Mary Pitt: Faulty Intelligence
by Mary Pitt
As Congressmen and Senators, having felt the outrage of the American public at the conduct of the War of Choice, are pursuing the opportunity to keep their well-paying jobs in the upcoming election, more and more of them are announcing that they regret having voted to go to war. Their alibi is that they were the victims of faulty intelligence which caused them to misunderstand the situation. However, upon examination, it would appear that the pertinent intelligence which was faulty just may have been their own!
If little old ladies out here in the Great Fly-Over, without advanced degrees and with scant access to news sources were aware that all the "intelligence" which was spoon-fed to the public by this administration was nothing more than selective propaganda, then why was it so difficult for Congressmen and Senators to see through it? It did not take a rocket scientist to connect the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center with the one which was perpetrated in 1993. Those bad guys were tried and securely locked away, but had threatened, to paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger, "We'll be back!" Any body who was in public school from the thirties to the fifties would have been able tell them the difference between an act of war and an international crime.
Instead of using a police force or our vaunted "Special Operatives" to bring the miscreants to justice, there was a great rush to invade the nation where they had taken up residence. There was no reflection on the fact that the people responsible for this reprehensible act had been literally created by our own government, who had armed and trained them and sent them to Afghanistan to help repel the Soviet forces. We did not want the Soviets to conquer Afghanistan but we dared not send our own forces on pain of open warfare with the Soviets ourselves, so we sent proxies. However, once the Soviets had been put in their place, we simply left the soldiers of Al Qaida where they were rather than having them withdraw to their own native soil. And so, as could have been expected, they took over that small nation as their own and converted the people to their own radical faith.
As soon as it was thought that we had "saved" Afghanistan from Al Qaida, the drum beat began that we should also "save" Iraq. We were told of Weapons of Mass Destruction, though the inspectors on the ground argued long and loudly that there were none to be found. We were reminded that Iraq "had" biological weapons that we had sold them while they were our allies in the war with Iraq and that Saddam had used them to put down a revolt among his own people. Meanwhile, the scientists were telling us that those biological specimens would have degraded into worthlessness in the ensuing time. In retrospect, it would seem that there was no lack of real intelligence. Anyone who was sentient and awake during the previous thirty years would have been sufficiently aware of these facts. and would have been able to filter the "faulty intelligence" in the light of them, much less those persons who had been in public service for much of that time.
Those same little old ladies out in the Great Middle were also cognizant of the fact that, according to our Constitution, only Congress is allowed to declare war and, having done so, to oversee the conduct of that war. Passing a measure that would allow the executive to do whatever he thought best is a poor cop-out, and the oversight was limited to briefing certain members of certain committees regarding what the administration wanted them to know and the bulk of Congress was left in the dark about what was really going on. Only when something like the Abu Ghraib photos leaked out did they realize that all was not going so well as they were being told. However, the same legislators who decry the "faulty intelligence" were willing to re-enact the hated Patriot Act and to allow the continuation of torture of "terror suspects" at the discretion of the President. Now they have added insult to injury by giving the president the power to declare any American citizen whose objections to his policies might rankle him the accusation of "fostering terrorism", to suspend their Constitutional rights and to lock them up forever without family contact, attorney's counsel, or the right to a fair and speedy trial.
Now we find ourselves bogged down in a foreign war which we cannot win and we cannot back out of and we are being hyped to enter into another against Iran, which the administration also views as a threat. The same type of "intelligence" is being given to the members of Congress and the same war drums are being pounded as many more nations are beefing up their defenses, not knowing who may be next. We have tried to get NATO to take over our "Afghanistan problem" but they agreed to accept the job of "peace keeping" only to find their forces falling in a real, live war. We can't expect them to stay long and we will have to increase our presence there. Meanwhile, our sons, brothers, and fathers are being treated as virtual prisoners to the military, having their service extended and being recalled time after time, literally fighting until death or debilitating injury.
Our national treasury has been depleted many times over while our citizens are suffering privations due to the inflation of health and medications costs and stagnant income. People are losing their homes and their cars while the medical, insurance, and oil companies are making record profits as taxes are cut for the rich and the burden of paying for everything falls on the middle class. It is small wonder that the American people are finding "faulty intelligence" to be an inadequate excuse for our representatives in Congress to have allowed this to happen. What happened to all the smart people for whom we voted to represent us in Congress? Did they have an attack of total amnesia or is it something in the air conditioning in the congressional office buildings that prevents normal brain activity? For what reason did they suddenly find their memory gone and lose their common sense which should have told them that the "intelligence" which they were so carefully spoon-fed was simply improbable and highly unbelievable?
Perhaps it is time for us to assure that anybody who supported the beginning of this horrible war will spend an extended time working at a real job in their home territory and to learning the things that are important to the common people.. Perhaps we should withhold our vote for anybody who voted to support the President in his war aspirations and choose to send some other people to Congress who know and consider the problems and welfare of their electorate, with the mandate to restore the Constitution and the rule of law to our beleaguered nation. We must not excuse their misfeasance and malfeasance of office with the lame excuse of "faulty intelligence" but let them pay the price for their own faulty memory and lack of discrimination in differentiating between intelligence and propaganda.