Secrecy and Democracy

How do we know when our government is telling us the truth?

Two related pieces shed light on a longstanding issue in American politics: the tension between the right of the public to know what its government is doing and said government’s need to protect sensitive information.

NYT national security reporter Charlie Savage (“Why ‘Trust Us’ Is Often Reason Enough Not to Trust the Government”):

The dramatic national security stories recounted in two official news briefings on Thursday centered on very different subjects, but they featured the same indignant pushback to questioning reporters: just trust us, unless you are more inclined to believe America’s enemies.

Pressed for evidence supporting an official narrative about how children had died during a commando raid in Syria — specifically, that an ISIS leader’s bomb, not American forces, had killed them — the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, seemed to bristle at a suggestion that people might be dubious about the civilian casualties.

“Skeptical of the U.S. military’s assessment when they went and took out an ISIS terror — the leader of ISIS?” Ms. Psaki said. “That they are not providing accurate information and ISIS is providing accurate information?”

And pushed for evidence supporting his announcement that intelligence showed that Russia had plans to manufacture a pretext to invade Ukraine — a fake video, with hauled-in corpses and “crisis actors,” to frame the Ukrainian military for a genocidal attack on Russian speakers — the State Department spokesman, Ned Price, sharply rejected the idea.

“We declassify information only when we’re confident in that information,” Mr. Price said. “If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments, and want to, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out — that is, that is for you to do.”

Unlike the spokesmen for the previous administration, I believe Biden’s people are being reasonably honest with the press, albeit within the time-honored tradition of spinning the facts in a light most favorable to their position. But the insinuation that reporters must take their word as gospel or be fellow travelers with our enemies is simply beyond the pale.

That poses a particular dilemma for journalists who cover national security and who are once again in the uncomfortable position of having to rely on top government officials for the first cut of what happened. What the officials say is news to be reported, but it is often impossible to independently verify the details right away.

And history shows that the early official narrative about big national security events is often wrong. Sometimes, the fog of war leads to murkiness that has confused even the government officials, but officials may also be in situations where they have an incentive to put a spin on the facts.

That’s too generous. Those “situations” encompass every interaction with the press.

In August, the United States carried out a drone strike in Kabul amid the evacuation from Afghanistan, and the military announced that it had thwarted would-be ISIS-K suicide bombers. Even as reports emerged of civilian casualties, including children, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, insisted the strike was “righteous.” Only later, after a video investigation by The New York Times showed that the person targeted was an innocent aid worker, did the Pentagon acknowledge that the strike had been a tragic mistake and that no ISIS-K fighters had been killed.

In 2011, when the Obama administration announced the commando raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said the Qaeda leader had engaged in a firefight and used his wife as a human shield. Days later, the White House walked back its account, saying that bin Laden had been neither armed nor cowering behind a woman.

During the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, officials in President George W. Bush’s administration famously put forth intelligence about purported Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be inaccurate. They also stoked baseless fears that Iraq’s secular dictator, Saddam Hussein, was collaborating with the religious extremists behind the Sept. 11 attacks, Al Qaeda.

During the wars in Vietnam and, more recently, in Afghanistan, administration officials under both parties often issued a more optimistic picture of progress to the public than the government’s internal assessments supported. And President Lyndon B. Johnson justified an escalation of the war in Vietnam based on a supposed North Vietnamese attack on an American vessel in the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened.

Now, rather obviously, all of those situations are not the same. I have no doubt Milley and other top leaders thought the strike “righteous” or else they wouldn’t have authorized it; that judgment simply turned out to be wrong. I’m honestly not sure what happened with regard to the OBL human shield story but, considering its obvious propaganda value in portraying the vaunted leader as a coward, I suspect it was one of those “too good to check” reports. While I continue to believe Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and other top officials in the administration believed Saddam was a legitimate national security threat, there’s little doubt at this point that they cherry-picked the information that bolstered that position and made it clear they were not all that interested in evidence to the contrary. And, in both Vietnam and Afghanistan, there was tension between grim facts on the ground and the desire of succeeding administrations to keep public support for a war effort.

I have no interest in rehashing any of these instances here. The point is simply that Presidents and their senior advisors have access to information the public does not, make judgments based on that information, and then both use the “you’ll have to trust me” card to forestall questioning. And, quite often, they engage in what can charitably be described as the dispensation of partial truths in support of their policy objectives.

Another NYT report (“Esper Memoir of Trump Tenure to Move Ahead After Legal Battle Ends“) shows the process playing out on more mundane level.

A memoir by the former defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, about his tenure in the Trump administration will be published with “minimal redactions” after he sued the agency he once led because it wanted to block information in the manuscript, his lawyer said on Friday.

The announcement brought an end to a battle between Mr. Esper and the Defense Department over what material was considered classified and therefore could not be included in his book, titled “A Sacred Oath,” which is set to be published in May.

Mr. Esper, who was fired by former President Donald J. Trump shortly after he lost re-election in the 2020 race, sued the Department of Defense in November, accusing agency officials of improperly blocking parts of his book “under the guise of classification.”

Mr. Esper’s lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, said in a statement on Friday that they had dropped the lawsuit after the Pentagon reversed its decisions about an “overwhelming majority” of the portions of the book that it had earlier said were classified.

Mr. Zaid said Mr. Esper thought that the remaining redactions to the book were also improper but that they were not central to the book.

“Frankly, Secretary Esper has no interest in publishing properly classified information, which he has sworn to and protected for decades,” Mr. Zaid said in the statement.

The Defense Department did respond directly to a request for comment about the end of the lawsuit.

“There are no changes to the Department’s prepublication security and policy review,” it said on Saturday. “The purpose of Department of Defense prepublication security and policy review is to ensure information damaging to the national security is not inadvertently disclosed.”

In the department’s prepublication review of Mr. Esper’s manuscript, it redacted more than 50 pages of the book “that absolutely gutted substantive content and important story lines,” Mr. Zaid said. This included accounts of some of Mr. Esper’s interactions with Mr. Trump and his views on actions taken by other countries, according to the lawsuit.

The prepublication review system is meant to stop current and former employees of the executive branch from sharing information that is classified and could damage national security if released, but Mr. Esper was not the first Trump administration official to encounter trouble during the process.

[…]

Mr. Zaid said that review process was broken because of the time and money required to challenge the decisions in court and because ultimately the department reversed its position “on an overwhelming majority of classification decisions it earlier asserted were so vital to the national security interests of the United States, when the fact is they never were.”

[…]

Mr. Esper said that some of the redactions “asked me to not quote former President Trump and others in meetings, to not describe conversations between the former president and me, and to not use certain verbs or nouns when describing historical events.”

“I was also asked to delete my views on the actions of other countries, on conversations I held with foreign officials, and regarding international events that have been widely reported,” Mr. Esper continued. “Many items were already in the public domain; some were even published by D.O.D.”

Let’s stipulate that we only have Esper’s side of the story and that DOD is not in a position to defend its decisions here, ironically because of the very nature of classification. But I believe Esper to be an honorable man and he’s dealt with classified information for decades. I seriously doubt he would intentionally put people into harm’s way to sell a few books; if he unintentionally included genuinely-sensitive information in the manuscript and had it pointed out to him, he would have happily redacted it.

The problem here is that the first instinct of the national security bureaucracy is to classify anything that could possibly be sensitive and, just to be sure, to wildly over-classify it. And, once categorized, the bureaucracy is loath to declassify because they often don’t know why it was classified to begin with.

Indeed, we now have the absurd category of Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) information “that is not classified for national security reasons, but that warrants/requires administrative control and protection from public or other unauthorized disclosure for other reasons.” This includes, “inter or intra-agency communications, including emails, that form part of the internal deliberative processes of the U.S. Government, the disclosure of which could harm such processes.” Which is to say, potentially everything. (And, indeed, may be part of the hangup with Esper’s manuscript: his conversations with senior officials are almost certainly SBU.)

Compounding the problem is the issue Esper notes of information that is simultaneously classified and in the public domain. The most commonly-cited example is the trove of documents released by traitors to the Russian front Wikileaks and subsequently published by major newspapers. Those of us with government security clearances can face serious punishment for accessing those documents, even though they’ve been in the public domain for more than a decade. It’s simply absurd.

I honestly don’t know what to do about any of this. There is legitimate need to keep secrets from the American public, lest they fall into the hands of our enemies. In some cases, lives are literally at stake. But too often, information is classified “just to be on the safe side” and then remains classified for far too long. And, frankly, the system is too often abused to protect information that is embarrassing to decisionmakers rather than for national security reasons.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, National Security
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How do we know when our government is telling us the truth?

    The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Not sure that has ever happened. It’s certainly not human nature.

  2. Kathy says:

    I seriously doubt he would intentionally put people into harm’s way to sell a few books;

    Yeah, as recently as March 2020 I seriously doubted anyone would put people in harm’s way just to get some political benefit, and then the trump pandemic happened.

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    The government lies sometimes, and in other news, water is still wet. MAGAt types have accused me of believing anything the government says. I came of age politically during Vietnam, I trust nothing the government says. But that doesn’t mean I reflexively trust anyone else more.

    In your first case, I’m good with Psaki taking a dig at reporters who ask stupid gotcha questions, some of whom sure act like fellow travelers with Putin. In your second case, it is generally perceived as an effort to preempt Russian action. I assume it’s partly lies. But lies that help Ukraine and don’t affect me, so I’ll be cheerfully agnostic.

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  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    In the case of the ISIS leader killed this week, reports from the village were all ready confirming the gist of the government’s statements. So Psaki snark at the questioners was justified. They were implying deception, when they knew there wasn’t any. Wholly different from not trusting the governments veracity and then doing the hard reporting work to gather evidence.

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  5. Scott F. says:

    I couldn’t agree more that governmental secrecy is too broadly deployed – often nefariously. But, I see too distinct issues here which might be more easily approached separately.

    From Savage’s piece:

    That poses a particular dilemma for journalists who cover national security and who are once again in the uncomfortable position of having to rely on top government officials for the first cut of what happened. What the officials say is news to be reported, but it is often impossible to independently verify the details right away.

    “First cut” and “right away” are the problem here. In matters that are still developing, often rapidly, both reporters and spokespeople need to get more comfortable with “I don’t know, yet.” The urgency stoked up to get the story fast tends to undermine the higher objective to get the story correct. In Savage’s first two examples, we know the initial narratives were wrong because they were corrected in a matter of days.

    Savage’s second two examples and Esper’s case strike me as a completely different at their core, because their motivations are so far apart. Instead of a rush to put out incomplete information that caters to the public’s worst instincts to reach snap judgements, the Iraq and Vietnam examples show the governments obstruction of the one the public’s better instincts to want the truth in the end however long it takes.

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  6. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    “First cut” and “right away” are the problem here.

    Absolutely.

    I will ignore most breaking news precisely because there’s a lot of wrong, incomplete, and plain unknown details, past the immediate report that something happened.

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  7. gVOR08 says:

    Somewhat off topic, but still on the WH dealing with “journalists” who are fellow travelers with the enemy. Biden should never have apologized for calling Steve Doocy an idiot, LGM has a nice piece about FOX, and Doocy specifically, hitting themselves in the face with pies (pieacide? suipide?) over the last jobs report.

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  8. dmichael says:

    This post contains another example of a technique you sometimes employ. I’ll call it “the drive-by pot shot.” You say: “While I continue to believe Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and other top officials in the administration believed Saddam was a legitimate national security threat….” You then go on to describe a sanitized summary of evidence to demonstrate they willfully misled the public about that very issue. Your rear-guard defense is: “I have no interest in rehashing any of these instances here.” Then why bring it up? It adds nothing to your thesis. It really only detracts from it when say you believe the sincerity of certain public officials when all the evidence is to the contrary.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @gVOR08:

    You wonder if the WH was trolling Fox and Biden’s critics in the run up to the job numbers release.

  10. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    trove of documents released by traitors to the Russian front Wikileaks and subsequently published by major newspapers

    While I understand your position as an officer and gentleman, I take strong exception to this phrasing. The Pentagon Papers would have been treason under that definition. And despite all the charges Ellsberg faced, treason wasn’t one.

    Was the release I’ll thought? Probably. Treasonous? Not even close, IMO. but as always, YMMV

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  11. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Ill not I’ll. Stupie edit button and spell check conspiring against Luddite

  12. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: I don’t think “how do we know this is true?” Is a gotcha question, and it shouldn’t be the norm that the government gets to make unverified claims without being called on it.

    The government has consistently been spinning the facts into new and unusual shapes in the War On Terror, and skepticism is warranted. Is there no documentary evidence that can be unclassified?

    On the Russian false flag story, the answer might be that they cannot reveal anything more without potentially compromising sources and methods. And that’s more reason to be forthcoming where they can with the ISIS dude — build trust so when you need to lie, people believe.

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  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    @dmichael: James can speak for himself, but I also think they believed Saddam was a serious threat. And they elevated that belief above any empirical data, any intel received, and any analytical reasoning that they might have had available.

    This is, in fact, the biggest issue with human beings, and the reason the scientific method exists. Humans will favor their beliefs over evidence and reason. My observation suggests that this transcends any ideology, although obviously adhering to certain ideologies has it as a prerequisite.

    This should not be a controversial statement.

    They (GWB & Co) were also mendacious as hell in a way that is easily understood and observed. For instance, “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”. Also the whole “weapons of mass destruction” which phrase was intended to transfer nuclear fears to chemical/biological agents. The business about buying yellowcake uranium was also probably spun up out of basically nothing.

    AND, I’m sure that they (Cheney in particular) were genuinely fearful of Saddams chemical/biological capability.

  14. James Joyner says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: There were other ways for Ellsberg to whistle-blow that I would have preferred. But he differs from Manning, Snowden, and others in that he was discrete in what he released. He vetted the documents rather than simply releasing everything he could get his hands on.

  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    AND, I’m sure that they (Cheney in particular) were genuinely fearful of Saddams chemical/biological capability.

    I remember at the time telling my students as we discussed the topic back at the time that if Bush or someone in his administration knew that Saddam didn’t have WMDs that person or persons may well have been the only person in the world who knew that. Including Saddam. Whether WMDs was enough justification to create a power vacuum in the ME was another question altogether–another topic of that particular discussion.

    As I have mentioned before, I’m less concerned about whether the government tells the truth than I am about whether it makes wise choices about what it does. In a better world, our citizens would see that the current situation makes wise choices almost impossible and move to correct that defect. Sadly, to paraphrase Rummy, we govern with the citizenry and system we have, not the one we would wish for.

  16. James Joyner says:

    @dmichael: Pretty much what @Jay L Gischer says. Bush and company were, at best, willfully blind to contrary evidence and, at worst, deliberately misled the public. I believe they did it in the service of what they believed the greater good of US national security. But the press exists to help force honest debate.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: “He vetted the documents rather than simply releasing everything he could get his hands on.”

    I think in both cases, the leakers took the actions that met their goals. Ellsberg was interested primarily in discrediting the Pentagon. Snowden and Manning were looking to discredit and embarrass the government at large.

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  18. Eric Zuesse says:

    The Biden White House has lied about many things, such as that there was no coup that brought the new (anti-Russia, pro-U.S.&EU) regime to power in Ukraine in February 2014 (see the evidence that it indeed WAS a U.S. coup at https://archive.is/cU1oa ); ; so, why should the public now be trusting the Biden Administrations’ (like the Obama Administration’s) narrative that Russia instead of U.S. was/is the aggressor there, and that America is the defender there? Isn’t this matter another example of the ‘Saddam’s WMD’ lies, from the George W. Bush Administration and Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden — NONE of whom has since ever admitted that they were lying to the American people and destroyed Iraq by their lies? “Fool me once … but fool me twice?” You want this now-routine lying to continue to be accepted and tolerated by the American public? Ring, ring, it’s the MIC calling! Just hang up the phone on them.

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  19. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Wholly different from not trusting the governments veracity and then doing the hard reporting work to gather evidence.

    Why would they? For most people, the headline is the centerfold and the article is the interview with Sartre.

    Smut is way more profitable than seeking reality.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08:

    Biden should never have apologized for calling Steve Doocy an idiot

    He didn’t. He called Doocy and told him it was nothing personal.

  21. Andy says:

    As regulars know, I was an intel analyst for 23 years and am well aware of how the sausage was made.

    Just one point though – SBU is not new, it’s just a relatively recent name for information that isn’t classified but can’t be released to the public. The difference is that classified information is related to national security while SBU information is not publicly releasable for other reasons. Most commonly it’s info that can’t be released because of a FOIA exemption or due to the Privacy Act. SBU is in every federal agency to some extent – classified information is not.

    Secondly, the system does bias toward overclassification and the problem is derivative products. Raw intelligence is very rarely misclassified or overclassified, it’s when analysts like me start combining and recombining information into finished intelligence products where the problems occur. And this doesn’t just happen once, it happens many times as analysts down the food chain tailor information and combine derivative products to serve the needs of their unit or organization. Like a game of telephone, soon the narrative becomes distant from the original source.

    Also, it’s very easy for any analyst writing a product to slap a classification label on a paragraph and it’s very hard to go through the process to get that taken off in the future. Analysts don’t have the authority to just declare that something isn’t actually classified and they don’t have the authority to classify stuff either – hence the derivative classification. Confused? Again, bureaucracy.

    Another problem is IT. You have a lot of classified databases that have unclassified information. For reasons that should be obvious it’s not technically or bureaucratically easy to move unclassified information from a Top Secret system to an unclassified system. And for a lot of practical reasons, you may want all kinds of information in one place.

    So it’s important to understand that the intel community and the national security bureaucracy IS a bureaucracy and a very big one. Often the right-hand does not know what the left hand is doing. The bureaucracy has procedures that should be followed, but the private who is putting together a threat briefing before her platoon conducts a raid is not dotting all the classification i’s and t’s. They have brothers and sisters in arms about to go into harm’s way and their focus is not on making sure paragraph markings are correct and every source is properly footnoted.

    Third, when it comes to DC leaks and what senior leaders know often there are things that happen at the tactical level that get reported up the chain in incomplete and ambiguous ways. You have a lot of the same problems that you see in journalism where the initial reporting is often wrong or incomplete and only becomes clear over time. War is controlled chaos and it is not like the movies and TV where all information is immediately and seamlessly available at the high-tech command centers you see on TV.

    And then you have a legion of DC courtiers who like to be leakers and typically these people do not know the full details or are selectively leaking to promote an agenda. In my time in the community, I was involved with a couple of high-profile situations where the media leaks were – bad, really bad.

    Finally, sometimes the NATSEC and intel communities just get it wrong. Trying to figure out the ground truth, especially probabilities for future events, is extremely challenging when opponents engage in deception and practice good operational security. And, as the old saying goes, shit happens. Raids aren’t executed perfectly and one must always remember that the enemy gets a vote.

    @Jay L Gischer:

    James can speak for himself, but I also think they believed Saddam was a serious threat. And they elevated that belief above any empirical data, any intel received, and any analytical reasoning that they might have had available.

    Well as someone who was on the inside and was very familiar with the intelligence on Iraq, it was a combination of things. Pretty much everyone in the intelligence community thought Saddam still had chemical weapons. It was not something made up out of whole cloth, that was the community consensus. The community was less united on biological weapons and even less on Saddam’s nuclear capabilities.

    Fundamentally, the Intel Community failed to understand Saddam’s calculus although a few started to realize what was going on in the months before the war – but they were too few and too late. The assessments of the last decade had an inertia that could not be overcome in time. At the same time, the administration was doing what all administrations do, which is try to cherry-pick intelligence that supports their policy goals. Bush allowed this to go far beyond the norm, however, with policymakers doing their own “analysis” when they didn’t get what they wanted from the intel community (Doug Feith), and political pressure to silence dissenting analysis within the intelligence community (ie. the Air Force analysts who correctly determined the aluminum tubes were rocket bodies and not centrifuge parts).

    Bottom line is that the whole thing is really complicated with several interrelated factors. It is not the simplistic “Bush lied, people died” platitude that was so often repeated.

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  22. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    It is not the simplistic “Bush lied, people died” platitude that was so often repeated.

    But, “Bush mismanaged intelligence beyond the usual norms of spin to meet his policy goals, people died” does not rhyme and does not fit on a bumper sticker.

    This is a case where the simplified version, while being less accurate in the specifics, ends up being interpreted far closer to the truth than the more accurate and nuanced argument that just gets lost in the weeds.

    See also “the vaccines are safe and effective” and “QAnon is filled with Nazis and pedophiles” — there’s nuance that can make each of those statements more factually accurate, but lead the result to be viewed less accurately.

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  23. dmichael says:

    @Jay L Gischer: @Jay L Gischer: On what basis do you believe what someone believed? On what they say they believe? What if they are lying? What if the evidence they cite for their belief is false? In other words, what if the information that was available to them should have made a reasonable person doubt that belief? What if subsequent events demonstrate that some of the information they cited was made up? You and James give WAY too much deference to public officials (at least to those in your party) and are willing to ascribe beliefs to decision makers that would mitigate their responsibility for unleashing a war. You know, wars that inevitably kill thousands of innocent men, women and children and kill or injure our service members. Andy gives us an example of “group think.” “Pretty much everyone in the intelligence community thought Saddam still had chemical weapons” even though he concedes that there wasn’t any such consensus about his alleged biological and nuclear weapons and even though the UN inspectors found no such weapons. We were served a menu of yellow cake and mushroom clouds and y’all still believe their good intentions.

  24. DK says:

    @Eric Zuesse:

    so, why should the public now be trusting the Biden Administrations’ (like the Obama Administration’s) narrative that Russia instead of U.S. was/is the aggressor there, and that America is the defender there?

    Because it’s not a narrative. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and now has 130,000 troops and a cache of weapons stockpiled at Ukraine’s borders. The U.S. and NATO have not invaded and annexed Russian territory, nor is the US massing 130,000 troops at Russia’s borders.

    I understand these simple facts are inconvenient for Putin’s apologists, but they remain obvious.

    Isn’t this matter another example of the ‘Saddam’s WMD’ lies, from the George W. Bush Administration and Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden — NONE of whom has since ever admitted that they were lying to the American people

    No, it’s not, because that’s not what happened. The Bush admin cherry-picked intel, and Senators Biden and Clinton deferred to them, believing a president would not lie the country into war. Both have since admitted they were wrong to blindly trust the Bush administration.

    Saddam denied having WMD. Putin does not deny massing troops and weapons at Ukraine’s border. One of these things is not like the other, and lying while you accuse others of lying is NOT a good look.

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  25. Eric Zuesse says:

    You obviously didn’t click onto my link (https://archive.is/cU1oa) and you don’t deal with (but entirely ignore) the evidence that is linked-to in that article. The U.S. Government simply ignores those demonstrated facts, and so do you.

    Furthermore, the invasion of Iraq wasn’t merely ‘intelligence errors’. George W. Bush and Tony Blair were intentionally deceiving their respective publics in order to invade Iraq. See this for the evidence on that: https://archive.is/9d9Kp#selection-1265.0-1557.35.

    They lied; and, after they did (provably) do so, their ‘news’-media hid the fact that they had done so, and attributed the invasion to honest errors. The same is true about ‘Russia has invaded Ukraine’, and about the February 2014 overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President being a democratic revolution instead of just another (and an especially bloody) U.S. coup. Did you see this video?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWkfpGCAAuw

    What about this video?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV9J6sxCs5k

    What about this?: https://archive.is/Cq7w1

    What about this?: https://archive.is/Ma1ob

    Deal with the facts, instead of just spout the standard propaganda (which ignores those facts).

  26. James Joyner says:

    @Eric Zuesse: Your arguments would be considerably more persuasive if they were backed by evidence other than your own blog posts.