Bernstein Blames 'Jewish Neo-Cons' For Persuading Bush On Iraq War

Carl Bernstein claimed that because he's Jewish, he could accuse "Jewish" neo-cons of talking George W. Bush into starting an "insane" war against Iraq.  Joe Scarborough wasn't so sure. H/t NB reader Paul J.

Jewish neo-cons?  The single most salient statement from the pre-war period was that by CIA Director George Tenet, who personally told President Bush that Saddam Hussein's possession of WMDs was a "slam dunk."  So which temple does Tenet attend?  What?  He's Greek Orthodox?  Never mind. Joe Scarborough offered a strong rebuttal to Bernstein's allegations. View the video after the jump.

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As Scarborough asked, what would people like Carl Bernstein have been saying a decade later if Bush, in the face of Tenet's "slam dunk" assertion, and the consensus of intelligence agencies around the world, had not gone to war and America was later hit?

CARL BERNSTEIN:  This was an insane war that brought us low economically, morally. We went to war against a guy who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. It was a total pretext! It's inexplicable and there you go to Cheney, there you go to Bush, there you go to the Jewish neo-cons who wanted to remake the world. Maybe I can say that because I'm Jewish.  To bring about a certain result --

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I'm not really certain you can.

BERNSTEIN: OK.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm not really sure that you can.

BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH: It would be much worse if a Southern Baptist said that. But I think actually some would accuse of you of Bush Derrangement Syndrome there, that there was this grand conspiracy of the neo-cons and you said Jewish neo-cons, that they somehow went to war on a pretext for the Sate of Israel.

BERNSTEIN: No.

SCARBOROUGH: Let me state again. When you were the President of the United States. When you were the Commander-in-Chief of the United States and the United States of America has been hit by terror attacks, a year earlier, and the CIA Director comes into your White House, whose job, responsibility is to track intel every single day and says to you, Mr. President, it's a slam dunk, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. You can criticize George W. Bush for a lot of things. You can criticize him for not talking to Colin Powell who is the general that ran the war in the same country a decade earlier. You can say that he should have waited longer, that he should have waited and hoped that sanctions would work. But what you cannot say, Carl, is that this was an insane decision totally detached from reality because if you're the President of the United States. Let's just play this out. If you're the President of the United States and you've got the CIA Director and just about every other intel agency on the globe saying Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, and you feel you have to move against him. If you don't do that, if you don't do that, and then America is hit, what are people like Carl Bernstein saying a decade later?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.