Not everyone is a political junkie, and even few political junkies even like reading the government reports on this or that. However, when it comes to war, shouldn’t we all have some sort of documented list of reasons for war as well as periodic updates? I don’t just mean members of Congress (the body that declares and authorizes war) or the President (the man who gets several detailed, classified updates throughout every day). I mean every American. I’d like to see us all get copies of it in the mail with the checks the Democrats’ Congress is sending us for economic stimulus.
Almost half a year before the invasion of Iraq, on Oct 2, 2002 a classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was presented to Congress per the “demands” of Congressional Democrats. The Washington Post reported at the time that only about a dozen senators and a handful of representatives signed in for access to read the classified list of reasons to authorize force against Iraq. Two days later, a vastly smaller version was declassified and more members of Congress read this one. They griped that the “caveats” about the certainty regarding various concerns were not included, but what they didn’t tell their constituents was that those concerns were in the classified version that they were too busy/lazy to sign in and read.
Years later, another NIE was”demanded” by Congressional Democrats so that they could gauge the progress or lack of in Iraq. Again, a classified version was presented to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and a declassified version released, but few signed in to read the classified version, most ignored the declassified version, and only those parts that could be twisted to support their individual political agendas were released to the press.
Years later-again, another NIE was “demanded by Congressional Democrats to identify threats to the nation and gauge progress in Iraq. As before, it was largely ignored after being demanded, and what wasn’t ignored was distorted, half-quoted, misquoted, and misrepresented to fit political agendas-by Democrats and Republicans.
The last time an NIE was presented to Congress, the Director of National Intelligence and representatives from the 16 intelligence agencies that put together these reports all made themselves available for a full day of briefings to Congress. No one showed up except a few Republicans and fewer Democrats. Speaker Pelosi and others were in Syria meeting with one of the state sponsors of the Iraqi insurgency instead.
This week Democratic members of Congress “demanded” (again) that the most recent NIE be declassified and presented to the public.
As if anyone cared to read the first one and see the reasons for the war in Iraq, or the subsequent ones that explained the dangers of withdrawal as well as the other regional threats.
Why “demand”? Why even bother? I mean, I LOVE reading these independent, bi-partisan reports, but it doesn’t change policy, policy-makers’ positions, or political activists rantings. So why bother? Oh yeah…it’s an election year, and politicians need to play politics with America’s intelligence reporting by exaggerating and dismissing the threats around the world lest they fail to misled constituents and fail to be re-elected.