The "R" Word Posted by: Dale Franks
on Monday, April 30, 2007
Arianna Huffington, of all people, points out a problematic issue with George Tenet's new book.
Does this sound familiar? A senior Bush administration official plays a key role in selling the Iraq war debacle to the American public, resigns a few years later, and then tries to distance himself from Bush and the war by writing a book or talking to Bob Woodward, portraying himself as a poor, hapless victim who knew the truth at the time and really, really wanted to tell it, but, somehow, just had no choice but to go along. What else could he do?
Each version of this contemptible tale shares the same fatal flaw. It requires that the remedy that was readily available — resignation — did not exist.
George Tenet v2.0 is all about castigating those evil neocons who were dead set on driving the nation to war. For George Tenet v1.0, however, the neocons weren't much of an issue. At least, not until Mr. Tenet "got his". As Ms. Huffington says:
Tenet seems to believe there's a major distinction between lying and standing by silently while others lie, and then proudly receiving a Medal of Freedom from the liars.
He could have simply resigned and freed himself to "tell the truth." Tenet acts as if resignation were not an option. But it was. And the passion and anger he displays now in the service of book sales could have been used then in the service of his country.
In this he shares the same sort of attitude as former antiterrorism guy Richard Clarke, who was oh-so-angry at the neocons, but apparently, not quite upset enough to prevent sticking it out until retirement.
Look, people of good faith can argue endlessly about what happened between 9/11 and the Iraq invasion, and what went wrong, and why. But, there's something unseemly about working for years in an administration—apparently with enough loyalty and distinction to get your pretty blue PMF medal ribbon—then turning around and crapping all over your former employer while attempting to hold yourself blameless.
If things were so intolerable inside the Bush Administration, Mr. Tenet could simply have resigned, then gone out to tell the awful truth, when it might have made some difference. He was perfectly happy to do the president's bidding until retirement time rolled around, so coming off all upset now doesn't impress me much. Had Mr. Tenet been as concerned then as he claims to be now, then it seems to me that the honorable thing to do would have been to resign, and join the public opposition to the presidents policies.
That fact that he did not means that he is complicit in those policies, however much he claims to the contrary now.
He was a Clinton Administration official I thought.
Dale Responds: Uh, he was the Bush Administration DCI for 6 years. Since the DCI is a presidential appointee, Bush’s offer of a job, and Tenet’s acceptance of that job for 6 years, makes him a senior Bush administration official. The DCI, after all, serves at the pleasure of the president.
I should have thought that answer was childishly simple.
The real problem with Tenet is that he scre*ed over his own agency. By rolling over for the Bushes, giving everything a CIA Stamp of Approval when the low-level analysts disagreed with most of it, that allowed the Bush Admin to later blame everything on the CIA. And the right-wing public has largely bought it completely.
Thus, honest observers like you are nailing Tenet, accurately, for not standing up to the pressure, while right-wing hacks are still pi**ed at the CIA for supposed "insubordination", i.e., standing up to the pressure.
Low level people at the CIA are in a literally impossible position. They can’t stop their boss from rolling over. They can’t even resign. You think a mass resignation at the CIA wouldn’t be portrayed as a stab in the back?
Why does everyone assume the tale that he was toeing the Bush line while beleiving something COMPLETELY different. Maybe Tenet DID beleive the threats, but changed his mind with the change in the weather that the media sh*& storm against anything Bush has created.
My personal opinion is that the CIA is so screwed up that we the people can’t even tell if they are career opportunists of the ugliest sort, or just plain incompetent. Of course, it could be both.
Why does everyone assume the tale that he was toeing the Bush line while beleiving something COMPLETELY different.
Uh, because that’s what Tenet is saying happened. Which means it’s not an assumption. It’s his story.
Dale responds: Uh, because that’s what Tenet is saying happened. Which means it’s not an assumption. It’s his story. Sure it is his story. Doesn’t mean I have to buy it hook line and sinker. Or is it your opinion that only Republicans spew lies for their own advantage?
Of course, if Tenet really didn’t belive what he was telling the administration was factual and worthy of attention and perhaps action, and further did nothing to stop the President from making decisions based on that ’incorrect’ info, he is a terrible American citizen and a despicable human being.