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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 2005 / 6 Mar-Cheshvan 5766

Foul-ups — Not Felonies

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Were the American people taken into war on false pretenses? That is the mushroom cloud of a question conjured up by the Senate Democrats' imposition of the rare closed-session discussion they held last week. Party leader Harry Reid accuses the Republicans of manipulating intelligence to justify the invasion, a serious charge that excites the media and disturbs a war-weary public. The central question is whether anyone in the executive branch had good reason prior to the war to believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Let's look at the record. The single most important document that reflects the conclusion of all 15 intelligence agencies of our government was the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq of October 2002. This report stated that "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions, and, if left unchecked will probably have a nuclear weapon this decade." No equivocation there. The report justified this conclusion by observing that since the U.N. inspectors left in 1998, "Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons, energized its missile program, and invested more heavily in biological weapons," and "under the cover of civil production, Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons' program." The 15-agency conclusion was one of "high confidence." CIA Director George Tenet, according to the book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, dramatized this judgment by telling the president that the case on Iraq's possession and pursuit of banned weapons was a "slam dunk."

Unanimous. But this was not only the assessment of our intelligence agencies. Virtually every western intelligence service reached the very same conclusion. So did all the major media between 1998 and 2001—including the Washington Post , the New York Times, and U.S. News. So did the most senior officials of the Clinton administration. In a conversation I had with President Clinton, just before the Iraq invasion, his concern was not whether or not Saddam had WMD but that a war seeking regime change would provide the pretext for him to use them. Add to this the fact that Saddam had sacrificed over $120 billion in oil revenues to U.N. sanctions, presumably to protect his secret weapons programs.

So, what happened? Last year's bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee stated the panel "did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to change their judgment related to Iraq's WMD." Earlier this year, the Robb-Silverman report was equally clear, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs" and no political pressure "to skew or alter any . . . analytical judgments." Rather, the report said, "it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate prewar intelligence assessments."

Then there is the odd case of yellowcake uranium and the report that eventually led to the resignation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The former ambassador who claimed he had debunked the administration's assertion that Iraq tried to buy yellowcake in Niger was himself challenged by several GOP members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who concluded that much of what he said was either distorted or untrue, calling his report on the matter "inaccurate and unsubstantiated."

So the consensus view of those who investigated the question of whether the Bush administration lied about intelligence or distorted it, or pressured our intelligence agencies to support a commitment to invade Iraq, is unanimous in rejecting these assertions.

The real issue is not that intelligence was manipulated. It is that it was fundamentally unsound—that it misled the president and all the rest of us. The CIA, like most western intelligence services, relied heavily on the reports of the U.N. weapons inspectors. It had less than a handful of human sources in Iraq, none of whom was part of Saddam's inner circle. As one CIA officer put it, "If I put my finger up my nose, I would still have enough fingers to cover the number of our sources." The back story here, as Jim Hoagland put it in the Washington Post, was a CIA "rebellion against the White House, in part to shift attention from their [own] failures."

Democrats who saw the same intelligence as President Bush drew the same conclusions. The failure to have developed a more accurate assessment of Saddam's secret weapons programs doesn't mean that going to war was right—and it certainly doesn't justify the way the war was executed. These are subjects worthy of grave attention. But to impugn the integrity of our leading officials and poison the atmosphere in which this country is fighting a war is irresponsible politics, and it ought to be stopped.

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JWR contributor Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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