“Dead Wrong”

The US Presidential Commission investigating intelligence failures before the Iraq war has released its report and its conclusions are devastating. This is arguably the most damning assessment yet of American intelligence gathering (in)abilities and should cause proponents of action against Iran, Syria or North Korea to take a step back from the precipice. Much more information is required to determine any political pressure by the Bush administration on the CIA, despite the report denying anything of the sort occurred.

Who will be held accountable? Let’s now watch the pro-war crowd promote the virtues of invasion. Once again, the end will be skewed to justify the means.

Supporters of Bush, Blair and Howard should be constantly reminded that the original critics of the war were almost universally correct on WMD, an Iraqi insurgency and the fallacy of importing “democracy” into a country divided along ethnic lines. We were sold this war on lies. And if we want to avoid history repeating itself, we must speak up now, now matter how ferocious those who prefer dissenting voices to be silenced.

Lewis Lapham is the trail-blazing editor of Harpers. He writes in Theater of War of the need for individuals against the corporatisation of war to more fully engage with the wider community. “The more people who become fully human in the world”, he says, “the fewer the hostages to fortune, and the less seductive the voices prophesying war.”

UPDATE: Gorilla in the Room explores why this investigation was “hobbled from the start” and only examined the role of the agencies that are formally part of the intelligence community, and didn’t peek into the role of the Office of Special Plans or the Vice President’s office. As he rightly says, don’t let the mainstream media get away with whitewashing our elected leader’s responsibility – this is not just about the CIA.

UPDATE 2: The Nation’s David Corn further explains why the Bush administration, and its allies, are not off the hook with this latest report.

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