Last weekend, Tony Blair's government was exonerated of malfeasance, and accusations by the BBC of 'sexing-up' intelligence were dismissed as fiction (followed by the resignations of several top BBC officials, and Andrew Gilligan, who forwarded the charge). Yesterday, "Congressional and CIA investigations" similarly cleared George W. Bush and his administration of pressuring or meddling with intelligence:
Richard J. Kerr, a former deputy CIA director who is leading the CIA's review of its prewar Iraq assessment, said an examination of the secret analytical work done by CIA analysts showed that it remained consistent over many years.This has not apparently deterred what James Taranto refers to as the "BUSH/BLAIR LIED!!!!" crowd, as accusations of conspiracy between government officials and investigators have begun to spread. On the British side of things, no one seems to have complained during the investigation that 'Lord Hutton was in Tony Blair's pocket' (he wasn't) - only after his decision was announced do these allegations see the light of day. In other words, once opponents of Blair saw that the report was not going to condemn him, they began looking for ways to do so themselves: namely, a politically-motivated Conspiracy Theory. Of course, I've written before on how I feel about Conspiracy Theories, but there's a further point (made by the forementioned Mr. Taranto) that deserves attention:
"There was pressure and a lot of debate, and people should have a lot of debate, that's quite legitimate," Kerr said. "But the bottom line is, over a period of several years," the analysts' assessments "were very consistent. They didn't change their views."
Kerr's findings mirror those of two probes being conducted separately by the House and Senate intelligence committees, which have interviewed, under oath, every analyst involved in assessing Iraq's weapons programs and terrorist ties.
[T]here's something highly perverse about people who assume our government is lying and a genocidal dictator was in the right.Indeed there is. And there's also something perverse in the willingness of free people to deny that same freedom to others. Let there be no doubt: had Bush and Blair not done what they did, Saddam would still be in power, and the Iraqi people would still be horribly oppressed.
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