Liars or Fools?

Chalabiwoolsey "A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that U.S. intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq.

Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda’s overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein "only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden.""  Washpost


The report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) makes a lot of things clear, but the thing it makes the most clear is that a number of people in Washington and in New York who facilitated the acceptance of "sources" proffered by the Iraqi National Congress (INC – Chalabi) were either liars or fools.

I would nominate the former DCI Woolsey for membership in one or the other of these groups.  Woolsey has been a member, perhaps founding member would be the right term, of the neocon group since he and Richard Perle were senate staffers together many years ago.  How this neocon came to be nominated for the post of head of the intelligence community (DCI) by Clinton is an interesting illustration of the way the neocons pursued power by inserting themselves into all sides of party competition.  According to the report, Woolsey repeatedly "sponsored" sources provided by Iraqi exiles and facilitated their more or less forced acceptance by the agencies, especially DIA.  He did this by calling the Directors of the agencies and vouching for these people.  Such a procedure ensured that the HUMINT operators and analysts who had to deal with these phonies were at a profound disadvantage since they had to justify to their top bosses their opinion that Woolsey was "pushing" bogus information.  Before the war, I was on a news panel TV show with Woolsey during which he made a point of saying that whatever I said "did not matter."  He was right.  What he said is what mattered.

Linkage_hayes3 Then there is Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard.  Hayes has written repeatedly on the subject of the Saddam/Al-Qa’ida (AQ) connection.  First he wrote an article in that magazine, then wrote a book about it.  In both he asserts that a long string of unconfirmed reports found in the files of the IC about possible connections must prove an organizational and operational relationship because there are so many of them.  This reasoning is on the basis of the old saw, "where there is smoke, there must be fire."  Any fool knows that a multiplicity of bad information proves nothing if none of the elements is correct.  The IC receives masses of reports every day.  They are all appraised for the reliability of their sources and the veracity of the information.  All of Hayes’ tidbits, gleaned from IC holdings, had been judged BAD by IC analysts but he cited them anyway as proof.  Why did he do this?  Like all the neocons, Hayes is a man of superior intellect and education who "knows" the truth about the world, tyrants, the destiny of mankind, etc.  He knows what the truth is so therefore he knew "proof" when he saw it.  I nominate him for "fool."

The media should "examine" their collective conscience, if they have such. (Sorry for the RC terminology there) CNN in particular "sold" these two men to the world.  Fox, I will not speak of.  It would be pointless.

The Republican Party and the Bush Administration, even people in the VP’s office, should consider "dumping" these men, and many others, before they are dragged down with them.

Pat Lang

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29 Responses to Liars or Fools?

  1. jonst says:

    They can’t dump them PL. These front men, as I suspect you suspect, are stooges for the puppet masters. And things may, just may, get a little hairy around DC for them, if the ‘wrong people’ get elected in 2006 or 2008. If said ‘wrong people’ are Lieberman or Clinton types the puppet masters will be ok. You can cut a deal with that type. i.e. Woolsey like appointments. But if it’s Dean type Dems, or Feingold types, or hell, just people that care about justice, as naive as that sounds, there could be heads rolling and people could go to jail. If the people get the truth, the dirty truth, there is going to be hell to pay. So the front men and masters have to hang together. Its a damage control game now. That…and, lets face it, hope for something ‘big’ to happen which will scare the crap of out people. It’s an ugly dynamic that pits them against their country and their own citizens. Which makes them, ah what? Right.

  2. matt says:

    greta post. Building on that, I would be very interested in understanding Woolsey’s role – if any – in the passage in the Iraqi Liberation Act (in 1998 – i believe). This as you know, was the act of Congress that made the goal of ousting Saddam Hussein official US gov’t. policy – even while Clinton was president. I read somewhere an analogy between the passage of that act and Lend-Lease in WWII, in terms of providing the way the LL provided the committment of the US Gov’t. to thestruggle of WWII before the people were really ready, and giving legal pretext for “going after” saddam with such intensity once G.W. Bush came to office.
    P.S. Steven Clemons at the has written extensively of what he label “war profiteering” on the part of Woolsey from his current perch at uber-beltway bandit Booz Allen Hamilton

  3. Got A Watch says:

    I am afraid the rot has spread farther than that. IMHO every one in the Republican Party and everyone who voted for them must share collective responsibility.
    The proper corrective measure would to be remove all top officals and strategists, lose the House and Senate, and get a Democrat President for 8 years. By then, the neocons should have been swept into the dustbins of history.

  4. Djuha says:

    Anyone who wasn’t retarded should have known long before the war that Chalabi was a fabricator, crook, and in bed with the Iranians. He burned the CIA in 1995 by not only forging documents(that the CIA was going to assassinate Saddam) but he also gave those documents and others to the Iranians! With a known and extensive track record of embezzlement, forgery, and betrayal, the necons in their infinite wisdom thought that he was a trustworthy source and worthy of being given millions in taxpayer money and many of our most valuable classified secrets. All because he told them what they wanted to hear.
    But the fact that the idiot neocons dealt with this charlatan is no accident, it is systemic as you pointed out in your Drinking the Kool-Aid piece. They aren’t going to clean house just because they were proven wrong(again), if they cared about the facts then they wouldn’t have dealt with the INC in the first place. Wolfowitz’s alarmism had been proven wrong over and over again before the war, dating back to the Team B fiasco, but he never lost his zeal for questionable sources and he still hasn’t learned his lesson to this day.
    Neocons are a lot like battered wives: no matter how many times they get beaten and abused by deadbeat conartists like Ahmed Chalabi or Roger Tamraz, they always come back to them for more because, “You don’t know him like I do!” or “He’s a changed man, he says he loves me!”

  5. Green Zone Cafe says:

    I ran into a couple of Woolsey’s sources in the Palace in 2003-04. At least, these were Iraqi expats who claimed close pre-war connections with Woolsey and Wolfowitz.
    Don’t know if they had talked about al-Qaeda and WMD before the invasion, but after the invasion they were insufferable – self-promoting, bullying and corrupt.
    There were many Iraqi expats who were excellent, even invaluable. There were others who were out to loot.

  6. ali says:

    I’d say fools; how could so many supposedly clever people have been such poor liars?
    What’s odd is a nation of devious snake oil salesmen and cut-purse lawyers sincerely believed them.

  7. irene says:

    Liars or fools? A distressing choice.
    I hope they are liars. Because the thought that the fools are in charge is more alarming. Not much more, but more. Never in a million years did I expect to find myself saying I’d prefer liars. Depressing as hell.

  8. irene says:

    on second thought, why choose? it’s possible to be a liar and a fool.

  9. Grimgrin says:

    Fools. To be a liar you have to know what the truth is.

  10. zanzibar says:

    I believe this Administration was formed and staffed with people with a distinct ideology to use our military strength to dominate international relations. They were predisposed to the Iraqi invasion even before they came into office. Bush, as hands-off CEO allowed Cheney, as head of the transition team and considered the “adult” to effectively form his Administration with more loyalty to Cheney than Bush. Bush’s egotistical nature was aggrandized by these folks to move decisively towards a “unitary executive” state that they have advocated for a long time. 9/11 and the fear and panic that created gave them the opportunity. And the fact that since Clinton’s election the Democratic party has been moving towards the similar corporatist philosophy did not provide any real opposition allowed this runaway train to gather steam. Until 9/11 the Bush administration was basically floundering and could very well have been a one-term presidency.
    Ultimately though we as voters are responsible. The Iraqi civilians have every right to hold us accountable.

  11. McGee says:

    Spot on with all your comments, as always. Am still wading through the documents….
    Interesting NYT article up today re portions of his report. One bit that jumped out at me here:
    “A set of conclusions that included criticism of the administration’s ties with the Iraqi National Congress was opposed by several Republicans on the panel, including Mr. Roberts, but was approved with the support of two Republicans, Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska, and Olympia Snowe, of Maine, along with all seven Democrats. Senator Roberts even took the unusual step of disavowing the conclusions about the role played by the Iraqi National Congress, saying that they were “misleading and are not supported by the facts.”
    And another here:
    “Francis Brooke, a spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress, called the report “tendentious, partisan and misleading,” and said that the group had not played a central role as the Bush administration built the case for war.
    At the same time, Mr. Brooke said his organization was surprised at how little the American government knew about Mr. Hussein’s government before the war, which may have forced the American officials to rely more heavily on the organization. “We did not realize the paucity of human intelligence that the administration had on Iraq,” he said.’
    Yes, THAT Francis Brooke. The Rendon Group employee with zero background in the ME who hired on with Chalabi after helping Rendon set up INC.
    Entire article is posted here:
    =””>Link here

  12. arbogast says:

    Bush and Cheney are oil men.
    They concocted a colonial war to seize a vast portion of one of the world’s vital natural resources.
    Hence, there is absolutely nothing new here. Bush and Cheney are not creative thinkers.
    When the Portuguese, followed by the British, followed by…followed by who cares, were colonizing and terrorizing Africa in search of slaves, they stated quite clearly that they were bringing Christianity to that region. In fact, they were the Africans’ only hope.
    Well, substitute Democracy for Christianity and you have the Iraq war.
    Chalabi was convenient, but he was a side show.

  13. Will says:

    liars instead of fools. Worsley is a Pro-Israeli NeoKon that goes back a long ways.
    As Scott Ritter has been saying the lying is just not Republican, it has been bipartisan. The sanctions under Cllinton were bullcrap. Saddam was already disarmed. The real ploy was regime change.
    The lying started at least with the Gulf War. Irak 1.
    I’ve posted this before. but it’s woth repeating. Doctored photos Cheney presented to the Saudis.
    In war, some facts less factual
    Some US assertions from the last war on Iraq still appear dubious.
    By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
    MOSCOW – When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf – to reverse Iraq’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait – part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.
    Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid–September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.
    E-mail this story
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    the Job:
    Scott Peterson gives you the story behind the story.
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    But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border – just empty desert.
    “It was a pretty serious fib,” says Jean Heller, the Times journalist who broke the story.”
    Pat, you must have insight into that.
    Best Wishes

  14. zanzibar says:

    “The Republican Party and the Bush Administration, even people in the VP’s office, should consider “dumping” these men, and many others, before they are dragged down with them.” – PL
    The Republican party I can understand and it makes perfect sense. They need to get back to being the party of Lincoln.
    But aren’t the Bush administration and particularly the VP’s office the redoubt of the neo-cons?

  15. Patrick Henry says:

    I think alot of you are now getting to the Nuts and Bolts of the ISSUE..
    The REAL..(NeoCon)Nuts..
    Zansibar…Right On..
    Yes..Bush got a Bloody Nose..
    The Report is a Damning Indictment for Impeachment
    and Investigations into other Possible Acts of Espionage..and Betrayal..
    What else do you call all these Clear Revelations and EVIDENCE..that Contradict everything Bushco told the American people and the UN..??
    The Bottom Line in this Investigation are the
    MOTIVES..of the Participants..
    Why all the LIES..All the Manipulations..all the Knowingly Manufactured Intel..
    All That Crap you misled Powell into Presenting at the Un..??
    On Behalf of ..or Association with..a Foreign Government..or in Support of Agents..and in Collusion with Operatives of a Foreign Government..??
    For What Purpose..??
    Wooosleys WW~IV Plan..?
    The NEO CON PLAN..
    Come On you major News Networks..anyone got the Guts to get to the BOTTOM LINE..??
    Yes…The Thorn Protected BUSH gets Doused with WATER once in~awhile..
    But it still Protects all the Snakes Hiding underneath nit..The Ones Making all the Snake Oil..
    And Bush thinks because He has Thorns..He is Protected..and will be another “Teflon President'” like Ronald Reagan..
    So He reads Rewritten Ronald Reagan speechs and Waves the Flag ..
    Hey..It Worked for reagan didnt it..??
    We President are No Ronald Regan..
    And Unlike Mr. regan who got Credit for ending the Cold War..
    I think You..President Bush and your Neo con(men) buddys..will get credit for starting the Next World War ..
    Just remember..One Thing..
    Once the News Media and the American people Realize what you ALL are really up to..
    And they decide they dont want Any more of your War Plans..
    Someone may realize the Best Plan is to Burn the Bush..
    Snakes and All..

  16. Tom Griffin says:

    I can’t help thinking of a passage from Machiavelli:
    It ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of those who find themselves deprived of their country. For, as to their faith, it has to be borne in mind that anytime they can return to their country by other means than yours, they will leave you and look to the other, notwithstanding whatever promises they had made you. As to their vain hopes and promises, such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin yourself.
    (Discourses on Livy, Ch XXXI)

  17. ali says:

    One science only will one genius fit: So vast is art, so narrow human wit.
    A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.
    Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
    much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
    All seems infected that th’ infected spy,
    as all looks yellow to the jaundic’d eye.
    To err is human, to forgive divine
    For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
    Not hate, but glory, made these chiefs contend;
    And each brave foe was in his soul a friend.
    It is not strength, but art, obtains the prize,
    and to be swift is less than to be wise.
    ‘T is more by art than force of num’rous strokes.
    The long historian of my country’s woes.
    – Alexander Pope, “Epistle III”

  18. McGee says:

    The correct link to that NYT article I referenced above is here:
    CIA said to find no Hussein link to terror chief
    Sorry about the typo.

  19. pbrownlee says:

    Care to add “crooks” to “fools” and “liars”? I imagine that some of the Elmer Gantry brigade earn a good stipend by adding “balance” to the public debate. (Is that the old PBS “Newshour” backdrop behind Mr Hayes?)
    Reasonable people will assume “truth” lies somewhere between such purportedly polar opinions on any question. Over time and with the virtually self-referential medicine show in action (plus a couple of nutcase “charitable” foundations footing the bill for the requisite “think” tanks) you can shift the argument so that what passes for moderation or conventional wisdom in the United States appears to much of the rest of the world (bar Poland and Romania, say, and Tony Blair) as bizarre right-wing claptrap.

  20. McGee says:

    Last time on that link. Either I’m going “dyslectypic”, my html skills have completely left me, or mittelsheimers has degressed to an advanced stage:
    CIA said to find no Hussein link to terror chief

  21. Fools of course, but foremost, liars. They thought it would be an easy victory, with vainglory and hosannas. They figured it wouldn’t matter that it was a lie — they’d be easily forgiven.

  22. jonst says:

    Does anyone know if the statement, in the report, thatnoted Chalabi had been out
    of Iraq since 1956 is actually true? That seems incredible to me, for many reasons. It means he was 11 when he left Iraq. And HE was our point man? WHat the hell did he actually KNOW about Iraq, except what he heard? And wanted to hear.

  23. jang says:

    Interesting photograph: Does the cobra eat the mongoose?

  24. John says:

    Liars, fools and crooks. With this staffing the pretendsident could have taken the nation to war against Vatican City or any other conjured goblin. Congressional oversight is mostly dead. Not one senator filibusted the myth(s); and only Bob Graham (retired) tried to provide oversight. The US Fourth estate is mostly dead, being of one with the marketing pansies of corporate America, the Chamber of Commerce and the RNC – with the unexplained exception of NBC, which since mid-2003 tolerated Oberman’s niche (about the only “news” worth viewing). From 2001 to 2004 even the NYT & WaPo had the tabloid fever. Why couldn’t my former party just stick to honest scandals like Teapot Dome and Watergate?
    TG – the Machiavelli was great.

  25. zanzibar says:

    Ever since “Drinking the Kool Aid” and all the other reports coming out further confirming that a group of ideologues effectively “took over” and “subverted” our national security and other government institutions and violated constitutional norms and precedent with impunity, I have been wondering what does this mean for our constitutional system. Maybe we are fortunate that this group is rather incompetent. However, the next time around another group using the failures of this group as a lesson come into power and act with ruthless efficiency and suppress any and all domestic dissent through a national “group-think”. What concerns me deeply is the ease with which we can be manipulated and that our constitutional system cannot save us from our own gullibility.

  26. Patrick Henry says:

    I Have the same Concerns for our nation..Our Constitutional System..
    Out of Respect for the Constitution…The Words in the Preamble..The Declaration of Independence..
    And ALL those who have Given Thier Lifes..thier fortunes.. and WITH Sacred HONOR..
    ALL Now Corrupted by politics..Special interests..Partisanship..
    Greed..Influence Peddeling.Infiltration of Ideologues..Extreme Swings
    of Government and Society touching On Socialism at One End and Fascism at the Other..
    Each Using Broad and Fraudelent and Self serving Interpretations of the Articles of Our Constitution..
    I am tired of Our Great Nation and Our Good People being Manipulated..Exploited..Robbed of Resources..Ignored.. Arrogantly Disrespected.
    .It is Now Not a Question of “Asking What You Can Do For Your Country” ??
    It is a Question of Asking what Your Country is doing
    TO YOU..
    How Far will we Let Bad Government Go..??
    Will we use Our Constitutional Rights ..
    And Our Conscious..and Our VOTE To Get Our Country Back..??
    Will we~say ENOUGH..
    And DEMAND HIGHER Standards..
    And Better Government..??
    Or Our we watching ther End of a beautiful Dream..
    The Dream of Freedom..Equality..Liberty.
    The End of Democratic Government that is OF the People…BY the People and FOR the People..
    Or is this the time for America to Set Her Light on a Hill..
    And FUFILL The Dream..??
    and Therefore..”OUR DESTINY..”
    Its In Our Hands..
    And our National Will..
    If we~still Have One..

  27. larry whalen says:

    Standing in the checkout line the other day, I recognized the face ahead of me: not unintelligent, maybe a little too self-satisfied: John Yoo. What kind of person authors and signs a memo that would merit a slam-dunk conviction at Yokohama 1946-48? Fool.

  28. pbrownlee says:

    It is the stupendous self-satisfaction that is the danger signal — alarming and rather sad in an infinite universe of manifold wonders and not a few surprises if you try to keep your eyes open.
    Years ago, I read in an English sports column that a football team manager was “a fool” because no matter how intelligent or capable he actually was, his monstrous ego operated on the basis that his intelligence and capabilities were without limit, even when he was repeatedly shown to be mistaken, ineffective or damaging (as happens to most mortals every day).
    Ergo, Yoo=fool.

  29. pbrownlee says:

    Mirabile dictu, I found the article at, appropriately,
    I hesitate to quote it in full (far too long for a comment, I think) but it is so good and so universally applicable that I will risk the Colonel’s scimitar:
    Hoddle twaddle
    by Simon Barnes
    The Spectator, Mar 2, 2002
    MOST people can deal with their primary talent. You can be good at something and still conduct yourself in a reasonable sort of way. It is the secondary talent that is lethal, leading to arrogance, ludicrous errors of judgment, and utterly impossible behaviour.
    Being good at something is fairly easy to carry off. Even being exceptional is fine. If you can sing like a god but can’t boil an egg, do your income tax or download emails, you are likely to remain a reasonable sort of human being.
    Glenn Hoddle was a wonderful footballer. He was condemned for being ‘a luxury player’, but as Danny Blanchflower, one of the great footballers of the early Sixties, said, ‘It’s bad players that are the luxury’. Hoddle’s talent was endlessly debated and hugely enjoyed.
    But alas, he was quite clever as well. That showed in the way he played: he was always a cerebral sprayer of 50-yard passes, a thoughtful chipper of goalkeepers rather than a deliverer of thunderbolts. He didn’t get stuck in like the common herd; he lurked, chose his moment and struck.
    The intellectual aspirations of footballers are not high. They are not the fools that middle-class comics portray them as, but on the whole they feel that overmuch reflection is a bad idea: truth is in action. But Hoddle always liked words — and to be quoted.
    He liked to be seen as a cut above normal footballers. But his secondary talent — being clever and, by footballing standards, thoughtful, intellectual and enjoying the use of words — was his downfall. And he fell down all over again last week, as Tottenham Hotspur, the team he now manages, lost the Worthington Cup Final to the underdogs and relegation fodder, Blackburn Rovers.
    By one of sport’s routine, clodhopping ironies, the coup de grace was delivered by Andrew Cole, a player he publicly ridiculed. When Hoddle was England coach, he said that Cole needed five chances to score one goal — an unacceptable ratio in international football. Hoddle had a point, but it was widely considered — especially by Cole — to be an inappropriate remark for the England coach.
    Cole duly scored the winner last Sunday, and said in a grown-up way that he was too old to bear grudges. Hoddle defended himself. `It was an observation, not a criticism,’ he said. This characteristic bit of wordplay carried no conviction whatsoever, for, like Bunbury, Hoddle is quite exploded.
    The explosion came about because Hoddle, being a cut above, invented his own religion. Naturally, he became pope. And then, as a man of words, he ‘wrote’ a diary of England’s World Cup campaign, and told tales out of school, forfeiting all trust with the players as the serialisation made headlines such as `Drunk Gazza trashed my room’.
    He was fired as England coach after explaining that disabled people are paying for sins committed in a former life; by the same argument Hoddle, as a supremely able-bodied person, must have been a saint at the very least in his last incarnation.
    So he was sacked for heresy, and is now making a comeback in club management. The Cup Final should been the celebration of his revival, but once again his inadequacies were laid bare. Hoddle is a clever man who is not half as clever as he thinks he is; in other words, a fool.

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