Well, well, well.
The Senate Democrats attempted to document the "lies" told by the Bush Administration that supposedly propelled us into war in Iraq. They released their report, written solely by Democrat staffers, last week, with a press conference chaired by Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Republicans were barred from contributing anything to the report, so we can be certain that the report is "truthful," or at least very, very truthy.
The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt, who edits the WaPo editorial page, did some digging into the report, and guess what he found? Hold on to your hats, folks, because the road gets very bumpy up ahead:
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, set out to provide the official foundation for what has become not only a thriving business but, more important, an article of faith among millions of Americans. And in releasing a committee report Thursday, he claimed to have accomplished his mission, though he did not use the L-word.
"In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent," he said.
... But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.
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.
... After all, it was not Bush, but Rockefeller, who said in October 2002: "There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can." (all emphasis added)
Ouch. And how embarrassing! Rarely has a partisan indictment turned out to be such an utter failure.
It should also be noted that this is only the latest in a series of investigations that have turned up no evidence whatsoever that either the Bush White House or the British deliberately falsified intelligence claims in order to make the case for removing Saddam Hussein from power. And speaking of "imminent threats," remember what Democrats had been saying about Saddam Hussein up until March 2003?
The Anchoress wonders, "Perhaps they see things improving so much in Iraq that there is going to be a slow turning around of the narrative - like turning around the Titanic - so that Democrats can stop pretending they never voted for the action, and get ready to claim a share in victory."
Sadly, as I have opined before, I believe that this is true. The Democrats have made their whole "Bush lied" case out of errant decisions that were made by the Bush White House five and six years ago. Yet since then, the Democrats have been wrong about virtually everything concerning Iraq and Afghanistan. When Republicans start bringing this up during the upcoming election battle, the Democrats are going to need a way to defend themselves, because Bush Derangement Syndrome has not been substantiated by any sort of rational intelligence.