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Tilting at Windmills

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April 30, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

ROUGH DRAFT....George Tenet explains the Downing Street Memos. Read it and weep.

Kevin Drum 12:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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You’ve gotta quote this much, Kevin: “He believed that the crowd around the vice president was playing fast and loose with the evidence. In his view, it was never about "fixing" the intelligence itself but rather about the undisciplined manner in which the intelligence was being used.”

So the intelligence wasn’t ‘fixed.’ Cheney et al were merely ‘playing fast and loose’ with it, and using it in an undisciplined mannter.

But ‘fixed’? Oh, my, no!

Posted by: gussie on April 30, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I heard Tenet was taken in the 7th round by the packers. They plan to put him in the PR department.

Posted by: scott on April 30, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

These divine, god-like men would never lie to us mere mortals. Oh goodness no. Uh-uh. No way. Never. No chance. Fugeddaboutit.

Posted by: The Skeptical Deflator on April 30, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Tenet's making a distinction without a difference with regard to the deliberate misuse of intelligence on Iraq's alledged WMDs.

Posted by: David W. on April 30, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone see the interview with Tenet on 60 Min.? Very compelling portrait of a tortured, torturing soul. Not a bad job by Scott Pelley as intereviewer.

Tenet is a very interesting character. A forceful personality and someone who genuinely cares about things. At the same time, not at all intellectually honest with himself, and too seduced by notions of honor. No one can make honor their lodestar and at the same time expect to be a zealous searcher after truth. For the truth is often ugly, and unglamorous.

Posted by: lampwick on April 30, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

How is 'playing fast and loose' with intelligence that JUSTIFIED A WAR not deliberate misuse?

I just don't see the daylight between 'fixed the facts around the policy,' now he's moved to 'played fast and loose' with the intelligence.

Posted by: gussie on April 30, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, instead of playing the sarcastic and the snarky columnist, as seems to be your default position on every further evidence that comes out in support of the proposition that these guys have fucked up big time to the grave detriment of our country, why not be a bit more activist and suggest that in your opinion GWB should be impeached? Moderation, in face of the ample body of convincing evidence that has accumulated regarding the disastrous policies of this administration, is no virtue, even for a columnist of the Washington Monthly.

Posted by: gregor on April 30, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Playing fast and loose with intelligence, playing fast and loose with 3,300 American lives, playing fast and loose with the involvment of 271 deaths of soldiers from other nations, and playing fast and loose with 60,000 to 100,000 Iraqi dead, depending on who you ask.

Posted by: Angry Zit on April 30, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

What gregor said.
This is, even given your penchant for dry understatement, quite a distance beyond weeping.

Posted by: thersites on April 30, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

As I recall, the allegation was made that the word "fixed" had a different connotation in the UK. However, I never knew if that were really so.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 30, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think Tenet's efforts to distinguish between 'fixing' and 'playing fast and loose' and his--to me too subtle--efforts to explain why 'slam dunk' didn't quite means what it seems to mean tell us a lot about his personality. He seems, on the evidence, to have no larger sense of principle, no idea of the point and purpose of public service, but to be focussed entirely on the minutiae of Washington power politics, endlessly jockeying to score points an esoteric glass bead game utterly unconnected--in his mind--with the real world. Unfortunately, in this way he seems to be a completely representative example of our governing class,

Posted by: J on April 30, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Therefore, they, being the Bush Circus of clowns, accepted the intelligence as to how it suited their prejudices, not how it played to reasoned analysis.
Ummm, in short, they fixed the intelligence to suit their agenda.

"You say tomato, I say tomato..." yeah, still the same fruit no matter how ya name it, or slice it.

Posted by: Sheerahkahn on April 30, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

If Tenet isn't ready to fess up to being a NeoCon, then I think Congressional committees should ask him pretty serious questions.

Which reps or senators did he work for as a staffer?

Were they Rs or Ds?

Who put his name forward to Pres. Clinton to be appointed as DCI?

Is he a Republican?

Does he agree with the Bush agenda in the Middle East?

What does he think their goals are?

What does he think we can achieve in the Middle East?

Does he believe the war is justifiable or legal?

Did he withold information which might've led to the capture of Osama bin Laden from Pres. Clinton?

Did they have chances to capture bin Laden where he intervened to prevent?

Does he know when and why Saddam Hussein became an enemy of America and who made this decision?

Does he know when the plan to overthrow Saddam was conceived and whose idea it was?

etc.

He deserves the same kind of grilling that Powell and Rice and others are getting.

Posted by: MarkH on April 30, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

As I recall, the allegation was made that the word "fixed" had a different connotation in the UK. However, I never knew if that were really so.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 30, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Nope, it means the same thing here. Have lived both sides of the pond for a number of years each.

Posted by: In the UK on April 30, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

George Tenet truly is a visionary. He sees substantive distinctions where most of us merely see two ways of saying the same thing.

Posted by: brewmn on April 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK
Tenet is a very interesting character. A forceful personality and someone who genuinely cares about things.

Things like George Tenet, or George Tenet's career, or what table George Tenet gets at the best DC restaurant.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 30, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn on April 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM

He sees substantive distinctions where most of us merely see two ways of saying the same thing.

Now, now...There's a difference between fabricating the case for invading Iraq from whole cloth and viewing the case for invading Iraq through PNAC-colored glasses...I guess that Tenet considers actively lying about the evidence justifying the invasion of Iraq worse than giving selective attention to only the evidence that justifies the invasion of Iraq...

Tenet seems to be saying, "They didn't lie, they just willingly ignored the evidence that didn't fit the conclusions they wanted."...which pretty much describes 'conservative intellectualism', oxymoron that the concept is proving to be.

Posted by: grape_crush on April 30, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

"He believed that the momentum driving it was not really about WMD but rather about bigger issues, such as changing the politics of the Middle East."

This is also my opinion. If we ever want peace we have to change the middle east. Too bad the democrats are putting politics above peace.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on April 30, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

what gregor said

When do we put Bush and Cheney in jail, already? What more do we need?

Posted by: craigie on April 30, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

If we ever want peace we have to change the middle east. Too bad the democrats are putting politics above peace.

Right! Because those are totally different things! And peace is for fags anyway!

I we want to change the Middle East, the obvious best course is to start bombing sleeping children into little pieces. That always gets people to see your point of view straight away.

Posted by: craigie on April 30, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "As I recall, the allegation was made that the word 'fixed' had a different connotation in the UK. However, I never knew if that were really so."

Muchos kudos for forthrightly stating your uncertainty and desire for clarification. You are one step closer to experiencing the liberating light of truth.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 30, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it's a dishonest way to get an argument he knows is false into the conversation. It's a rather clumsy trick, as are all of faux-liberal's little tricks.

Posted by: PaulB on May 1, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK
No one can make honor their lodestar and at the same time expect to be a zealous searcher after truth. For the truth is often ugly, and unglamorous.

We must use very different dictionaries.
I am unable to conceive of honor that does not concern itself deeply with truth.
If you find truth to be dishonorable, it is incumbent upon you to change it.

Posted by: kenga on May 1, 2007 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

This is all just irrelevant, revisionist idiocy. The undisputed Administration historical record (see Bob Woodward: Bush At War, Plan of Attack) scrupulously documents that Cheney, Rumsfield, Libby, Wolfowitz, Perle & Feith were feverishly planning, lobbying & demanding strategic war plans FOR invading Iraq at least 8 MONTHS before 9/11. None of that is, or has ever been, in dispute. Nor has the fact that the entire Bush administration, particularly the hapless Rice & Bush, REPEATEDLY ignored the dramatic warnings they received from Tenet, Richard Clarke, John O'Neill & the outgoing Clinton National Security team, that the al Qa'eda terrorist threat to the American homeland was grave & imminent. The Bush administration ignored it. Even as the threats grew more & more detailed & immediate. Meanwhile, as they ignored the real danger, Rumsfield was demanding that plans for invading Iraq be completely updated & exhaustingly reworked. All this 8 months BEFORE 9/11.

Within HOURS of the 9/11 attacks Cheney, Rumsfield et al (see Woodward) were alleging & demanding substantiation for al Qa'eda links to Iraq despite overwhelming & pragmatic evidence to the contrary.

So, yeah, duh, the realpolitic British & Tenet & Powell & everyone else who wasn't pre-sold on the pressing need to invade the utterly unrelated country of Iraq attempted to sound flaccid notes of caution. Hip-hip-hooray for those ineffectual, well-intentioned murmurs. The truth is, when push came to shove, the British Foreign Service, Tenet, the CIA & yes, even the imminently credible Powell, caved, publicly & cravenly & whether through strategic silence or active mendacity, supported an invasion that was baseless, illegal & utterly unrelated to the events of 9/11.

Like so many who knew better but went with the indefensible flow, the Brits, Tenet & Powell believed that the facile, inevitable, televisual triumph of Saddam's downfall, would negate the inherent dishonesty upon which the invasion was based. Now, that the egregious post-invasion planning has borne its' (oft predicted)nightmarish, charnel house progeny, these too-clever-by-half situational-war-sceptics are proudly touting their muted equivocations like badges of some misbegotten testicularity. These war enablers should be disregarded as contemptuously as the neo-con architects of this disaster. At least the latter sometimes still have the courage of their ideological idiocy.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on May 1, 2007 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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