Real Clear Politics has an absolutely brilliant commentary on the Democrat’s charges against the Bush Administration. The Democrats are criticizing the President for using information which was uncertain at the time in deciding an issue of policy.
Earth to the Democrats: Intelligence is never certain.
If the Democrats want to establish that the President has to second-guess every piece of intelligence that crosses their desk they are irreparably harming national security. As President, you have the final say in policy, and you have to trust the intelligence you get. In a crisis, you do not have time for recriminations and second-guessing. You do not have the time to start questioning your intelligence – in today’s world, you have to act or lives can be lost.
The precedent the Democrats would establish would leave the President walking on eggshells in regards to US intelligence. If we recieve intelligence that the North Koreans are preparing to fire a nuclear-armed missile at Tokyo in 24 hours, you do not have time to second guess that information. As President, if you delay, you could be responsible for millions of lives. Would the Democrats really like to establish that precedent?
Real Clear Politics puts it bluntly:
According to Krugman, the Bush administration is to be held accountable both for not being sufficiently alarmist with respect to intelligence estimates prior to 9/11 and then for being unduly alarmist with those same intelligence estimates after 9/11.
Think about the absurdity and hypocrisy of this for a moment: Krugman wants to vilify the Bush administration for not piecing together scraps of intelligence, speculation and theory to "predict and prevent" a one-in-a-million terrorist attack scenario and then turn around and vilify the administration when they take seriously intelligence reports – reports that the British government continues to stand by even to this very moment – that Hussein attempted to purchase material to make a nuclear bomb.
RCP concludes that this attempt to "gotcha!" the Bush Administration is going to backfire on the Democrats. I tend to agree, although the "BUSH LIED" theme will be repeated ad nauseam by the radical Left right along with "no blood for oil" and other mindless slogans. However, the real political impact of this non-scandal can easily be minimized if the President simply sticks to his guns and holds his ground. The Democrats scurrilous accusations are more examples of how they have a tin ear towards critical matters of national security policy.