Even the CIA now admits that Dick Cheney lied about Iraq

One of the interesting things about the current presidential race is that the whole issue of the criminal act of taking the US to war against a country that had not attacked it has come front and center. Pretty much all Republicans are being asked about the Iraq war, with the question being framed as to whether, given what we know now (presumably that Iraq did not have any nuclear weapons), they would have made the decision to go to war.

The expected acceptable answer seems to be ‘no’, though some Republican candidates are having trouble coming right out and saying it. Tierney Sneed rounds up all the responses so far from the candidates and the war hawks and cheerleaders. Of course, many of us were saying back then that going to war was wrong but that seems to be too much to ask.

In an interview with Chris Matthews, Mike Morrell (the deputy chief of the CIA during the time of the run up to the war with Iraq) now admits that Dick Cheney lied when he told the nation that the intelligence services had concluded that Iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons, because the CIA never told him that.

Morrell tries to avoid any responsibility for not exposing the lies and even suggests that he was not aware of what Cheney was saying because he was not watching TV, which is utterly absurd. But it is convenient for these people trying to avoid any culpability to act as if they had their heads buried in the sand and had a tightly restricted view of what their job required.

It would have been good if Chris Mathews and other media heavyweights had been this probing and skeptical before the US went to war. As far as the major media in the US went, only Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel of McClatchy news service (then it was called Knight-Ridder) showed any desire to investigate whether what the government saying was true. The TV networks and major newspapers just swallowed the government line and acted like stenographers.


  1. says

    Waaaaitaminnit. George Tenet at CIA had something to do with the lies, too. The reason he was sitting there during Powell’s later-to-be-known-as-embarrassing presentation at the UN was to show that the CIA endorsed the intelligence Powell was touting.

    Let’s not fall for the retconning approach in which a single scapegoat is identified as the main cause of a horrific disaster or decision. For example, too many people seem to think that the holocaust was just Hitler … somehow acting alone, cooking up these ideas. Well, Iraq was the same thing. Everyone in the White House press machine had to have doubts (or they were stupid, but either way went along with it) Bush may have had doubts (but was stupid, and either way went along with it) We know now that Powell had doubts (but was stupid and vain* enough to go along with it) Tenet may have had doubts… etc. etc. The whole fucking Washington apparatus including Congress may have had doubts but went along with it. They don’t get to suddenly blame it on Darth Cheney.

    (* Soldier’s loyalty, pushed to the degree Powell pushed it, is merely vanity about being seen to be super loyal)

  2. Holms says

    I guess it’s important to finally get a public airing of this information on a mainstream channel, but I can’t really be happy that it took 12ish years.

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