Image: Picasso, Guernica
I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
Alive as you or me,
Tearing through these quarters
In the utmost misery,
With a blanket underneath his arm
And a coat of solid gold,
Searching for the very souls
Whom already have been sold.
Bob Dylan, I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
Hard Rain Journal 5-1-07: “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine …” –George Tenet, Hillary Clinton and the Truth
By Richard Power:
George Tenet is no St. Augustine.
He is not trying to save his soul; he is trying to salvage his career.
Arianna Huffington explains:
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. Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post, 4-30-07
Likewise, when Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) says, “If I knew then, what I know now …”, she is also being self-serving.
I knew there was insufficient evidence to launch war on Iraq, and I declared it publicly. I also knew there was a high probability that no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, and I declared that publicly as well.
She certainly had access to better intelligence than I did.
Half the Democratic caucus had the common sense and moral courage to vote against that authorization.
Why didn’t she?
When Sen. Clinton says, “If I knew then, what I know now …”, what is she really saying? What didn’t she know then?
How badly the Bush-Cheney regime would mismanage the occupation? How unsuccessful and unpopular the war would become? How much of a political liability her vote to authorize force would become?
It is difficult not to conclude that her decision to give Bush and Cheney the authorization to go to war against Iraq was a political one. It is difficult to believe that her decision was based on morality or national security strategy, such concerns would have compelled her to vote against the use of force in that instance.
Tenet, Clinton, and others, were not protecting the US Constitution, or the people of the USA when they sided with the Bush-Cheney regime in the ramp up to the invasion of Iraq, they were protecting their own socio-economic status and financial security.
Otherwise, Tenet would have resigned much earlier, and spoken out publicly, and Sen. Clinton would have voted against authorizing Bush and Cheney’s foolish military adventure.
But there is more to the fall of George Tenet than his complicity in ginning up the rationale for war in Iraq.
As Ray McGovern explains, there is the issue of complicity in the use of torture and other violations of the Geneva Accords.
Hewing to the George W. Bush dictum of "catapulting the propaganda" by endlessly repeating the same claim (the formula used so successfully by Joseph Goebbels), Tenet manages to tell "60 Minutes" five times in five consecutive sentences: "We don't torture people." Like President Bush, however, he then goes on to show why it has been absolutely necessary to torture people. What do they take us for, fools? And Tenet's claims of success in extracting information via torture are no more worthy of credulity than the rest of what he says. … Ray McGovern, Truthout, 4-29-07
And, of course, there is also the issue of the Bush-Cheney national insecurity team’s pre-9/11 failures.
But that is a different subject. I have written extensively on it, and no doubt I will have cause to again sooner than later.
The focus now has to be kept on Iraq, i.e., how to get us out, and how to hold those responsible accountable for the destruction and dishonor they have brought on this country.
In an Open Letter to George Tenet, McGovern, Johnson, Vince Cannistraro, and other intelligence professionals challenge Tenet to do something meaningful:
By your silence you helped build the case for war. You betrayed the CIA officers who collected the intelligence that made it clear that Saddam did not pose an imminent threat. You betrayed the analysts who tried to withstand the pressure applied by Cheney and Rumsfeld. …
If you are committed to correcting the record about your past failings then you should start by returning the Medal of Freedom you willingly received from President Bush in December 2004. You claim it was given only because of the war on terror, but you were standing next to General Tommy Franks and L. Paul Bremer, who also contributed to the disaster in Iraq. …
The reality of Iraq, however, has not made our nation more secure nor has the cause of human liberty been advanced. In fact, your tenure as head of the CIA has helped create a world that is more dangerous. The damage to the credibility of the CIA is serious but can eventually be repaired. Many of the U.S. soldiers maimed in the streets of Fallujah and Baghdad cannot be fixed. Many will live the rest of their lives missing limbs, blinded, mentally disabled, or physically disfigured. And the dead have passed into history.
Mr. Tenet, you cannot undo what has been done. It is doubly sad that you seem still to lack an adequate appreciation of the enormous amount of death and carnage you have facilitated. If reflection on these matters serves to prick your conscience we encourage you to donate at least half of the royalties from your book sales to the veterans and their families, who have paid and are paying the price for your failure to speak up when you could have made a difference. That would be the decent and honorable thing to do.
For the full text, go to Larry Johnson’s blog, No Quarter.
McGovern articulates perhaps the most vital one for intelligence professionals:
If any good can come out of the intelligence/policy debacle regarding Iraq, it would be the clear lesson that intelligence crafted to dovetail with the predilections of policymakers can bring disaster. … As we had learned early in our careers, if you consistently tell it like it is, you are certain to make enemies. Those enjoying universal popularity are ipso facto suspect of perfecting the political art of compromise - shading this and shaving that. However useful this may be on the Hill, it sounds the death knell for intelligence analysis. Ray McGovern, Truthout, 4-29-07
And as for Sen. Clinton's prospects in the 2008 presidential campaign?
Former Sen. John Edwards has unequivocally atoned for his vote to authorize the war, and now exhorts the US Congress to tie any further funding to the phased withdrawal of the US military.
It is unfortunate that Sen. Clinton does not seem to capable of doing so.
Hard Rain Journal 5-1-07: “Just Another Brick in the Wall …” -- Thom Hartmann Interviews Larry Johnson, All You Need to Know George Tenet
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Iraq,Geneva Accords, Ray McGovern, Hillary Clinton, George Tenet, Bush,Arianna Huffington, Cheney, Richard Power, Words of Power