John Youmans: "It's a Slam Dunk" Debunked
June 16, 2005
Former CIA Director George Tenet's promise of a "slam dunk"
in providing the intelligence required to justify the war with Iraq was not only a pack of intentional lies and misrepresentations,
it was also taken out of context.
So what did Tenet really mean when he told President Bush, "It's a slam dunk?" We
were misled to believe that Tenet was saying he could produce accurate, reliable, hard intelligence and that it would be a
"slam dunk" to present and prove it.
The part we didn't hear, and it is important to understand, is what Bush said
to Tenet prior to that statement. Tenet had already briefed Bush on the intelligence he had. It was weak, unreliable and frequently
only substantiated by one source. The president was "unimpressed" by the presentation and pressed Tenet saying his information
would not "convince Joe Public" and then asked, "This is the best we've got?"
It was then that Tenet replied, "It's
a slam dunk." It was then that Tenet promised Bush he would bend the intelligence and provide what was needed to convince
Joe Public. He was telling Bush not to worry, he would take care of it. And he did.
The hard intelligence was molded,
manipulated and fabricated to fit Bush's preconceived war plan. Tenet, for his part, opted to become a political advocate
for Bush's propaganda rather than a protector of the intelligence community.
Office of Special Plans (OSP)
Instead, a rogue Office of Special Plans was created and opened in the Pentagon. It took the hard intelligence from
the CIA and others, and transformed it to what the administration wanted it to say. Tenet further ingratiated himself by remaining
silent about the OSP. He knew the information Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were giving out was false, but did nothing to disclose
The OSP was kept so secret even CIA senior intelligence officers did not know about it. The OSP was cherry picking
intelligence and packaging it for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to take to the president.
Some examples of this fabricated intelligence:
1. "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now
has weapons of mass destruction." - Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002
2. "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam
Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." - George W. Bush, January
3. "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to
possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." - George W. Bush, March 17, 2003
4. "For bureaucratic
reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." - Paul
Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003
5. "Saddam possesses enough anthrax and potentially enough technology to send unmanned aircraft
on spray attacks that could wipe out a third of the West Coast." - U.S. Rep Mike Rogers, March 16, 2003
6. "We don't
want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." - Condoleezza Rice, September 8, 2002
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski
Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a July 2002 meeting, at
which he discussed military options, having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq.
Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), is an excellent first-hand source concerning manipulated OSP intelligence because
she saw it happening. Her final posting was as an analyst at the Pentagon. Her writings provide a unique view of the Department
of Defense during a period of intense ideological upheaval, as the United States prepared to launch a preventive war. She
states, " ... the pressure of the intelligence community to conform, the rejection of it when it failed to produce intelligence
suitable for supporting the 'Iraq is an imminent threat to the United States' agenda, and the amazing things I was hearing
in both Bush and Cheney speeches told me that not only do neoconservatives hold a theory based on ideas not embraced by the
American mainstream, but they also have a collective contempt for fact." (http://www.amconmag.com/12_1_03/feature.html, http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski-arch.html)
In another article she states, " ... They spent their
energy gathering pieces of information and creating a propaganda storyline, which is the same storyline we heard the president
and Vice President Cheney tell the American people in the fall of 2002.
The neoconservatives needed to do more than
just topple Saddam Hussein. They wanted to put in a government friendly to the U.S., and they wanted permanent basing in Iraq.
There are several reasons why they wanted to do that. None of those reasons, of course, were presented to the American people
or to Congress." (http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/13/news-cooper.php)
Downing Street Memo
Now, more than two
years later, shocking documents proving the facts for war were "fixed" are still being covered up. The Downing Street Memo,
written eight months prior to the invasion of Iraq, and other related documents showing the intelligence was fixed, is now
the smoking gun. The Times of London printed this explosive document May 1, 2005. But it wasn't until Prime Minister Tony
Blair's recent visit when he was asked about it, that it got any headwind here in the states. It is slowly receiving more
and more attention here at home. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html)
The memo reveals:
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged that the
case for war was "thin" as "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya,
North Korea, or Iran."
A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain
and America had to "create" conditions to justify a war.
A British official reported on his recent talks in Washington.
"There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through
military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around
U.S. Representatives Demand Answer From Bush
More than 88 U.S. Representatives have signed
a letter to President Bush requesting answers about this grave matter. "Thus far, our search for the truth has been stonewalled,"
said Rep. John Conyers. "American people deserve answers about this matter and should demand directly that the President tell
the truth about the memo."
Result of Fixed Intelligence
In conclusion, I will quote a mother who lost
her son in Iraq. She criticized the United States' "illegal and unjust war" during an interfaith rally in Lexington. Cindy
Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., accused President Bush of lying to the nation about a war which has consumed more than $200
billion and claimed more than 1,700 American lives -- including the life of Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan. Sheehan
ridiculed Bush for saying that it's "hard work" comforting the widow of a soldier who's been killed in Iraq.
work is seeing your son's murder on CNN one Sunday evening while you're enjoying the last supper you'll ever truly enjoy again.
Hard work is having three military officers come to your house a few hours later to confirm the aforementioned murder of your
son, your first-born, your kind and gentle sweet baby. Hard work is burying your child 46 days before his 25th birthday. Hard
work is holding your other three children as they lower the body of their big brother into the ground. Hard work is not jumping
in the grave with him and having the earth cover you both," she said.
About the Author:
John F. Youmans is a retired USAF major
and a well decorated disabled Vietnam Veteran who served at Bien Hoa AB from 1966-1967. Mr. Youmans served 30 years in the
USAF. Since his military retirement in 1993, Mr. Youmans has become a well published journalist and a reporter for the Daily
Record in Dunn, N.C. for several years when forced to resign due to his health and disability stemming from Hodgkin’s
Disease and Agent Orange. Mr. Youmans continues, however, to write articles for newspapers across the nation from home. In
addition, he is a featured columnist for Military.Com and staff writer for several other Internet web sites including www.supportthevets.com, www.usdr.org and several others. Mr. Youmans has taken the task of advocating
improvements for veterans’ benefits as a personal goal.
© 2005 John
Youmans. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.