Friday, July 09, 2004

U.S.: 9/11 Commission report

Going on on Fox News right now. The chairman Pat Roberts says the commission found, unamimously, that the Bush administration didn't lie about WMDs; the problem is that the CIA gave flawed information. He notes that the world body also had the same information that the U.S. did. Moreover, the Bush administration placed no political pressure on the CIA to provide information that would support a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Roberts says the existence of pressure may be determined by the presence of repetitive questions. He notes that in the questioning of prisoners, such questions are a tool to apply pressure because they result in breaking down the witness and lead to the provision of answers that the investigators want. Roberts notes the absence of these repetitive pressure questions with regard to the WMD. Therefore, the commission's official conclusion is that the Bush administration did not pressure the CIA to provide WMD information to support the war on Iraq.

What does the Democrat co-chair Rockefeller say? The Bush administration used faulty information to go to war, and if Congress had known, they would not have supported the war. After this, Rockefeller, perhaps anxious to spin things in the Bush administration's disfavor, gets into a long, tangled discourse interspersed with highly politicised and biased comments. What's evident to the listener is a very disorganized mind. Noteworthy is that whereas Roberts used "we" to signify the commission's collective embrace of the report's findings, Rockefeller consistently uses "I." In other words, Rockefeller is undermining the unamimity of the commission's findings. As for the issue of pressure on the CIA, Rockefeller's take is it depends on what the meaning of "pressure" is. He says the definition of the term the entire commission used is too narrow, and it requires the addition of other factors in the environment. On that basis, Rockefeller argues, the CIA agents were under pressure by the Bush administration because the country was on a war footing -- there was Afghanistan, and the administration had begun gearing up on Iraq. Thus, Rockefeller considers current events flowing out of 9/11 as Bush administration pressure brought to bear on the CIA.

What might be his reason for doing that? It's election year. Furthermore, should GWB be voted out of office, Democrats would like to put his administration on trial. Should he win the election, Democrats would like to impeach him. I believe that Rockefeller, acting contrary to the national interest, is attempting to lay the ground for an impeachment of GWB.

What is the difference between the presentations of Roberts and Rockefeller? In Roberts's view, speaking for the entire commission, the fault lay with the CIA and the other global intelligence services. The message here is that the Bush administration acted using the same intelligence that the rest of the world possessed; consequently, since the error lay with the various intelligence services, the administration is not to be faulted on the war. The war is still justified, in his view, because of the humanitarian issue.

For Rockefeller, speaking on behalf of the Democrats, the Bush administration is at fault for using information it was assured was reliable. The message here is that the Bush administration knew the intelligence was bad but went ahead on the basis of wrong information.

Listening to Rockefeller, we know what the media and Democrats are going to say until the election. Bush lied because his administration didn't ask questions or query the assumptions of the CIA. Bush lied because his administration used bad information to justify the war. As for the war on terror, frankly, who cares about that? Everybody knows that that is Bush's fault and that the U.S. is less safe than before the liberation of Iraq.

Roberts is concerned about American security; Rockefeller is concerned about the way the U.S. appears in the eyes of the international community. The difference between them is that of symbolism over substance. Thus, Rockefeller, in this new century, is functioning according to the paradigms of the Clinton administration, in the previous century, which paradigms led us to the slaughter of thousands of Americans on the U.S soil in 9/11/2001.

Based on this report and the on-going press conference, I would argue that, for Democrats, politics trumps national security. After a brief pause immediately post-9/11, and in the presence of security provided by the Bush adminstration, Democrats have elected to pursue a strategy which undermines the war on terror and the U.S. efforts to prosecute such. In their worldview, a secure U.S. is not a strong nation, but is one which is liked by and approved of by other nations. Ironically, no Democrats seem to notice that though the Clinton administration appeared to have global approval -- who didn't love that charming, lovable, skirt-chasing rogue Bill Clinton? -- that American interests around the world were being attacked by terrorists until, finally, the U.S. itself was struck on 9/11. Therefore, whether other nations like the U.S. is immaterial; what is more pertinent is whether the U.S. can defend itself. That the Democrats cannot perceive of or embrace this distinction betokens the particular unseriousness of their party vis-a-vis foreign policy and domestic security.

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