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The art of deception has been practiced ever since mankind has been around. Deceiving others in order to get your own way or in order to position yourself more favorably seems almost to be part of human kind's genetic code. It may very well be part of mankind's evolutionary "warts and all".
The danger for government leaders in the 21st century, if they practice the art of deception on their constituents in order to have their own way, is if those constituents find out that they are being, or have been, deceived.
In today's digital, 24/7 info world it would seem that practicing the art of deception, and doing so successfully, would be more difficult to get away with undetected. The George W. Bush administration practiced this deceiving art form in leading our country into a war of choice resulting in trillions of dollars worth of destruction and hundreds of thousands of dead men, women and children. And,....Bush and his co-deceivers are going to get away with all of it. He and his co-deceivers will apparently never be held accountable for their successful campaign to deceive Congress and the American people.
However, after years of stonewalling and foot dragging, we do finally have a report from the Select Committee On Intelligence which pursued the question of, "Whether public statements regarding Iraq by U.S. government officials were substantiated by intelligence information."
The full report can be found here.
Conclusion 1: "Statements by the President, Vice-President , Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor regarding a possible Iraqi weapons program were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates, but did not convey the substantial disagreements that existed in the intelligence community."
The fine art of deception practiced here in statements by Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rice didn't focus itself so much on committing lies, as such, but in omitting truth. Omitting truth known to exist, especially over matters of war, is one of the more refined deception tactics. It's the same kind of tactic we find being used by salespeople at times. Omitting known truth purposely can get you in big trouble in courtrooms. Ditto real estate transactions.
Omitting known truth from their public statements, cherry-picking and presenting only favorable-to-your-argument information while concealing other unfavorable-to-your-argument information is deception.
The Select Committee On Intelligence voted 10-5, with Hagel and Snowe voting with the Democrats, to accept Conclusion 1.......Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rice deceived the American people and Congress by omitting available evidence form public statements that contradicted their alleged reasons to attack Iraq. The deception was calculated, subtle and.....successful.
Conclusion 4: "Statements by the President and Vice-President prior to the October 2002 NIE regarding Iraq's chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community's uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing."
Once again, the art of deception practiced by the Bush team leading us into the president's personal war of choice, was extremely subtle. Similar, I suppose, to a prosecuting attorney who seeks to omit specific evidence in a case which might undermine his argument, even if that evidence is irrefutable.
So too, the practiced deceivers of the Bush administration presented some truth while tamping down and omitting evidence from their public statements which might call their rush to war into question.
Conclusion 6: "The Secretary of Defense's statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information."
Translation: Don Rumsfeld lied.
Conclusion 12: Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa'ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa'ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
The Committee concluded that the al-Qa'ida connection was a total fabrication having no basis in evidentiary fact. In other words....a bold faced lie....to the American people and Congress.
Conclusion 13: "Statements in the major speeches analyzed,..regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qa'ida were substantiated by intelligence information. However, policymakers' statements did not accurately convey the intelligence assessments of the nature of these contacts, and left the impression that the contacts led to substantive Iraqi coperation or support of al-Qa'ite."
Conclusion 14: "The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intellience officer in Prague in 2001."
These conclusions by the Committee unquestioningly proof that Bush administration officials, and Bush himself, sought to deceive the American people and Congress in the hopes of gaining their support for Bush's war of choice. The deception worked. The fraud was successful. The lies believed. Now some 4100 American troops are dead, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted in all this death making....and America has not, and will not, benefit one iota from any of it.
In order for America to heal over the damage done by this unforgivable crime, the truth must be made public. With McClellan's book and now this Committee on Intelligence report, we have at least started the necessary process.