Doubleplusgood Condi Rice: We All Agree That There Was No Groupthink Taking Place In The White House

[media id=6916] (h/t Heather) Blogging about the Bush administration sometimes feels like a graduate course in Orwellian concepts. Ministry of Truth

(h/t Heather)

Blogging about the Bush administration sometimes feels like a graduate course in Orwellian concepts. Ministry of Truth member...er, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues the "We make our own reality" legacy overhaul of the Bush administration by insisting that their hands were tied over the "faulty intelligence" of Saddam Hussein's weapons capabilities.

Perhaps unintentionally hilarious (or ironic, depending on your sense of humor), Rice assures host George Stephanopoulos that everyone agrees that there is no groupthink at the White House:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it fair -- is that a fair criticism of the Bush White House, particularly in the run-up to the war on Iraq? And could you have done a better job in airing dissenting views on the WMD?

RICE: Oh, we talked a lot about dissenting views. The idea that, somehow, within the Bush White House, there weren't dissenting views during this period of time is simply not true. But the intelligence didn't permit, frankly, much in the way of alternatives for the weapons of mass destruction.

Is that right? You'd think that a Stanford scholar would know the definition of groupthink:

A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.

Didn't she just deny the presence of groupthink with an example of it? (h/t Mugsy in the comments)

Transcripts below the fold

STEPHANOPOULOS: President-elect Obama appointed his national security team this week. And he seemed to hint at one of the failings of the Bush White House when he -- during that press conference. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: One of the dangers in a White House, based on my reading of history, is that you get wrapped up in groupthink, and everybody agrees with everything. And there's no discussion, and there are no dissenting views.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it fair -- is that a fair criticism of the Bush White House, particularly in the run-up to the war on Iraq? And could you have done a better job in airing dissenting views on the WMD?

RICE: Oh, we talked a lot about dissenting views. The idea that, somehow, within the Bush White House, there weren't dissenting views during this period of time is simply not true. But the intelligence didn't permit, frankly, much in the way of alternatives for the weapons of mass destruction. Now, the...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Although the dissent inside the National Intelligence Report from the State Department and others did point out...

RICE: But, you know, if you read...

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... that there were real questions about the intelligence.

RICE: George, if you read those -- go back sometimes and read that it was not a dissent on whether or not he had chemical weapons. It was not a dissent on whether or not he had reconstituted his biological weapons capabilities.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Certain dissents on nuclear program.

RICE: On the nuclear side, one had to look to the intelligence community to resolve and present to the president a unified view that was their best estimate of what was there. But we have -- what the president has done as a result of that intelligence failure, as well as the intelligence problems of September 11th -- is to restructure dramatically the intelligence agencies with the director of national intelligence now, that really does bring those views. I've read these reports now. They very much more clearly put forward alternative views. They very much more clearly take the information and say, what else could this say?

The fact is that, before 2003 and the decision to take Saddam Hussein down, there had been a worldwide assessment and assumption that he had these weapons of mass destruction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: At least biological and chemical.

RICE: Well, and actually -- you know, this is somebody who had used them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Karl Rove said this week that had the intelligence been accurate, the United States would not have invaded Iraq. Do you agree with that?

RICE: Well, I think that there were a lot of reasons to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Yes, weapons of mass destruction in the hands of this man was a real danger. But he had also invaded his neighbors twice, had tried to destroy Kuwait. He'd drawn us into war three times. He was a murderous tyrant to his own people. And, he sat in the center of the Middle East, this troubled

region.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But given all that, Karl said, absent the weapons of mass destruction, it would have been much more likely that he would have pursued creative ways to contain it.

RICE: Well, we did pursue creative ways to contain it. One has to remember that we tried everything from enhanced sanctions, an effort that Colin Powell led when he first became secretary of state. We tried to get him out by other means on the eve of the war. But in fact, this seemed the course for somebody who combined weapons of mass destruction, which we believed he had, and his murderous tendencies...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you think we would have gone anyway.

RICE: George, one, you don't have that luxury. You don't.

You know, it's fine to sit and try and play mind games, and to try to recreate -- and what might we have done here or there. But that's not the world that we were living in, in 2003. We were living in a post-9/11 environment, in which it was very clear that you shouldn't let threats multiply and collect without acting against them. We were living in an environment in which Saddam Hussein had been required time and time and time again to come clean about what he was doing. I remember Hans Blix saying, you know, this is -- mustard gas is not marmalade. You ought to be able to say what you did with it.

And so, it's fine to go back and say to yourself, would we have done this differently. You don't have that luxury.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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