The airwaves, the print pages and the blogosphere–including my favorite site, TMV–have been full of news, commentary and opinion on continuing developments in the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton drama. Not that these events are unimportant, but there has been some other important news. For example, yesterday the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its “little“ 171-page “Report on Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq.”
According to the New York Times, “the report was released Thursday after years of partisan squabbling, and it represented the close of five years of investigations by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence into the use, abuse and faulty assessments of intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.”
I would say that this is pretty important stuff. To be fair, the media did mention it yesterday in their newscasts and did devote some copy to it today. The New York Times had on its front page, “Bush Overstated Iraq Evidence, Senators Report.” The Times also had an editorial , “The Truth About the War.” The Los Angeles Times had, on page A20, “Senate Intelligence Committee rebukes Bush, Cheney on prewar claims.” My hometown newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, had a front page article, “Panel attacks war claims.” I was a little disappointed that one of my favorite newspapers, USA Today, only covered this important story in an Editorial. “Iraq intelligence findings provide crucial lessons.”
I found the words and phrases that the various newspapers used to describe the Bush administration’s “use, abuse and faulty assessments of intelligence” quite interesting: “misled,” “overstated,” “exaggerated,” “false claims,” “false pretenses,” “fundamentally misleading,” “withholds vital information,” “repeatedly exaggerated evidence,” “ignored dissenting views,” “contradicted available intelligence,” “not giving a full and honest account.”
Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W. Va), chairman of the intelligence panel put several of these scattered words and phrases together into a more meaningful, and damning, statement: “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed…Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.”
As I said, the words and phrases used to describe the Bush administration’s actions are “interesting.” But what I find even more interesting and telling is that most of us are still reluctant to use the noun “lies” (plural) or the verb “to lie” to describe such questionable conduct.
The New York Times came close to it and at the same time avoided the issue entirely when saying, “We cannot say with certainty whether Mr. Bush lied about Iraq.”
I must assume that we are still intimidated by Cheney’s gravitas and still hoodwinked by Bush’s flimflam.
To read a Press Release on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s “Report on Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq” , go here