Saturday, April 02, 2005

WaPo Wants a Head

On the topic of the WMD information prior to the Second Gulf War being wrong. Since they can't seem to make a clear and intelligent analysis, they get into the screeching about 'group-think.'

Don't bother analyzing the castration of intelligence agencies by the Clinton administration, or the politicizing of the management of the agencies, where they choose their political ideals and then stand in the way of the president's policies.

Quoting the old gray cadaver's Thomas Purdum:

Yet in its own way, the presidential commission on intelligence left little doubt that President Bush and his top aides had gotten what they wanted, not what they needed, when they were told that Saddam Hussein had a threatening arsenal of illicit weapons. . . .

"But already some people have been judged, albeit it indirect ways, while others have been rewarded, even promoted. Some who foresaw potential disaster were punished or pushed aside, while the president and vice president were given new terms."

What's wrong with that statement? First, if the intelligence they gave was only for what Bush wanted to hear and not the truth, then that is indicative of a complete lack of professionalism by the intelligence workers and not the president's fault. And if you think that isn't an attempt at laying blame on the president, you should go crawl back under your rock. The second paragraph makes that completely evident. How else do you state that the president was "given" a new term? No election occurred?

Which leads to this brilliant bit of logic, and I use that word in its broadest terms.

"Boston, Mass.: Does the administration itself bear any responsibility for the failure of its intelligence agencies?

"Dana Priest: The CIA and its director work for the president. The president is responsible for hiring and firing that person, for holding that person and his agency responsible, for making sure, ultimately, that the agencies are working properly, spending more effectively and serving him -- and the American people -- the way it is supposed to. Was Nixon responsible for the operations of Attorney General John Mitchell? Were Johnson and Kennedy responsible, in any way, for the excesses of J. Edgar Hoover? Does Johnson bear any responsibility for McNamara's Vietnam vision? What about Bush I? What's his responsibility over a CIA that missed the collapse of the Soviet Union? Should Clinton bare a burden for the intel world's failure to see the imminent threat from Osama bin Laden? Does Bush have responsibility for his advisors so misjudging 'post-war' Iraq? You get my drift. It's your call and you bet historians will be writing about that subject for years to come."

Specifically, the CIA has probably been broken for a long time. The president only appoints the director, and then they have to work with the monster that is a bureaucracy run amok. God only knows what runs around in that organization. I also recall a powerful wailing when Bush did change who ran that agency, and they started a purge. The vilifications of Bush when that occurred seem to be a bit of history that Priest is missing.

I could go on for a long time on this gem of an article. No politics floating around in this spin fest. You can glean a few rare points in this tirade, but they are few and far between.


Hamel said...

To say that Bush is not to blame is pure ignorance and politics. Yes, Clinton is to blame, as are many, many others. But the president must step forward and take responsiblity for what happens on his watch. Regardless of the fact that the war has reaped major dividends in the Middle East, to say that Bush wasn't the person doing the intelligence work acquits him of any wrongdoing is false. He had an agenda to finish the work his father was too lazy to complete. If George H. Bush had done what his son had the guts to do - to stay the course until the war is done - we wouldn't have had any of this. So maybe we want to look at placing the blame in the family?

Nylarthotep said...

Ok, I didn't say that Bush has no responsibility. Obviously the agencies are working under his administration, but stating that Bush should assume responsibility and not form any context of the factors and agents that led to the difficiencies is to walk blindly into history. Getting a full understanding, instead of just pointing fingers, as you can see in the article is what I'm trying to point out.

By your statement, if a person depended on an organization for information and that information was wrong, then the person who asked for the information is the one at fault. In this specific case Bush depended on the CIA, who worked for him, to provide accurate information. They failed to do so. But you blame Bush for the failure of the people providing the information? Bush has an overall responsibility for the government, but when analyzing why the sysetm failed, one must properly point to the factors that failed. Just pointing at Bush and saying he failed shows that you aren't performing a responsible analysis.

As to the blame on the whole family, it would appear that you are now getting into conspiracy theories.