Deceivers or Deluded?

The New York Times' Nicolas Kristof writes, "Ultimately, Saddam's rule collapsed in part because he couldn't read Iraq and made decisions based on hubris and bad information. These days, President Bush and his aides are having the same problem. Critics complain that they lied to the American public about how difficult the war would be, but I fear the critics are wrong: they didn't just fool us -- they also fooled themselves. Evidence suggests that Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney may have actually believed that our troops would be, as Mr. Cheney predicted, 'greeted as liberators.' The administration chose to rely not on intelligence but on wishful thinking, and it became intoxicated by the siren calls of Ahmad Chalabi, a silver-tongued charlatan." Ever optimistic, Cheney cited a Zogby International poll to back his claim that there is "very positive news" in Iraq. But Kristof writes that pollster John Zogby told him, "I was floored to see the spin that was put on it; some of the numbers were not my numbers at all." Zogby points his finger at the American Enterprise Institute, who commissioned the poll, as the source of the spin. AEI's interpretation of Zogby's poll was used by Cheney in an October "Meet the Press" appearance.