Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tenet, Franks, and Bremer... Oh My!

Yesterday, Bush gave the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to George Tenet, Tommy Franks, and Paul Bremer. Let's consider this.

Franks was the commander of the coalition forces who allowed mass looting and pillaging in Iraq following the US invasion. By failing to control the situation, he demonstrated to the Iraqi people that they would be no more safe and the nation no less chaotic under the US than it was under Saddam Hussein.

Bremer, as chief of the Coalition Provisional Authority, ie, ruler of Iraq, demobilized the Iraqi army instead of enlisting its aid in keeping order and patrolling the borders, thus taking responsibility for their own safety away from the Iraqis and putting on the shoulders off the insufficient US military forces in Iraq.

And Tenet, as CIA director, according to the Bush regime, gave bad intelligence to the White House which the White House subsequently used to convince the country to go to war. Now, I happen to believe Tenet's version, in which Cheney told the CIA to send to the White House any intelligence indicating that Iraq had WMD, no matter how low the CIA's confidence in it, and not to send intelligence or reports that indicate Iraq may or does not have WMD. But, the White House denies this, and claims, basically, that the CIA, under Tenet, sent the Bush regime bad intelligence.

As such, why are any of these guys getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom? Franks screwed up the very first part of the occupation, and as we all know, what you do at the very beginning of an operation has a huge effect on the rest of it. Mistakes made in those first days often haunt the operation for months or years, as is happening now.

Bremer had the golden opportunity to rehabilitate the Iraqi army and toe the Bush line of "giving Iraqis responsibility for Iraq" and instead disempowered the Iraqis. He also took jobs away from a lot of military men who ended up joining the insurgency because they had no other prospects.

And Tenet, according to the Bush line, was an incompetent CIA director who dropped the ball on 9/11 and also the Iraq WMD situation. If you believe the Bush regime explanation for how the intelligence failures prior to the invasion happened, Tenet should be the last guy Bush would be giving a medal to. Is this, perhaps, a tacit admission that they bent Tenet over and gave him no reach-around?

Well, I guess Bush failed upward all the way to the Presidency, so that's what he's used to. So, of course, when his lieutenants fail, he gives them medals and asks them to stay on another four years (Rumsfeld).

Take that, "reality-based community!"


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