Bush Committee contains seeds of future "Intelligence Failures"

A legitimate investigation of alleged "intelligence failures" leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq would have to examine the possible confusion of U.S. and Israeli national interests–intelligence often mixed the possibility of Iraqi WMD attacks on Mid-Eastern targets with U.S. ones–and whether or not the Israelis deliberately misled President Bush. This is particularly pertinent in light of the revelation of Israeli lawmaker Yossi Sarid who was quoted by journalist Laurie Copans on Feb. 4th as saying that "…Israeli intelligence knew beforehand that Iraq had no weapons (WMD–Ed.) stockpiles and misled U.S. President George Bush."

President Bush’s signing of an Executive Order establishing an investigative commission on intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq war is a good first step. However, several of the Bush appointees will be of questionable value in ascertaining to what extent Israel was involved in the decision for war. Thus, the seeds for future "intelligence failures" may already have been sown.

The co-chairs of Bush’s commission raise a few eyebrows in this regard. Former Virginia Governor Robb has gone on record with his opposition to a unilateral Palestinian state and forged close educational and financial ties with Israel as Governor. Judge Laurence Silberman is considered by many to be a Neocon and has worked closely with Donald Rumsfeld on Mid-East affairs. (A positive is that Silberman was opposed to Jonathan Pollard, who set off the current Iraq tinderbox with his leaks of U.S. intel on Iraq to Israel in the early 1980s.)

The selection of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is also curious. In 2003 he and other legislators visited Israel and praised Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian Wall–in direct opposition to official Bush Administration policy–setting off a wave of terrorist attacks. His potential lack of objectivity is further evidenced by his comments in the December 2003 Reader’s Digest article "Why Israel":

"Israel is a strong and loyal ally in a region of the world that is vital to us–a region under siege by radical Islamists…In standing by Israel, we are merely being true to ourselves. If we ever turned our back on Israel, we would be abandoning the principles that built our nation."

Other Bush appointees offer varying degrees of objectivity. Admiral William Studeman, former acting CIA Director is a CFR member, but also campaigned to keep Pollard behind bars. Rick Levin, the first Jewish president of Yale University, has at least displayed some objectivity in resolving issues involving Jews and non-Jews. Lloyd Cutler, former White House counsel to Carter and Clinton, is a moderate when it comes to Mid Eastern affairs. Appeals court judge Pat Wald is kind of a wild card, but would probably lean toward moderation.

It would probably be useful to expand the investigation to include the Vice President’s "Office of Special Projects" shadow intelligence agency as well as the seeking of asylum in Sweden by American intelligence official(s) indicating intense pressure to fabricate Iraqi WMD intel in the run-up to the war.

In short, a sanitized "politically acceptable" outcome to the investigation will make future Iraqis all the more likely.