Image: Salvador Dali, Premonition of Civil War
Hard Rain Journal: The NIE and Its Implications for the 2008 Election and the Fate of the Republic
By Richard Power
A few weeks after he was installed as _resident by an act of Supreme Injustice (i.e., the 5-4 Bush v. Gore ruling), George W. Bush paid his first visit to Langley, and said "I appreciate the work that goes into the briefing. I realize that the information inside it contains -- represents the work of thousands of dedicated and daring men and women at home and abroad. It is truly an honor to be among you and to be in this building." George W. Bush, 3-20-01
Of course, he spent the next six months ignoring urgent, dire and direct warnings from those "dedicated and daring men and women," as is now widely acknowledged and documented, even in the books of Woodward and Tenet (see Hard Rain Journal 10-6-06: 911 Widows Speak Out on Woodward Revelation of the Bush-Cheney Insecurity Team's Failure to Heed Warnings and Hard Rain Journal 5-1-07: “Just Another Brick in the Wall …” -- Thom Hartmann Interviews Larry Johnson, All You Need to Know About George Tenet).
And then in the aftermath of 9/11 (once he emerged from hiding), the _resident went to Langley again, and stood on the seal of the CIA, (I would say "like a dog defecating in the middle of the street" except that shamelessness is a natural and healthy characteristic in a dog).
We are on a mission to make sure that freedom is enduring. ... There is no better institute to be working with than the Central Intelligence Agency, which serves as our ears and our eyes all around the world. ... And in order to make sure that we're able to conduct a winning victory, we've got to have the best intelligence we can possibly have. And my report to the nation is, we've got the best intelligence we can possibly have thanks to the men and women of the CIA. ... I said, I think I'd like to come out to thank people once again; I'd like to come out to the CIA, the center of great Americans, to thank you for your work. I know how hard you're working. And I hope all the Americans who are listening to this TV broadcast understand how hard you're working, too. You're giving your best shot, long hours, all your brain power, to win a war that we're going to win. And I can't thank you enough on behalf of the American people. Keep doing it. America relies upon your intelligence and your judgment. George W. Bush, 9-21-01.
In commentary on the air waves and in the print media that day, the propapunditgandists cravenly carried the filthy water of Karl Rove, et al -- the _resident had gone to CIA HQ to lift morale, which was low BECAUSE OF THE INTELLIGENCE FAILURES THAT LEAD TO 9/11.
I will never forget that image of Bush standing on the seal, or his remarks, or the response they stirred in me: "Oh, there is going to be hell to pay for all of this," I surmised.
Put aside the intriguing psychological dimension of a disturbed son spending most of his time in office trashing the institution his father took his greatest pride in (Poppy was genuinely respected -- for better AND worse -- by many in the rank and file); yes, put aside the Oedipal quality of it all, and focus on what Rumsfeld (who like Cheney was kept down by Poppy, and therefore exalted by the _resident) would call the "known knowns":
9/11 was not the fault of intelligence failures.
There were ample warnings. They were not acted upon.
Nor was the invasion and occupation of Iraq the result of intelligence failures.
The actual intelligence community product on whether or not there was anything there was inconclusive and skeptical; therefore many in the military, intelligence and diplomatic communities argued long and hard against unilateral military action, and, of course, subsequent events vindicated their protests. (And yet, the US mainstream media still turns to those that have been consistently WRONG on Iraq, like Tom Friedman, Bill Kristol, etc., rather than those who have been consistently right on Iraq, like Rand Beers, Joe Wilson, Tony Zinni, Hans Blix, Scott Ritter, William Odom, and so many others. )
And even now, after the NIE's release exposed his cabal's war-mongering on Iran, the _resident is backhandedly blaming intelligence professionals in an attempt to re-cloak his hidden agenda and re-write recent history:
I want to compliment the intelligence community for their good work. Right after the failure of intelligence in Iraq, we reformed the intel community so that there was a lot of serious considerations of NIEs in a way that would give us confidence. And here's a, I think, a very important product that is a result of the reforms we've put in place. As a matter of fact, the American people should have confidence that the reforms are working, and that this work on the intel community is important work. George W. Bush, 12-4-07
I am not an apologist for what Gore Vidal accurately refers to as the "national security state."
I understand what it has meant to the USA and the world, for better AND worse. I understand, for example, what went into the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Iran in the 1950s, Greece in the 1960s and Chile in the 1970s, I understand, for example, what goes on at the School of the Americas.
But I also know that for all of the excesses and wrongs of the national security state, what has happened in the last seven years took us outside some important, long-established boundaries that were not meant to be broken down.
Yes, the national security state had gotten out of control, yes, the military industrial complex that sustains it had grown far too large and far too overpowering in its impact on the economic and political life of the USA.
Indeed, it was those excesses and wrongs, and the morbid obesity, which allowed the neo-cons to highjack the national security state and the military industrial complex and drag us all into the Bushes.
But no, it was not meant to end up here, with a Gulag system for the torturing, rendering and disappearing of enemies real or imagined, with the Bill of Rights declared optional, with unilateral,"pre-emptive" war and the long-term occupation of oil lands as the primary focus of geopolitical strategy.
It was not meant to end up here in the Bushes, but it has.
To rescue ourselves, our country, and the world, great courage must be shown both by individuals and institutions. So far this courage has been shown largely by professionals in the US military, intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic communities.
You would not know about the pre-9/11 intelligence warnings that went unheeded with the courage of these professionals.
You would not know about the massive domestic spying programs implemented in defiance of FISA and the Bill of Rights without the courage of these professionals.
You would not know about the torturing and rendering of prisoners held in our custody without the courage of these professionals.
You would not know about the ways in which the pre-war intelligence on Iraq was "sexed-up" and "cherry-picked" if it were not for the courage of these professionals.
And finally, you would not know the truth about Iran and the neo-con rush to war there without the courage of these professionals.
CIA analysts willing to ‘go to jail’ to ensure NIE’s release.
Retired Col. W. Patrick Lang, a former official in the Defense Intelligence Agency, reveals that senior CIA analysts pushed for the NIE’s key judgments on Iran to be released, threatening to speak to the media if they weren’t:
The “jungle telegraph” in Washington is booming with news of the Iran NIE. I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that “intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary” if the document’s gist were not given to the public. Translation? Someone in that group would have gone to the media “on the record” to disclose its contents. Think Progress, 12-7-07
These patriot professionals were not pursuing personal vendettas or political agendas, they were simply fulfilling their oaths to serve the Constitution, and protect it from "enemies foreign and domestic."
So what happens now?
Will the Congress of the USA show this kind of courage?
Will the leaders of Congress overcome the PTSD induced by the anthrax letters that former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), then Majority Leader, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, then as now Judiciary Committee Chairman, received prior to the passing of the cynically misnamed PATRIOT ACT, as well as other bizarre and disturbing events, e.g., the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) in a small plane crash prior to the 2002 election and the politically motived prosecution and imprisonment of former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)?
Will the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee show this kind of courage?
If the coming national election is focused on illegal immigration and health care, we are probably doomed.
It is the Corporatist influence that has compromised our democratic institutions through campaign financing and lobbyist cash, and allowed the national security state to be high-jacked by people that even George Herbert Walker "Poppy" Bush called "crazies." It is the Corporatist influence that threatens the Republic itself will the terminal ill of "Empire." It is the Corporatist monopolization of the mainstream news media that has prostituted the "Fourth Estate" and robbed it of its integrity and independence.
And it was after all a law enforcement professional, Marc Felt (a.k.a. "Deep Throat") who told Woodward and Bernstein to "follow the money."
In that instance, decades ago, the trail of dollars led to a White House plot to get the President's political enemies.
But in this instance, the trail of dollars leads to both a White House bent on raping the US Constitution, looting the US treasury and pillaging our children's future, and to an entrenched Corporatocracy that would prefer even this gang of socio-paths to Jimmy Carter, Al Gore or anyone else who would care too much about holistic medicines, e.g.,
-- An authentic human rights agenda;
-- A genuine energy paradigm shift to renewable energy resources in order to come to grips with global warming, the end of peak oil production and the violence and exploitation required to sustain the addiction to fossil fuels;
-- A serious effort to restore the integrity and independence of the US mainstream news media;
-- The abolishment of the "legal bribery" systems of lobbyists and campaign financiers through the public funding of campaigns;
-- And the establishment of standards to restore public trust in both the honesty of election results and the sanctity of the right to vote.
Indeed, this non-ideological, five-point agenda would be the most relevant, timely and efficacious here at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, and yet, none of these issues is even the focus of intense debate. (Of course, it is possible that a grass-roots uprising could break the fix, as I urged in "Open Letter to Democratic Caucus and Primary Voters" and "Open Letter to Al Gore.")
But what will if no such uprising occurs?
What will happen to us all if the US political establishment, the US mainstream news media, and the stateless Corporatocracy that underwrites them both, succeed in narrowing our choice to Sen. Clinton, who has yet to show any genuine comprehension or concern about what has gone on here over the last seven years and Giuliani, Romney or any one of the other ghouls running for the nomination of the Cult formerly known as the Republican Party on the other side?
If we does not come to grips both with what has happened to it over the last seven years, and with the conditions that allowed such an abomination to be forced upon us, than we will soon be dealing with either a tyranny or collapse and disintegration.
How will the world beyond these borders deal with the devastating impact of such a geopolitical super tsunami?
These are perilous times.
The recent NIE on Iran did not come out a moment too soon.
Consider the disturbing evidence that not only was the US mainstream news media willing to carry the Bush-Cheney cabal's filthy water once again; it was, indeed, well down the road to further brutalizing the collective psyche of the US body politic:
18 percent: American voters who believe that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program, according to a Rasmussen survey. 66 percent disagree and say Iran has not stopped its nuclear weapons program. Think Progress, 12-8-07
Variety reports: The latest National Intelligence Estimate concluding that Iran discontinued its nuclear weapons program four years ago has claimed one casualty: CNN has postponed speculative documentary “We Were Warned — Iran Goes Nuclear.”
The two-hour spec, which was slated for Dec. 12 under the “CNN Presents” banner, was “set partially in the future,” featuring a what-if scenario as former government officials — playing fictional cabinet members — debate how to deal with the Iranian threat.
That special was “based on a different set of rules and a different set of conditions,” said CNN veep-senior exec producer Mark Nelson, noting that the surprising NIE report “changed everything.” Think Progress, 12-6-07
For an archive of Words of Power posts on 9/11, Terrorism, etc., click here.
Iran, Iraq, Bush, 9/11, NIE, CIA, Richard Power, Words of Power