Faulty Intelligence
   by Gene Lyons

  It turns out that there's a connection between the 9/11 al Qaeda attacks on
 the United States and the war in Iraq after all. But it's not the one President
 Junior and his advisors expected to find. Instead of unearthing Saddam
 Hussein's vaunted "weapons of mass destruction" or producing evidence of
 collusion with Osama bin Laden, what the fall of Baghdad has again exposed
 is the Bush administration's stubborn incapacity to heed "intelligence" that
 doesn't fit its pre-existing world-view.

  Moving unwelcome information up the chain of command is difficult in ALL
 hierarchical bureaucracies, from the Little Rock Police Department to the
 CIA. Hence, in part, the CIA's failure to anticipate events as portentous as
 the collapse of the Soviet Union or India's development of nuclear weapons.
 Nobody's eager to give the boss the bad news. But the problem becomes
 acute when the people at the top are politically ruthless, determined ideologues,
 like the Bush administration's dominant figures.

  Add extreme dishonesty and the media-enhanced cult of personality that has
 developed to cover Bush's obvious intellectual shortcomings, and you've got
 yourself the makings of a real mess. With respect to 9/11, the administration
 went into cover-up mode almost before the World Trade Center's twin towers
 had fallen--putting out a since-retracted story that the president high-tailed it
 to Nebraska because of a specific, credible threat to Air Force One.

  There's reportedly a made-for-TV movie in the works in which a jut-jawed
 president demands to be taken back to Washington to face the enemy. I guess
 they'll airbrush away all those press briefings in which Ari Fliescher kept insisting
 the U.S. had "no warning" of the al Qaeda sneak attack. CBS News later
 reported that Bush had, in fact, received an urgent CIA briefing of imminent
 al-Qaeda terrorist strikes roughly a month before 9/11. He continued his vacation.

  Stories appeared describing CIA director George Tenet and National Security
 Council counterterrorism head Richard Clarke as "nearly frantic" with worry.
 Having brushed off urgent warnings of the terrorist threat from the previous
 administration, White House advisor Condi Rice alibied that nobody could have
 imagined anything as fiendish as crashing airliners into buildings. Bush's August
 2001 briefing, she claimed, had concerned only "traditional highjackings."
 In fact, intelligence professionals had predicted exactly what happened.

  Bouyed by his decision to create a department of Homeland Security, which he'd
 previously opposed, Bush got away with it clean. Busting up al-Qaeda's sanctuary
 in Afghanistan and rousting the Taliban didn't hurt either. Questioning critics'
 patriotism proved a useful tactic in a time of fear. Giving Bush the benefit of the
 doubt, most citizens bought the bait and switch campaign to substitute Saddam
 Hussein and Iraq for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda as threats to American security.

  And why? Well, mainly because Bush has surrounded himself with self-described
 "neo-conservative" intellectuals centering around Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld
 who have been hollering that the sky was falling since the 1970s. Many were
 members of the infamous "Team B," convened by then-CIA director George
 H.W. Bush. Their great achievement was portraying the Russian military as ten
 feet tall and bulletproof precisely as the ramshackle Soviet empire was falling apart.
 Needless to say, dissenters were accused of being "soft on communism," lacking
 patriotism, etc.  Meanwhile, real traitors like CIA spy Aldrich Ames got away with murder.

   Undeterred, the same gang next sought a super-villain in the Middle East.Allied with
 the Israeli Likud party, the "Project for a New American Century" started urging Bill
 Clinton to attack Iraq five years ago, and devised a utopian scheme to dominate the
 world. Here's how one of its prime movers, Richard Perle, described his first meeting
 with President Junior in Vanity Fair recently: "Two things became clear. One, he didn't
 know very much. The other was he had the confidence to ask questions that revealed
 he didn't know very much...you got the sense that if he believed something he'd
 pursue it tenaciously."

  The same article describes Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz telling friends
 Bush "wanted to be told what needed doing and how it should be done." So they told
 him, and he told the American people. He told us Saddam had nuclear weapons.
 He told us "weapons of mass destruction" had been deployed. British Prime Minister
 Tony Blair claimed they were ready for use in 45 minutes. Bush warned us that not
 attacking Iraq would be tantamount to national "suicide."

  British intelligence now admits that the 45 minutes business was simply invented in
 response to political pressure to "sex-up" their report.

  "What this administration has done to military and intelligence professionals in
 government is disgraceful," Former Reagan assistant defense secretary Lawrence
 Korb told Salon. 27-year CIA veteran Ray McGovern, head of an organization
 called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, has described the administration's
 pressure tactics as "worse than the Gulf of Tonkin"--the fabricated incident that got
 us into Vietnam.

  Condi Rice says it's all a big misunderstanding.

  The question is whether Americans are too scared and confused to care.

  back to  bartcop.com

Privacy Policy
. .