Let’s see, last Thursday
George Tenet resigned as CIA director - a post he's held for nearly seven years – and as a fellow cited below points
out, that’s longer than anyone since Allen Dulles ran the agency under President Eisenhower.
of speculation on this. President Bush praised him and said he’d miss him,
but, one supposes, now can say well, he, as president, never really wanted to go to war at all, at least not in Iraq, but
Tenet tricked him with bad information and made him do it, and embarrassed Colin Powell who told the UN all sorts of wrong
stuff Tenet told Powell was true. Bad guy.
Now he’s gone.
No, that won’t happen. Tenet must have
the goods on a lot of people. But something strange is going on.
are twenty or thirty theories floating around on what this is all about.
But the “how this was done” is
The New York Times account –
Mr. Bush announced the resignation in a way that was
almost bizarre. He had just addressed reporters and photographers in a fairly
innocuous Rose Garden session with Australia's prime minister, John Howard. Then
the session was adjourned, as Mr. Bush apparently prepared to depart for nearby Andrews Air Force Base and his flight to Europe,
where he is to take part in ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion and meet European leaders —
some of whom have been sharply critical of the campaign in Iraq.
minutes later, Mr. Bush reappeared on the sun-drenched White House lawn, stunning listeners with the news of Mr. Tenet's resignation, which the president said would be effective in mid-July. Until then, Mr. Bush said, the C.I.A.'s deputy director, John McLaughlin, will be acting director.
The president praised Mr. Tenet's qualities as a public servant, saying: "He's
strong. He's resolute. He's served
his nation as the director for seven years. He has been a strong and able leader
at the agency. He's been a, he's been a strong leader in the war on terror, and
I will miss him."
Then Mr. Bush walked away, declining to take questions or offer any insight into what Mr. Tenet's
personal reasons might be.
Well, he’s the president. He doesn’t have to explain anything to anyone.
He doesn’t need
to explain why the Pentagon has begun polygraph testing of employees in an attempt to find out who leaked information to that Chalabi fellow about Iran.
The polygraph examinations, which are being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
are focused initially on a small number of Pentagon employees who had access to the information that was compromised. American intelligence officials have said that Mr. Chalabi informed Iran that the
United States had broken the secret codes used by Iranian intelligence to transmit confidential messages to posts around the
Interesting times over
at the OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense), no?
And as Josh Marshall points out, it has been an interesting week so far: “… beside the possibility that the White House's favored Iraqi exile
was an Iranian agent, that the spy chief just got canned, that the OSD is wired to polygraphs, and that the president has
had to retain outside counsel in the investigation into which members of his staff burned one of the country's own spies,
I'd say the place is being run like a pretty well-oiled machine”
Yep, time for a European vacation.
Bush is hiring a personal lawyer?
See It's been a bad week for the Bushies.
Fred Kaplan - Posted Thursday, June 3, 2004, at 2:35 PM PT at SLATE.COM
Bush may need one:
…the Valerie Plame affair is gaining traction. A
grand jury has apparently been at work for some time, investigating who might have told reporters that Plame was an undercover
CIA agent. It was revealed yesterday that President Bush himself has sought the
services of an outside lawyer in case he is called to testify. The widespread
suspicion is that a White House operative exposed Plame in order to punish her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who
publicly revealed that Bush (or those around him) blatantly lied in claiming, in the lead up to war, that Iraq had tried to
obtain uranium from Niger. Exposing an undercover agent is not just a felony,
it's one of the most reckless crimes that anyone armed with a security clearance could commit.
Again, the guardians of the crown jewels will not hesitate to lock up the culprit for as long as the book allows. (Or, if they do let the guilty party slip away, expect dozens of the guardians to
resign in protest. Also expect the full roster of remaining undercover spies
to come in from the cold.)
Geez, if Bush even tacitly
approved of outing this woman and exposing her contacts and blowing her cover and all that, to get even for someone showing
him up, by destroying the career of that someone’s wife… well, yes, Bush may need a lawyer.
So Bush has one on retainer. Best to have all your
Kaplan points out that another hit on the White House
this week comes from Time Magazine. They dug up – don’t ask
how - a Pentagon e-mail message indicating that Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in arranging for Halliburton to win
the multibillion-dollar, no-bid contracts for construction and logistics in post-Saddam Iraq.
Yes, Cheney had been CEO of Halliburton before Bush asked Cheney to select himself for his current position. Yes, Halliburton is “profiting grandly” from the occupation.
Yes, the e-mail is the first tangible sign of a direct Cheney link.
well, these guys won the election – to the victors go the spoils. What’s
the point of gaining the ultimate height in domestic and international power if you can’t profit from it? What, you win a contest and your supposed to decline the prize money?
Kaplan does point out that “such blatant political interference in the awarding of a large military contract”
is, at very least, a violation of Pentagon procurement regulations. Rumsfeld
can take care of that. Who writes the regulations?
We owe Bush and Cheney a lot for their steady leadership?
If we do, then they are simply collecting what is owed them by us. Look
at it this way. We’re paying them for their service.
Given all this stuff roiling around, Bush needs a European break – some good black coffee
in Rome with “Bubbles” Berlusconi, a heavily sauced traditional French dinner with Chirac and the wives, and yes,
a chat with the Pope to set that old man straight about what is proper and moral about preemptive war based on fear and misinformation. Hey, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - as Horace said. The Pope is good at Latin. He’ll understand.
A bad week? Hardly.
Kaplan says that “the walls haven't collapsed around George W. Bush, but the pillars are buckling,
the floorboards are rattling, the inspectors are probing, and it doesn't look good.”
Has the week so far
been that bad?
Yes, in the White House and the Pentagon, senior officials
face the prospect of criminal charges. And “…the vice president
is accused of malfeasance, at best. A key erstwhile ally in the war on terrorism
has apparently turned against us in an act of criminal perfidy. And now the nation's
spymaster has turned in his cloak - it's not yet clear whether he jumped or got pushed; either way, Bush's risk-rating has
What risk? Dull, plodding John Kerry is hardly
Kaplan also says we should not forget the Abu Ghraib scandal,
which remains the subject of a half-dozen panels probing up and down the chain of command.
Why? “This may be the most remarkable sign of the scandal-strewn
depths -- that even Abu Ghraib can be buried in the rubble.”
An administration in deep trouble?
Maybe. But Bush represents
firm leadership. He doesn’t give in. People respect that.
“I never apologized to
the Arab world."
That was what Bush just said to the editorial board of Christianity Today about the Abu Ghraib prison abuses.
Don’t explain. Don’t apologize. Just do.
conservative commentator, Andrew Sullivan, a long-time Bush supporter, says this “speaks volumes about Bush's sense of personal responsibility. He
is a walking example of the following culture: ‘If it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody
else.’ But he just can't or won't see it.”
Bush may have lost Andrew Sullivan, but Sullivan is openly gay and upset about Bush’s call for a change to the
constitution to ban gay marriages. He feels Bush and the Republican Party have
betrayed him. But he doesn’t matter.
Bush knows his real base. They want a leader who won’t explain
(and actually, given his meager intellect, personal history of drug and alcohol abuse, and lack of curiosity about most everything,
Bush probably can’t explain much of anything, even to himself), who never apologizes, who has no doubts (he did say
in that press conference last month that he could not think of any mistakes he had made) – they want a man who does
Even if whole lot of what is done is done incompetently,
on a vast, global scale, and riles up every would-be terrorist in the world, and creates tens of thousands more, and alienates
almost all of our allies, and even if some of what is done may be a bit illegal and, yes, petty and spiteful, and gets a whole
lot of our sons, daughters and friends killed or maimed for life, and even if the policies enacted may cause harm to the environment
that may never be repaired, and even if the poor get locked in place with no escape and the wealthy profit greatly as the
real wages of those who work for them fall and their own tax burden is gloriously lifted, and even if more Americans are without
jobs than at any time since the Great Depression…. Oh heck, you get the
And least George is doing something. That’s enough for a whole lot of our countrymen.
And you will find this
on the The Archive of Useful Pithy Observations... page today…
good on even the tiniest scale requires more intelligence than most people possess.
They ought to be content with keeping out of mischief; it’s easier and doesn’t have such frightful results
as trying to do good in the wrong way. Twiddling the thumbs and having good manners
are much more helpful, in most cases, than rushing about with good intentions and doing things.
- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).