What’s smaller than a mushroom cloud but bigger than a smoking gun? George Tenet’s post-war placation of the press in the form of a book: At The Center Of the Storm: My Years At The CIA. This article is based on his May 6th interview on “Meet The Press” with Tim Russert. It is about what George said about his book and his role in planning the Iraq war.
But first the latest on the war: The Senate just passed Bush’s Iraq funding bill just as they passed his “surge” of troops bill. That’s not news.
But what is news is:
That both Senators Clinton and Obama voted “no” on the bill.
That the war death count for our troops is 3,441 and counting. That more than 600,000 Iraqis have been killed.
That “dire warnings”, as predictions, about ensuing chaos and retaliation by insurgents were ignored by the Bush administration.
I hate thinking about war, or watching the gory photographic reports about what is going on over there. We all know that we are just getting a small part of the carnage on our big screen TV. I still cringe hearing the words “Vietnam” because of the atrocities and the death toll to men of color.
But this Iraq war and the man behind it I just cannot ignore. This happened in the age of the web log or blog and many raised hell, including myself, when we saw it coming. But to no avail. Everyone now seems to think the problem with Iraq is that “we are losing the war.” I don’t oppose it because we might loose it—but because in my opinion we are losing ourselves as a nation through this war.
The “decider” was in office and told everyone to shut up because he was the decision maker. So what was the role of the CIA? What did the two Georges do in the war? I wanted to know. However, we may never know what really happened.
Tim starts out the discussion on May 6th with the “slam dunk” thing. George says that this has been taken out of context, but then he reneges on that view later on.
Tenet: “Did we believe there were weapons of mass destruction?” “Yes.” Bob Woodward quoted the “Don’t worry it’s a slam dunk!” he said. He also said that it was Bob who put the emphasis, the exclamation mark with the raised arms and the happy hands to it. It was Bob, no doubt who made the slam dunk sound like a Michael Jordan charge. That style was not George’s he complained to Tim. No, he did not raise his arms, did not shout, did not use an exclamation point to make his point of “it’s a slam dunk.” Did he say it? Yes he did.
It was only when George Bush, at a joint meeting, pressed for deeper assurances (I don’t blame him. If someone said “slam dunk” to me I would ask “have you got anything else?”) on WMD intelligence. But George continued to chime at George Bush: we thought, we believed that WMD are in the possession of Sadaam Hussien. He could not say 100%. Instead he knew that the weapons’ development were 5-7 years away. He knew and he kept silent. So why back then did he not say “we know nothing”? And why is he saying that very thing now? We must all be deeply suspicious of his tale in a 568 page book.
George Tenet continued to ply Tim with more lies: the notion that we falsified the evidence, and went ahead with this war, and foresaw the post-war mismanagement is not true. He said that despite appearances there was no lie, no cover up and most of all, no exclamation point behind his words: slam dunk. How does that statement help the dead and war wounded on both sides?
Tenet told Tim: “We were not marketing the war.” But why does it seem that they were? He continued to defend his misgivings about the war and why he allowed Colin Powell to tell those lies to the American public. He sat behind him during his delivery. He regrets that move now. And tells Tim that he allowed his own misgivings to remain in play because “it’s due to the gravity of war.” He said “we can’t rewrite history.”
That said, why did he write a book? He said that it was his duty to write it. By his own admission he did not oppose the war with his counsel to the President. He did not speak up at all. He scores a zero therefore on his biggest test as director of the CIA. A zero. He admitted that his silence was equal to consent to the war.
On the “deep disagreement” between himself and others (before the war, but after 9/11) on the terrorism connection between Iraq and al-Qa’ida: he saw NO complicity, NO connection between Iraq and al-Qa’ida! Now, there’s the slam dunk if you will—there’s the Tenet smoking gun. Because he admitted, and this was in the press, that Iraq was at least 5 years away from having WMD. That they were not an imminent threat. They in fact were NOT thinking about attacking the U.S. And most of all they were not cozy with the terrorists of Bin Laden. What has been whispered is now shouted from the rooftops: we made the first strike against Iraq without U.N. sanction or approval.
How much more proof does this country need in order to know that this was a real war fabricated with bogus chain letters from someone in Italy about something that never happened in Africa? They were sent, for good measure, to various governments around the West. So that they could say that this was somehow real. My final question: exactly whose interest did George Tenet and the CIA serve when wholesale they sold this nation down the dreaded river?Powered by Sidelines