The title of this blog comes from Mark Knopfler, "What It Is," from Sailing to Philadelphia, but today it's Bob Graham, former Senator from Florida and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, telling what it is in an op-ed--"What I Knew Before the Invasion"--for the Washington Post. He chaired the Intelligence Committtee during the run-up to the vote that Bush claims authorized his going to war with Iraq--as opposed to an outright declaration of war presumably--and to keep it short, Graham says that the Bushies cooked the books, showing members of Congress and the public unclassified intelligence briefings that led to the conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a growing menace. The classified material, he says, was laced with doubts and caveats. Moreover, Graham says: "In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away." Privy to those classified briefings, Graham voted against the war. His colleagues in Congress should have been more vigilant. But I think Graham should have been less the good scout and told people the hidden truth in plain English. His service now is to expose Bushy's new lie--that everyone had the same "intelligence reports" he had.
The L.A. Times's Bob Drogin and John Goetz produce the goods on Curveball, the primary source for the Bushies claims about Saddam's capacity for producing WMD, especially biological weapons. Curveball's handlers in the German intelligence agency, BND, repeatedly warned the Bushies that their man's information was highly suspect and that Curveball himself was "'not a psychologically stable guy,'" according to Drogin and Goetz. Their exhaustive investigation revealed, they say, "that U.S. bungling in the Curveball case was worse than official reports have disclosed." In essence, the non-reality based Bushies ignored evidence provided by UN weapons inspectors and anyone else that Curveball was wrong. Surprise.
Drogin and Goetz don't say it, but when you add a compliant press, lazy and frightened Congress and public to the mix, you get ignominy, torture, white phosphorus, wasted lives, one nation in ruins and another bankrupted economically and morally.