What George the First Had To Say
One could be forgiven for thinking that there's something weirdly Oedipal to the presidency of the second Bush. At first, it was thought he would somehow try to vindicate his father's presidency, by returning to the policies that prevailed then. But it turns out that he tries to overturn most if not all of what his father did--like actually taking Iraq, something his father didn't do, didn't want to do, and is on the record as saying that even in hindsight he'd have made no different decision. Probably because he knew we'd be stuck in a quagmire like the one we are in now, which will cost us money and blood we can't spare.
And then there's this Bush presidency's relationship to the CIA, which his father headed for a time. It seems that his view of the CIA is that they are there to back him up politically, not to provide accurate data on which decisions are to be made. In other words, in Bush's presidency the policy comes first and the intelligence is considered only of any use to back it up--certainly not to let them know they risk catastrophe by said policy.
The purpose of intelligence, one would think, is very much tied up with accuracy. If the information is not accurate, how can decisions affecting the lives of hundreds, thousands, millions or even billions be made with any certainty? Does inaccurate information help you make good decisions?
So blinded by ideology and something approximating machismo is this administration that they will not see when they are wrong(let alone admit it) even when it is in their own interest to do so. And when this view is for a second punctured, they lash out. If an individual were doing this you'd at least call it unhealthy denial. At worst you might call it psychopathic.
An example is the leaking of the name of the highly critical Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, who is a CIA analyst. This was done, according to Robert Novak, whose column was where the leak popped into the public, by two "senior administration officials" but Novak, on Monday's Crossfire
, says it was no one at the White House.
Yet Wilson on Tuesday's Nightline
openly declared that six other journalists were also given the information, but did not publish it, unlike Novak--probably because it was completely gratuitous to do so unless you were trying to send a bit of a threatening message to Wilson. These journalists were contacted by Karl Rove, who, Wilson said, called Wilson's wife "fair game." Hard not
to see. Wilson, who says he was contacted after each instance by the journalist in question, also said he would gladly give the names of these journalists to the FBI.
As he claims these are friends, one hopes they've told him it was OK, as they
didn't out his wife.
Bush has implemented a Justice Department investigation of the matter, but without an independent counsel(which he no longer is legally compelled to appoint) one wonders how far it could possibly go.
But if it's Rove--of Cheney, as has also been alleged--then the purpose was definitely to intimidate Wilson, as well as the intelligence community in general. I wonder how they feel about being valued so little by this administration at this most dangerous time for such operatives. I wonder too how they feel about George Tenet being so cuddly with Bush at such a time.
But it would be interesting to see Bush attempt to duplicate his quasi-success in 2000 without Rove, especially with at least two very strong Democratic candidates in store for him.
What did George's dad think about people who reveal the names of CIA operatives and put them and their families at risk? At the dedication of the CIA HQ building that bears his name on August 29, 1999, George H.W. Bush had this to say:
I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.
I wonder what he thinks of this, then.
Labels: cheney, politics