The League of Extraordinarily ‘Disgruntled’ Ex-Employees
No one has lost a job over the intelligence failures that led to 9/11 or the invasion & occupation of Iraq that was trumped up and velcroed to 9/11. The reason is that firing someone will only induce him/her to speak up and tell the truth. There is safety in numbers, and those numbers are growing daily. Now, more than before, whistle-blowers have less reason to fear that the Karl Rove machine will call out the dogs of personal destruction. Also, there is a growing awareness of the veracity of the critics’ messages.
Richard Clarke has stayed in the news is because he does not stand alone; he has joined a long and prestigious line of people who have come forward to bear witness against this White House. Eventually, the numbers in this League of Extraordinarily Disgruntled Ex-Employees will reach a critical mass.
Paul O'Neill: Former (fired) Treasury Secretary for George W. Bush. O'Neill was afforded a position on the National Security Council because of his job as Treasury Secretary, and sat in on the Iraq invasion planning sessions which were taking place months before the attacks of September 11. Along with Ron Suskind, O’Neill has published his memoirs The Price of Loyalty. O’Neil & Susskind document Bush’s obsession about getting Iraq from the first week of the administration:
It was all about finding a way to do it,…That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this….From the very first instance, it was about Iraq,….It was about what we can do to change this regime. Day one, these things were laid and sealed.Richard Armitage: Ex-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on the disappointments of the first Bush term.
I'm disappointed that Iraq hasn't turned out better. And that we weren't able to move forward more meaningfully in the Middle East peace process... The biggest regret is that we didn't stop 9/11. And then in the wake of 9/11, instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and our anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world. I regret that a lot.The late Robin Cook: Culminating a career that began in 1974 with his election as a Member of Parliament, Robin Cook served as Foreign Secretary 1997-2001, and as Leader of the House of Commons, 2001-2003. On the evening before Parliament voted on the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq (18 March 2003), he resigned from Tony Blair's cabinet, saying in part:
Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner - not NATO, not the European Union and, now, not the Security Council. To end up in such diplomatic weakness is a serious reverse. . . . . Only a year ago, we and the United States were part of a coalition against terrorism that was wider and more diverse than I would ever have imagined possible.Carne Ross: Britain’s Iraq expert and first secretary in Britain’s delegation to the United Nations, involved in the initial preparation of Blair’s dossier on weapons, before the war resigned last week (15-Oct-04). He quit only recently because he was due to return to the Foreign Office from the UN where he had been serving as head of conflict resolution. Ross declined to expand on why he resigned, saying he had been advised he might face legal action if he did so. All he would say to The Independent was
History will be astonished at the diplomatic miscalculations that led so quickly to the disintegration of that powerful coalition. Yet tonight the international partnerships most important to us are weakened: the European Union is divided; the Security Council is in stalemate. Those are heavy casualties of a war in which a shot has yet to be fired. What has come to trouble me most over past weeks is the suspicion that if the hanging chads in Florida had gone the other way and Al Gore had been elected, we would not now be about to commit British troops. . . . . I intend to join those tomorrow night who will vote against military action now. It is for that reason, and for that reason alone, and with a heavy heart, that I resign from the government.
I had lost trust in a Government that I believe did not tell the whole truth about the alleged threat posed by Iraq before the war. . . .I am happy to confirm that I resigned because of the war, but I cannot comment further.Richard A. Clarke: has worked for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, serving as counterterrorism chief for the last two—apologized to the families of 9-11 victims for his failures in fighting al-Qaeda. In testimony before the Commission he slammed the Bush administration for paying insufficient attention to the terrorist threat in the summer of 2001. His new book, Against All Enemies, makes similar points at greater length. Clarke argues (page 246): that the war diverted resources from the hunt for Bin Laden in Afghanistan and riled up potential al-Qaeda recruits:
It was as if Usama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long range mind control of George Bush, chanting 'invade Iraq, you must invade Iraq.'David Kay served as the IAEA/UNSCOM Chief Nuclear Weapons Inspector, leading numerous inspections into Iraq following the end of the Gulf War to determine Iraqi nuclear weapons production capability. During the Bush II administration, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency appointed Dr. David Kay to lead that search and direct the activities of the 1,400 hundred member Iraq Survey Group, the hunting for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. David Kay resigned from the CIA in January 2004. Currently Dr. David Kay is a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies with a concentration on counterterrorism and weapons proliferation. In an interview on 18-Jul-04, Dr. Kay said:
What really happened for the analysts is they had two levels of evidence. Anything that would confirm WMD in Iraq – very little scrutiny. Anything that showed Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, had a much higher gate to pass because if it were true, all of US policy towards Iraq would have fallen asunder. . . . I think what you have in both the Senate Report and in the Butler Commission Report is a disturbing merger of the lines between intelligence, whose real role was to speak truth to power, and power whose real role is to influence the public to do the course of action that they’ve decided upon. That line blurred and blurred on both sides of the Atlantic with regard to Iraq. . . . I think the Prime Minister as I would say the US President should have been able to tell before the war that the evidence did not exit for drawing the conclusion that Iraq presented a clear, present and imminent threat on the basis of existing weapons of mass destruction. . . . That was not something that required a war and inspectors like myself going in if you’d fairly interpreted the evidence that existed. WMD was only one and I think in their mind, not really the most important one. And so the doubts about the evidence on weapons of mass destruction was not as serious to them as it seemed to be to the rest of the world . . . If you hold that everyone is responsible, therefore no one is responsible, you don’t reform the system. You just go and wait for the disaster to occur next time . . . The politicians, the political leaders had their conclusions ready and they looked for evidence to support it and the civil servants’ error was to give it to them and allow their evidence to go forward without the caveats and the question marks they should have had.
Brian Sheridan: Pentagon's top counterterrorism official, its assistant secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict under Clinton. Incoming Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld never arranged a briefing from Sheridan. Colin Powell did. Powell took the unusual step during the transition of asking to meet with the CSG, the senior counterterrorism officers from NSC, State, Defense, CIA, FBI and the military. He wanted to see them interact, respond to each other's statements. When they all agreed at the importance of the Al Qaeda threat, Powell was obviously surprised at the unanimity & took detailed notes. Brian Sheridan, Assistant Secretary of Defense who wasn't fired until after 9-11, summed it up:
General Powell, I will be leaving when the administration changes. I am the only political appointee in the room. All these guys are career professionals. So let me give you one piece of advice, untainted by any personal interest. Keep this interagency team together and make al-Qaida your No. 1 priority. We may all squabble about tactics and we may call each other assholes from time to time, but this is the best interagency team I have ever seen and they all want to get al-Qaida. They're comin' after us and we gotta get them first.Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni: For years Zinni said he cautioned U.S. officials that an Iraq without Saddam Hussein would likely be more dangerous to U.S. interests than one with him because of the ethnic and religious clashes that would be unleashed. Known as the "Warrior Diplomat," Zinni is not a peace activist by nature or training, having led troops in Vietnam, commanded rescue operations in Somalia and directed strikes against Iraq and al Qaeda. Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni (a Marine for 39 years) and the former commander of the U.S. Central Command. wondered aloud how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could be caught off guard by the chaos in Iraq that has killed nearly 100 Americans in recent weeks and led to his announcement that 20,000 U.S. troops would be staying there instead of returning home as planned.
I'm surprised that he is surprised because there was a lot of us who were telling him that it was going to be thus. Anyone could know the problems they were going to see. How could they not?. . . .I think that some heads should roll over Iraq. I think the president got some bad advice. , , , We're betting on the U.N., who we blew off and ridiculed during the run-up to the war. Now we're back with hat in hand. It would be funny if not for the lives lost. . . . .I've been called a traitor and a turncoat for mentioning these things.Tom Maertens: National Security Council director for nuclear non-proliferation for both the Clinton and Bush White House. Colleague of Clarke’s for 15 months in the White House, under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Subsequently, He moved to the U.S. State Department as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism, and worked with Clarke and his staff before and after 9/11.
The Bush administration did ignore the threat of terrorism. It was focused on tax cuts, building a ballistic missile system, withdrawing from the ABM Treaty and rejecting the Kyoto Protocol. Clarke's gutsy insider recounting of events related to 9/11 is an important public service. From my perspective, the Bush administration has practiced the most cynical, opportunistic form of politics I witnessed in my 28 years in government: hijacking legitimate American outrage and patriotism over 9/11 to conduct a pre-ordained war against Saddam Hussein….I personally believe that Clarke was one of the most effective government officials I have ever worked with — most effective, but not the most loved. Unfortunately, he suffered the fate of Cassandra: He was able to foresee the future but not convince his leaders of the threat.Donald Kerrick: A three-star General who served as deputy National Security Advisor under Clinton, and stayed for his last four months in the service in the Bush White House. According to a report by Sidney Blumenthal from March 25, Kerrick wrote Stephen Hadley, his replacement in the White House, a two-page memo. Kerrick told Blumenthal. Hadley has since become a White House front man in the attacks against Rickard Clarke. He sent a memo to the NSC's new leadership on "things you need to pay attention to." He wrote about Al Qaeda: "We are going to be struck again." But he never heard back.
I don't think it was above the waterline. They were gambling nothing would happen,… [my memo] It was classified [and] said they needed to pay attention to al-Qaida and counterterrorism. I said we were going to be struck again. We didn't know where or when. They never once asked me a question nor did I see them having a serious discussion about it. They didn't feel it was an imminent threat the way the Clinton administration did. Hadley did not respond to my memo. I know he had it. I agree with Dick that they saw those problems through an Iraqi prism. But the evidence wasn't there.Gen. Henry H. Shelton: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until Oct. 1, 2001.
There are other serious threats out there in addition to that posed by ballistic missiles. We know, for example, that there are adversaries with chemical and biological weapons that can attack the United States today. They could do it with a brief case B by infiltrating our territory across our shores or through our airports.[Under Bush administration antiterrorism was moved] farther to the back burner The squeaky wheel was Dick Clarke, but he wasn't at the top of their priority list, so the lights went out for a few months. Rumsfeld's attitude was this terrorism thing was out there, but it didn't happen today, so maybe it belonged lower on the list.Greg Thielmann: Former Director of the Office of Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Issues in the State Department. Thielmann, like Ambassador Wilson, was involved in investigating whether the Niger uranium claims had any merit. Thielmann told Newsweek at the beginning of June 2003 that the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research had concluded the documents used to support the Niger uranium claims were "garbage." In fact, they were crude forgeries. Thielmann was stunned to see Bush use the claims in his State of the Union address eleven months after the charge had been dispensed with as nonsense. "When I saw that, it really blew me away," Thielmann told Newsweek. He watched Bush use the claim and said, "Not that stupid piece of garbage. My thought was, how did that get into the speech?"
From my perspective as a former mid-level official in the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of State, I believe the Bush administration did not provide an accurate picture to the American people of the military threat posed by Iraq. Some of the fault lies with the performance of the intelligence community, but most of it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were provided.Karen Kwiatkowski: Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and a career Pentagon officer. Kwiatkowski worked in the office of Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, and worked specifically with the Office of Special Plans. Kwiatkowski's own words tell her story:
From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies. I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador and career diplomat who received lavish praise from the first President Bush for his work in Iraq before the first Gulf War. Wilson was the man dispatched in February 2002 to Niger to see if charges that Iraq was seeking uranium from that nation to make nuclear bombs had any merit. He investigated, returned, and informed the CIA, the State Department, the office of the National Security Advisor and the office of Vice President Cheney that the charges were without merit. Eleven months later, George W. Bush used the Niger uranium claim in his State of the Union address to scare the cheese out of everyone, despite the fact that the claim had been irrefutably debunked. Wilson went public, exposing this central bit of evidence to support the Iraq invasion as the lie it was. A few days later, Wilson's wife came under attack from the White House, whose agents used press proxies to destroy her career in the CIA as a warning to Wilson and anyone else who might come forward. For the record, Wilson's wife was a deep-cover agent running a network which worked to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists. The irony is palpable.
Now understanding that they would come after me, I didn’t feel that I had anything personally to worry about. After all, the former President Bush had called me an American hero and had written me any number of laudatory handwritten letters. What did shock me and I think shocks most Americans was what this administration decided when they couldn’t discredit me to their satisfaction.Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA, wrote "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror" (Brassey's Inc., 2004) under the pseudonym Anonymous:
Somebody close to the president of the United States decided that in order to defend Bush’s political agenda, that individual or individuals would violate the national security of the country and expose my wife’s name and her profession. . . . .That was absolutely unexpected, that this government would take a national security asset off the table, working in an area that is of primordial importance to the national security of the United States—the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction into the hands of rogue states and non-state actors. Yet for some reason, either because they wanted to discourage other people from stepping forward and telling the truth, or out of simple revenge, as was reported in The Washington Post, this government decided that it would go ahead and take that national security asset off the table.
I cannot state these facts more clearly, and I fiercely deny the accusations that I am a disgruntled former employee. I am, however, a disgruntled American — one who decided that being a good citizen was no longer compatible with being a good member of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service. . . .The 9/11 commission report documents most of the occasions on which senior U.S. bureaucrats and policymakers had the chance to attack Bin Laden in 1998-1999. It is mystifying that the American public has not been outraged over these missed opportunities. . . . .Clarke had the duty to apologize for the government's ineffectiveness as regards terrorism, but I reject his intimation that the clandestine service failed the nation. . . . .I must add that I was never charged with deciding whether to act against Bin Laden. That decision properly belongs solely to senior White House officials. However, as a now-private American citizen, it is my right to question their judgment; I am entitled to know why the protection of Americans — most selfishly, my own children and grandchildren — was not the top priority of the senior officials who refused to act on the opportunities to attack Bin Laden provided by the clandestine service. . . . .At day's end, it may be worth pausing the intelligence reform process long enough to determine what role personal failure, bureaucratic warfare — which the Department of Defense continues waging today — and a lack of moral courage played in getting the United States to 9/11. Lacking this accounting, the debate over intelligence reform will, I believe, simply lock into place a bureaucratic mind-set that believes intelligence is never "good enough" to take a risk to protect the lives of Americans.Maj. Isaiah Wilson III: who served as an official historian of the campaign and later as a war planner in Iraq. During the period in question, from April to June 2003, Wilson was a researcher for the Army's Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group. Then, from July 2003 to March 2004, he was the chief war planner for the 101st Airborne Division, which was stationed in northern Iraq.
There was no adequate operational plan for stability operations and support operations. . .In the two to three months of ambiguous transition, U.S. forces slowly lost the momentum and the initiative . . . gained over an off-balanced enemy. The United States, its Army and its coalition of the willing have been playing catch-up ever since. [Because of] stunted learning and a reluctance to adapt. . . . the 'western coalition' failed, and continues to fail, to see Operation Iraqi Freedom in its fullness. . . . Reluctance in even defining the situation . . . is perhaps the most telling indicator of a collective cognitive dissidence on part of the U.S. Army to recognize a war of rebellion, a people's war, even when they were fighting it . . . .perhaps in peril of losing the 'war,' even after supposedly winning it. The scarcity of available 'combat power' . . . greatly complicated the situation. . . This overly simplistic conception of the 'war' led to a cascading undercutting of the war effort: too few troops, too little coordination with civilian and governmental/non-governmental agencies . . . and too little allotted time to achieve 'success'.Richard Armitage:The outgoing Deputy Secretary of State to his best friend and boss Colin Powell. According to Bob Woodward's account of the period leading up to the war in Iraq, Armitage was one of the members of the Bush administration urging the greatest caution in going in to Iraq:
The biggest regret is that we didn't stop 9/11. And then in the wake of 9/11, instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and our anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world. I regret that a lot.John Brown: former Foreign Service officer who resigned in protest against the invasion of Iraq, is affiliated with Georgetown University.
If there's one thing the sad history of recent years has amply demonstrated, it's that the Bush White House is profoundly uninterested in ideas (even the superficial ones promulgated by the neocons). What concerns Dubya and his entourage is not thought, but power. They pick up and drop "ideas" at the tip of a hat, abandoning them when they no longer suit their narrow interests of the moment. (The ever-changing "justifications" for the war in Iraq are a perfect illustration of this attitude). The Bushies are short-term and savvy tacticians par excellence, with essentially one long-term plan, rudimentary but focused: Republican -- as they interpret Lincoln's party -- domination of the United States for years to come.John Brady Kiesling: A career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan:
When I faxed my resignation letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell on February 25, the United States government was on the verge of its most costly foreign policy blunder since the war in Vietnam. The primary goal the president had announced, protecting the American people from terrorism, could not be achieved through war with Iraq. The goal of establishing democracy in Iraq was one the United States had, alas, no effective legitimacy to achieve. The costs of our attainable goal — cleansing Iraq of a genuinely monstrous Saddam Hussein and his likely arsenal — had been concealed from the American people and their elected representatives for an excellent reason: As two previous presidents had recognized, the material, moral, human, and political costs would be so great as to cancel out the probable benefit.Mary Wright: the second highest-ranking diplomat at the US embassy in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, resigns from her post after serving 15 years at the State Department. Wright's letter of resignation (19-Mar-03):
In our press military action now, we have created deep chasms in the international community and in important international organizations. Our policies have alienated many of our allies and created ill will in much of the world.... I feel obligated morally and professionally to set out my very deep and firm concerns on these policies and to resign from government service as I cannot defend or implement them.... I believe the administration's policies are making the world a more dangerous, not a safer place.... This preemptive attack policy will ... provide justification for individuals and groups to ‘preemptively attack’ America and American citizens.John J. DiIulio: Renowned academic, New Democrat policy innovator, and former head of the Administration's faith-based organizations initiative, was interviewed by Esquire for an article about the Bush White House. In addition to the interview, he also supplied Esquire with a five-page memo about his experiences in the Administration.
What was needed… was more policy-relevant information, discussion, and deliberation. . . .In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical, non-stop, 20-hour-a-day White House staff. Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but, on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking—discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare; near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera. Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue. . . . This gave rise to what you might call Mayberry Machiavellis—staff, senior and junior, who consistently talked and acted as if the height of political sophistication consisted in reducing every issue to its simplest, black-and-white terms for public consumption, then steering legislative initiatives or policy proposals as far right as possible. . . .Some are inclined to blame the high political-to-policy ratios of this administration on Karl Rove. . . . some staff members, senior and junior, are awed and cowed by Karl's real or perceived powers. . . . They self-censor lots for fear of upsetting him. . . . Karl is enormously powerful, maybe the single most powerful person in the modern, post-Hoover era ever to occupy a political advisor post near the Oval Office.General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique.
Newbold is not opposed to war.
I would gladly have traded my general's stars for a captain's bars to lead our troops into Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and al-Qaeda.... I don't accept the stated rationale for invading Iraq....Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s Europe division, revealed that in the fall of 2002, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others were told by CIA Director George Tenet that Iraq’s foreign minister — who agreed to act as a spy for the United States — had reported that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program.
In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again.
From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.
I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.
With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.
.... I will admit my own prejudice: my deep affection and respect are for those who volunteer to serve our nation and therefore shoulder, in those thin ranks, the nation's most sacred obligation of citizenship. To those of you who don't know, our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it.
.... What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.
Flaws in our civilians are one thing; the failure of the Pentagon's military leaders is quite another. Those are men who know the hard consequences of war but, with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. A few of the most senior officers actually supported the logic for war. Others were simply intimidated, while still others must have believed that the principle of obedience does not allow for respectful dissent. The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort.
They were enthusiastic because they said they were excited that we had a high-level penetration of Iraqis.60 Minutes (23-Apr-06)
He told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction program.
No doubt in my mind at all...The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy.
Originally Published on April Fools' Day 2004,