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post #71 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 08:05 AM
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3. No, it is NOT wrong. True, they had access to intel throughout the 1980's and 1990's. However, if you are suggesting they made the recommendation to Congress to go to war on 20 year old data, and not the fresh cooked data then you are far more delusional on this that I could believe.

The crux of the issue is the cooked data and the Senate Committees reliance on it as they made their recommendations to Congress. It has nothing to do with how they function, the merits of their Select status or whether or not they have levels of independence. If they are given poor intelligence, either accidentally, intentionally or at the direction of the President, they are going to make their decisions based on that information. PERIOD. And the dominoes fall from that point.

As for 1, 2, 4 you are on a roll for making gross assumptions tonight. You might want to gain some perspective as your assumptions are leading you badly astray.

As a Systems Project Manager while in the Air Force I had several opportunities to deal directly with appropriations and other committees. As a civilian I have had two opportunities to testify before House committees on removal of Nerve Gas from LBAD. I have experience that spans 25 years in knowing how Congressional committees work.
You clearly missed the part where the committees' judgments were ongoing and related to historic and contemporaneous intelligence. They get the NIE. It is incumbent upon them, by their charter, to investigate practices and policies of the intelligence community. They could (and should) have subpoenaed relevant evidence and analysts and supervisors. Maybe they did, I don't know. If you look at the record they all drank the Koolaide.

Was it a massive conspiracy? I doubt it. Having worked at various levels in private corporations, volunteer groups and in government, I have seen the group-think phenomenon suffuse a committee, infect a paradigm and destroy dissent. It happens with remarkable frequency and it is extremely difficult not to become part of the tribal response. Most of the time the group-think response is positive because most of the time a well-run committee does a good job of eliminating bad ideas. But sometimes it doesn't work that way.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #72 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 09:33 AM
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mcbear and Bot seem to be stuck on Bot's implied suggestion that it was OK for Bush and Company to cook intel, etc., etc., etc. and it was the responsibility of Congress to go back to their charter for conducting oversight in Constitution and do their jobs correctly instead of claiming they were duped years later. GS summed it up pretty well above and I repeat his paragraph below because it does reflect the pretty poor caliber of people we have collected in Congress:


"It all stunk of bullshit from day one. And if it stunk to you and me, it should have certainly stunk to our lawmakers on Capital Hill, who failed to execute their responsibility to oversee the executive and dismantle a well-crafted but obvious propaganda campaign. They were not victims of a hoax, they were co-conspirators, some by intent, some by neglect. This is the bunch that overwhelming voted to pass the Patriot Act, without even reading it first, and this is the bunch that voted war powers to Bush without bothering to read the national intelligence estimate. Dem members of the Intelligence Committee cry foul more than 3 years after their joint recommendation? We should hang the lot from a yardarm. There are no innocents here."

But acts of deception and outright lying that were the tools used by the Bush Administration to make anyone vulnerable to reelection that was coming seem sympathetic to those who inflicted the 9-11 disaster on America are a more severe failure in my mind, and likely mcbear's. The Constitution has checks and balances to address a shitbird getting into the President's Office and preclude a shitbird from doing shitbird things (took out the Nazi terminology for Bot). That they failed to tie the shitbird in knots and waterboard him is a failure on their part. But that does not excuse Bush from being a shitbird and surrounding himself with shitbirds to carry out his shitbird agenda. Bush used paranoia and fear to manipulate America from Main Street to the back rooms of the halls of Congress and then on to the floor of the UN. He is still doing it with his FISA revision, while taking care of his co-conspirators. Congress today is not much better than Congress in 2002. They are still too motivated to win another election to do their jobs. And Bush is still lying and manipulating.

Jim
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post #73 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 12:42 PM
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mcbear and Bot seem to be stuck on Bot's implied suggestion that it was OK for Bush and Company to cook intel, etc., etc., etc. and it was the responsibility of Congress to go back to their charter for conducting oversight in Constitution and do their jobs correctly instead of claiming they were duped years later.....
If that's what you think my argument is then you are dreadfully incorrect.

My argument is that both the president & congress have and since the 19870's have always had, access to analysts & managers and data that the intelligence community uses to make recommendations to the president and the NSC policy makers to set government policy. It is the legal and sworn duty of congress to conduct that oversight function in as nonpartisan a fashion as congress could design. Being an inherently political body, it cannot possibly be perfect. But it can be rational if it chooses to be.

Over the course of the past 16 years the select committees have been consistent in their advice to the full membership of both houses and both parties, no matter whom has been in the presidency and no matter which party controlled congress.

Were the committees wrong? Obviously. Was the president wrong? No question. Does being wrong mean that there was a conspiracy in place that, for 16 years directed public policy in both houses of congress, both parties and 3 presidents? That's fucking stupid, lazy thinking.

Intelligence gathering and analysis is far, far more complex than the simplistic conclusions that make cute sound bites and partisan arguments. Yet another solid reason to hold the 2 major parties in the highest contempt.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #74 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 12:50 PM
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They could (and should) have subpoenaed relevant evidence and analysts and supervisors. Maybe they did, I don't know. If you look at the record they all drank the Koolaide.

Was it a massive conspiracy? I doubt it.
The Committee did it's job to the best of its abilities. It could only do with what it had. And what it was given was poor information. Some true, some lies, some cooked, some falsified, some omitted. That has always been the point. They made their decisions from that.

Where they part of a conspiracy, NO. But was the leadership of the committee eager to question the integrity of the White House prior to the Invasion of Iraq? NO. Part of that was 9/11 hangover, part was partisan, part was a failure to realize the Administration would go to those lengths to start a war. After the fact evidence proved them wrong.

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post #75 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post

Were the committees wrong? Obviously. Was the president wrong? No question. Does being wrong mean that there was a conspiracy in place that, for 16 years directed public policy in both houses of congress, both parties and 3 presidents? That's fucking stupid, lazy thinking.

Intelligence gathering and analysis is far, far more complex than the simplistic conclusions that make cute sound bites and partisan arguments. Yet another solid reason to hold the 2 major parties in the highest contempt.

B
This is the issue that causes the argument to fall apart. You try to tie 16 years of intel, multiple congresses and three presidents to the decisions that led to the Invasion of Iraq. The BULK of the information that led to that decision, based on the 9/11 Commission was fresh, yet tainted intel that was provided by our intel community. Much was either shaded, omitted, falsified or cooked at the direction of political appointees of the Bush Administration, all according to the investigation by the Republican controlled investigation.

So the 16 years, three presidents and multiple congresses are red herrings, having no bearing on the post 9/11 decision making of the Senate Committee and their recommendations to Congress or Powell's recommendations to the UN Security Council.

We do understand what your position is, you have made it very clear, but on this very critical element of it, it falls apart and becomes a rationalization for the Invasion, obfuscating Bush's responsibility for the cooked intel.

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post #76 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Were the committees wrong? Obviously. Was the president wrong? No question. Does being wrong mean that there was a conspiracy in place that, for 16 years directed public policy in both houses of congress, both parties and 3 presidents? That's fucking stupid, lazy thinking.

Intelligence gathering and analysis is far, far more complex than the simplistic conclusions that make cute sound bites and partisan arguments. Yet another solid reason to hold the 2 major parties in the highest contempt.

B
I'm not going to argue your point, except to suggest that extreme partisanship is a form of conspiracy, a conspiracy of neglect in regard to independent thought/action -- or "group-think", as you put it. Political parties are most likely to promote candidates who are willing to toe the party line, and least likely to promote candidates who take their responsibility to their constituents seriously. In any case, I don't want to argue semantics, I couldn't possibly agree with the highlighted text more.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #77 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 01:34 PM
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If that's what you think my argument is then you are dreadfully incorrect.

My argument is that both the president & congress have and since the 19870's have always had, access to analysts & managers and data that the intelligence community uses to make recommendations to the president and the NSC policy makers to set government policy. It is the legal and sworn duty of congress to conduct that oversight function in as nonpartisan a fashion as congress could design. Being an inherently political body, it cannot possibly be perfect. But it can be rational if it chooses to be.

Over the course of the past 16 years the select committees have been consistent in their advice to the full membership of both houses and both parties, no matter whom has been in the presidency and no matter which party controlled congress.

Were the committees wrong? Obviously. Was the president wrong? No question. Does being wrong mean that there was a conspiracy in place that, for 16 years directed public policy in both houses of congress, both parties and 3 presidents? That's fucking stupid, lazy thinking.

Intelligence gathering and analysis is far, far more complex than the simplistic conclusions that make cute sound bites and partisan arguments. Yet another solid reason to hold the 2 major parties in the highest contempt.

B
Bot, you must be blind to the pattern of your argument over time.

I think most of us would agree that Congress is a woefully ineffective and inefficient organization. The executive branch is much less of a prescription for chaos. There is a person in charge. The foibles of the Congress need not become the same stumbling blocks for the executive branch, by design.

You feel much more comfortable that the executive branch was acting in good faith when they used the WMD and Saddam = Al Qaeda arguments to justify invading Iraq. Many of the rest of do not. It is not a "grand conspiracy" theory that would demand the combined efforts of several administrations and the intelligence community for several decades. That would truly be a conspiracy of such great proportions it would fail just because of its size.

In this case our country was attacked on 9-11 and the country responded by coming together as it has not in decades to recover and strengthen itself to prevent such events from happening again, and then to find the ones responsible and basically kill them. The obsession with Saddam Hussein by GWB and cronies is not explainable with reasoning and logic. They continue to try to rewrite the historical facts. There was a reason, in their minds, to attack Saddam but it was not based on the intelligence communities' combined efforts that pointed the finger at Saddam. Congress could have and should have put a stop to the march to invade Saddam. They failed. But that does not excuse the Bush administration from conducting the march under false pretenses.

It is pretty plain. The Administration cherry picked intelligence. The aluminum tubes story. The mobile chemical weapons factories. It goes on and on. Not anything that could be verified, believing junior dweebs who made bum conclusions and scheduling meetings when more knowledgeable types who refuted the dweeb's conclusions were not available. It goes on and on. Standing up a separate "intel" group under Rummy's thumb to make the case for Saddam being the culprit because the CIA wasn't getting the job done. Just too many steps that indicate the answers, truthful ones, were not of value here. Only those bits that could be construed to justify the march were brought up. Right down to throwing the UN inspectors out while they were confirming Saddam's claims he had no WMD.

Yes, Congress failed. But that in no way excuses Bush and his cadre of Constitution burners. Jim
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post #78 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 01:36 PM
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^ Yes.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #79 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 03:52 PM
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I'm not going to argue your point, except to suggest that extreme partisanship is a form of conspiracy, a conspiracy of neglect in regard to independent thought/action -- or "group-think", as you put it. Political parties are most likely to promote candidates who are willing to toe the party line, and least likely to promote candidates who take their responsibility to their constituents seriously. In any case, I don't want to argue semantics, I couldn't possibly agree with the highlighted text more.
I agree. That is why I specifically made mention of 16 years and multiple changes in parties in both houses of congress and 2 branches of government. During that time congress had full access, by law, to the NEI and through subpoena power, full access by law to analysts, managers, decision makers and raw data. Congress passed numerous resolutions, with the advice of both select committees, relevant to Iraq and in support of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Every bit of that data, every bit of that analysis, and the words and actions of Hussein over all of those years very much drove the thinking in the final months before the war. The data, analysis, and policy did not occur in the dead of night and in a vacuum. It was dead wrong. Everybody from the image analyst to the congress to the president was wrong and each individually and collectively is responsible.

It doesn't require a conspiracy. In fact, pursuit of a hypothetical conspiracy under those circumstances is a dangerous divergence because it inhibits acceptance by the public of the culpability of the government and elected policy makers. For those of you in Kentucky, "elected policy makers" includes the president. He is absolutely the decider on the issue of going to war and he absolutely bears ultimate responsibility.

Finally, I have no doubt that if there were any credible indication that there was any plot or conspiracy to intentionally deceive congress that there would be 535 members of congress seeking impeachment. Congress doesn't like to be lied to. Ask Mr Nixon and Mr Clinton.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama

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post #80 of 105 (permalink) Old 07-26-2008, 07:21 PM
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I agree. That is why I specifically made mention of 16 years and multiple changes in parties in both houses of congress and 2 branches of government. During that time congress had full access, by law, to the NEI and through subpoena power, full access by law to analysts, managers, decision makers and raw data. Congress passed numerous resolutions, with the advice of both select committees, relevant to Iraq and in support of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Every bit of that data, every bit of that analysis, and the words and actions of Hussein over all of those years very much drove the thinking in the final months before the war. The data, analysis, and policy did not occur in the dead of night and in a vacuum. It was dead wrong. Everybody from the image analyst to the congress to the president was wrong and each individually and collectively is responsible.

It doesn't require a conspiracy. In fact, pursuit of a hypothetical conspiracy under those circumstances is a dangerous divergence because it inhibits acceptance by the public of the culpability of the government and elected policy makers. For those of you in Kentucky, "elected policy makers" includes the president. He is absolutely the decider on the issue of going to war and he absolutely bears ultimate responsibility.

Finally, I have no doubt that if there were any credible indication that there was any plot or conspiracy to intentionally deceive congress that there would be 535 members of congress seeking impeachment. Congress doesn't like to be lied to. Ask Mr Nixon and Mr Clinton.

B
Sounds nice and very well written but still doesn't address the cooked intelligence issue that WAS found by Congress and shown to intentionally deceive Congress [read your copy of the 9/11 Commission Report]. That deception was instigated by the Administrative. It wasn't a conspiracy, it was simply folks doing their bosses work. Denial can be a harsh mistress.

Oh, and neither Clinton nor Nixon lied to Congress. Clinton lied to a Grand Jury about whether or not he had a blow job. Perspective is also important.

McBear,
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