pointing you to a smaller issue that's more favorable for my position.
That's not (all of) what handwaving is...

Pretty much it is, at least in terms of rhetoric, logic and critical thinking. Although some of that may not apply in this discussion.

Yeah you still don't know what you're talking about.

Here's a pretty broad definition that's entirely consistent with the way I described hand-waving, and in no way describes my questioning the reliability of Tenet as an authority.


Hand-waving - Wikipedia
Quote
Hand-waving (with various spellings) is a pejorative label for attempting to be seen as effective – in word, reasoning, or deed – while actually doing nothing effective or substantial.

[1] It is most often applied to debate techniques that involve fallacies, misdirection and the glossing over of details.

[2] It is also used academically to indicate unproven claims and skipped steps in proofs (sometimes intentionally, especially in instructional materials), with some specific meanings in particular fields, including literary criticism and speculative fiction, mathematics and logic, and science and engineering.

The term can additionally be used in work situations, when attempts are made to display productivity or assure accountability without actually resulting in them. The term can also be used as a self-admission of, and suggestion to defer discussion about, an allegedly unimportant weakness in one's own argument's evidence, to forestall an opponent dwelling on it. In debate competition, certain cases of this form of hand-waving may be explicitly permitted.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2019, 10:25:36 AM »

I'm posting this stuff not because I believe it's the unassailable Truth, but purely in the interest of stimulating discussion. When investigating alleged conspiracy theories, it's always better to have public information from primary sources rather than a bunch of armchair know-it-alls spouting their own opinions as fact.

Just like Clyde Barrow would be a reliable witness at all of his bank robberies.

Just like we take the word of cops as to what happened at every police shooting.

Just like we rely on Trump's account of his degree of collusion and obstruction.

They're all first hand witnesses and primary sources.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Online Harry Black

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2019, 10:34:18 AM »
Im not sure why people are so willing to give the benefit of the doubt regarding confirmation bias to Cheney and Bush?
The number of things they would have needed to overlook and ignore is staggering to the point of criminal negligence anyway and when you look at other areas where parties have engaged in outright dishonest manipulation of policy at more mundane levels (gerrymandering, legislation in favour of donors, restricting research into gun violence, admission of climate change, curtailing citizens abilities to gain redress through civil courts by capping settlements for certain cases and on and on)....
It really seems like mental gymnastics to give the benefit of the doubt there instead of leaning towards the idea that they are selfish and callous people who felt justified in using their powers to benefit themselves, their cronies and their donors.

I think this inclination generally misunderstands what the principle of charity actually exists to achieve.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2019, 10:38:24 AM »
Just like Clyde Barrow would be a reliable witness at all of his bank robberies.

Just like we take the word of cops as to what happened at every police shooting.

Just like we rely on Trump's account of his degree of collusion and obstruction.

They're all first hand witnesses and primary sources.

And I would take all their accounts into due consideration.

What specific statements of George Tenet's do you believe are lies, and what is your evidence that they're untrue?

(I am not saying I necessarily believe any specific thing he says, BTW.)


Im not sure why people are so willing to give the benefit of the doubt regarding confirmation bias to Cheney and Bush?

(click to show/hide)

I think this inclination generally misunderstands what the principle of charity actually exists to achieve.

Harry, it's not necessary to give anybody the "benefit of the doubt," in order to glean some value out of their writings on the matter.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2019, 10:43:25 AM by John Albert »

Online Harry Black

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Re: Is it a conspiracy theory that Bush/Blair lied about WMDs in Iraq?
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2019, 10:48:37 AM »
John, Im not talking about Tenet. I actually agree with your take on the value of his accounts.
Im talking about giving Bush and Cheney the benefit of the doubt in terms of ignoring the state of the intelligence at the time and what they said publicly to make the war happen. I think when you look at the likelyhood of that vs the much more simple answer that they lied and are war criminals, its unreasonable to have such a generous interpretation.