Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tenet and the blame game

Some are making a big deal out of the CIA IG report essentially blaming Langley for 9/11 due to their lack of having a ‘comprehensive plan’. That seems a little unfair. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Actually, most of the ground plowed in the IG report was contained in Tenet’s book, which despite a few glaring errors made the case that he was on the case. In response the former DCI issued a statement claiming the report was “flat wrong”, paraphrasing here, "the CIA damn well DID have a plan, dammit".

And he's probably right. They must have had a plan based on how fast they ramped up the Afghanistan mission after the attacks. Matter of fact, leaks at the time supported such a thing.

But it’s possible Tenet is missing their point. Yes, he had a battle plan for defeating the Taliban but they were likely referring to a comprehensive plan, IE, one involving the entire government. The 9/11 Commission Report found that our spy and law enforcement agencies were not playing well with each other at the time (the famous stovepiping concept). Tenet famously claimed “we are at war” in 1998 after several terrorist attacks yet he was never able to get the country on a war footing until the towers fell. But c'mon folks, that can hardly be blamed on one single agency head.

By the way, where are all the 9/11 conspiracy theories on this? You know, ones saying Clinton deliberately kept Tenet’s concerns under wraps due to some nefarious globalist reason? They certainly weren’t covered on the History Channel’s debunking show the other night.

But back to blaming people. Yes, we're talking about the men at the top, not to exclude the current president, who was less active before 9/11 than his predecessor. One has to wonder if he was ever going to retaliate for the Cole bombing.

In his defense we were told he was tired of the "swatting at flies” tactic, suggesting a comprehensive approach was in mind--at some point.
However, just consider for a moment the possible implications of an attack on Afghanistan in the summer of 2001 before the emotional buy-in was produced by 9/11. Surrounding countries would not have felt compelled to provide assistance on the basing and overflight rights needed to attack a landlocked country (likely one reason bin Laden was there).

And that's completely ignoring the political blowback from the anti-war left and the 80 percent of mainstream media members who had just voted for Gore in the most contentious election ever.

Excuses aside, Bush has always said he ignores public opinion in making decisions. He could have just done it.

As to Clinton, he can wag his finger at Chris Wallace all day long but he'll never live down his own culpability in the matter. He was in office when Tenet made his 'we are at war' claim. Every time a bombing would occur we’d see him on TV talking tough, followed by an interval of forgetfulness, followed by another bombing and another TV appearance with the same hollow tough talk.

He simply didn’t want to put the country on a war footing. Terrorism was a law enforcement issue and besides, it was the economy, stupid. His troubles with Monica had also put him in a box--as soon as the first soldier was killed in any Clinton-led war the rapid Republicans would have handed him his butt in a bucket, calling him a military-loathing chickenhawk dog-wagging liar. This is something bin Laden and others surely understood.

But while some Americans ponder the past and spin and re-spin the wheel of blame we have to remember one thing--the terrorists are to blame. They are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all around the world. And their mission statement has not changed.

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