A note from TPM Reader MS ...
While it may be clear to many of us how the Bush admins arguments for the war differ from the position of Democrats who were willing to give the president the authority, these nuance distinctions are lost to most of the public. What I think most people can grasp and Bush cannot wiggle out of is the timing. If we keep pointing out that regardless of the severity or seriousness of the threat Saddam may have posed, we had a process in place to determine these issues, and it was the RUSH TO WAR that distinguishes the administration position from everyone else. Both domestic and international leaders agreed that we had a right and even an obligation to determine whether Saddam was a threat, and if so, what to do about it, but this process was PREEMPTED by the decision to invade before knowing all the important facts. Let's hold them accountable for that premature decision and forget arguing about who thought what in 1999 or 2002. We could have reached a consensus with the international community and our own intelligence agencies if we had allowed the facts to come out from the inspections, and more complete intelligence that would have come from that process.
Thus the accusation is that they pre-empted that process specifically to avoid the possibility that the consensus would have been not to invade. They were determined to invade and that's what led to the intelligence manipulations. That's what we need to focus on. The decision had already been made regardless of the intelligence. Once people realize that the invasion was already planned and the NIE or PDB had nothing to do with that decision, the issue will be framed in a way they can't respond to except to deny it.
This isn't the only point, but it's one of the key ones.