Why Did Bush Want the NIE Released When It So Obviously Contradicts His Happy Talk?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


This kinda makes you wonder why Bush was so hot to get the full intel report out in the open.

Portions of the report appear to bolster President Bush’s argument that the only way to defeat the terrorists is to keep unrelenting military pressure on them. But nowhere in the assessment is any evidence to support Mr. Bush’s confident-sounding assertion this month in Atlanta that “America is winning the war on terror.”

While the spread of self-described jihadists is hard to measure, the report says, the terrorists “are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.”

It says that a continuation of that trend would lead “to increasing attacks worldwide” and that “the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities.”

Cue lapidary quote from terrorism expert. “I guess the overall conclusion that you get from it is that we don’t have enough bullets given all the enemies we are creating,” said Bruce Hoffman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University.

What to make of this? Either Bush truly believes that stuff about how we’re an empire now and we make our own reality through action and wishful thinking; or he hadn’t read the report, relying on “the filter” of Cheney et al., or he has entered a state of self-protective delusion. Whatever the explanation, the more important point is that the answer to the question Are We Safer? is pretty obviously “NO.” So what to do about that?

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.