Phase II

The headlines out of the Senate Intelligence Committee's "phase two" report into the administration's use (and abuse) of pre-war intelligence:

  • Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa'ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa'ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
  • Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.
  • Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.
  • Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community's uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.
  • The Secretary of Defense's statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.
  • The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.

Going forward, I merely urge people to recall that the administration didn't make all this stuff up for fun. They did it because they know that the public is not, in fact, particularly jazzed about preventive war and unilateral militarism. It's a lesson I wish more Democratic politicians would learn.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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