Reid: Bush "willfully ignored experts" before Iraq war

Bob Geiger: An intelligence report supplies the proof...
In his first speech on the Senate floor after returning from Congress's Memorial Day recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blasted George W. Bush and his administration for ignoring pre-war intelligence that specifically predicted long-term chaos in Iraq, the likelihood of a bloody civil war and the capacity of the invasion to actually strengthen al-Qaeda.

Citing a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee called "Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq," that was released the Friday before the holiday weekend, Reid asserted that "the Bush administration cannot hide behind ignorance. Whether out of hubris or incompetence, the President and his men willfully ignored the experts and sent our troops to battle unprepared for the consequences."

"Some might say, what is past is past. If the President's prewar failure was a one-time event, we could maybe forget about it, even though that would be hard," continued Reid. "But if President Bush's prewar failure was a one-time event, we could leave it to the historians to study and judge the tragedy of his incompetence. But even today, after almost 3,500 American deaths and more than 20,000 wounded, the President continues to cherry-pick facts in order to paint a rosy but very misleading picture of Iraq."

The report was one that Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) vowed to bring to public view before the Memorial Day holiday after years of the do-nothing, Republican Congress refusing to even examine the issues for fear of harming the already-tarnished White House.
Bob Geiger is a political writer, specializing in coverage of the United States Senate for AlterNet and other Progressive web sites. You can reach Bob at [email protected] and read more from him at
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