Democratic Senator John D. Rockefeller claims victory in investigating whether or not Bush lied in order to get us into war with Iraq. 

"In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent," he said.

"Bush lied, people died!", went the call, which is now a piece of Received Wisdom on the Left.  But just a the slogan was disingenuous, so is Rockefeller’s pronouncement on the report.  Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post (no stalwart of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, they) lays it out.

On Iraq’s nuclear weapons program? The president’s statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president’s statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you’ve mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush’s claims about Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq’s contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." The report is left to complain about "implications" and statements that "left the impression" that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation.

So what went wrong?  Hiatt comes to admit that it’s what the Right has been saying all along.

But the phony "Bush lied" story line distracts from the biggest prewar failure: the fact that so much of the intelligence upon which Bush and Rockefeller and everyone else relied turned out to be tragically, catastrophically wrong.

(Wow, is having the MSM call the "Bush lied" meme "phony" one of the signs of the apocalypse?) 

So the line has been drawn, ironically by the Democrats themselves.  Henceforth, anyone parroting this idea is themselves lying or hopelessly uninformed.  Stay tuned.

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Filed under: DemocratsIraqPoliticsTerrorismWar

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