The information regarding what an invasion of Iraq would entail was there. The Bush White House and the Republican-dominated Congress ignored the valid and reasonahle information in favor of fantasy tales that were developed and distrubuted by the American Enterprise Institute and the American Standard. But the Republicans hate being caught out by this report. They really panned it.
The substantive complaint against this report comes from Senators Bond, Warner, Hatch and Burr. They dismiss the overwhelming power of the report, firstly, by claiming it's alright if decision makers ignore our own Intelligence Community in favor of the propagandists at the AEI.Of course the Republicans panned the report. It catches them out. They were spreading the misinformation that led to America's unnecessary attack on Iraq, and were concealing all of the valid information that suggested - even stated flat out - that an attack on Iraq was not a good idea. Now America is in the middle of the disaster they created and the Republicans really hope they can convince the rest of us that there is no real purpose in finding and exposing the idiots who started this damned disastrous war they started for no good reason.
While the Intelligence Community's assessments on post-war Iraq likely served as useful tools for policy makers and military planners, it was only one of several useful tools available to it. Other tools included outside academics and experts, media reports, and policy makers' and military experts' own education and experience.
The Republican Senators go on at some length, trying to dismiss the sound analysis the two reports offered by pointing at tactical elements the reports didn't predict--like the use of IEDs. And then they reveal their hand with their biggest complaint: the inclusion of the distribution lists for the two report, showing everyone from Richard Armitage to John Bolton to Dougie Feith to Stephen Hadley to Scooter Libby received the reports (though Senators Hagel and Snowe voted with Democrats to release the distribution lists).
The inclusion of [the distribution lists] is misleading, because the names on such lists are typically either the principals, staff heads or the security managers of a governmental office and there is no way to ensure whether the individuals named on the distribution list actually read the documents sent to their office.
This is the same excuse that Condi has used repeatedly, that she may not have seen the explicit warnings sent to her not to use the Niger claim. Funny how everyone in the Administration seems to have ignored precisely the reports of value, but now they want to duck responsibility for having ignored those reports. (Though they do make an excellent point--that the Committees should have admitted that they, the Committee members, had received the reports as well. I will be calling Rockefeller's office--and probably Feingold, who doesn't usually do purely partisan things--to see if they've got a good explanation.)
In short, the Republicans offer a bunch of excuses that, in the private sector, would get someone canned. "I didn't read the reports I was supposed to." "I ignored the company's own intelligence for that which I preferred, but now I don't want to take responsibility for having made that choice."
But in the Bush White House, such excuses don't get you fired, they get you promoted.
They should not be allowed to get away with it.