Four brilliant men discussed the CIA, terrorism and the incompetence of the Bush/Cheney administration late last evening on C-Span. Gathered together on the dais were 4 brilliant and competent men to discuss the state of U.S. intelligence and how intelligence-gathering will shape American foreign policy under the next president. They were:
John C. Gannon, Deputy Director (1995-1997), Central Intelligence Agency, Intelligence
Tim Weiner, Correspondent, [New York Times], Intelligence
Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
Bob Drogin, Correspondent, [Los Angeles Times], Intelligence
Drogin is the author of Curveball: Spies, Lies and the Con Man Who Caused a War. Drogin says that the George Bush Iraq War was propelled into action through the lies of a former Iraqi refugee who told German intelligence agents of his work on an ongoing Iraqi program that produced biological weapons in mobile laboratories. The hapless CIA, which had little good intelligence about Saddam Hussein's regime and was fixated on the threat of Iraqi WMDs, which later became a centerpiece in the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq. This spy, naturally, lied, but Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice were embolden by these tales and used them as talking points in the run-up to the war.
Weiner is the author of the 2007 winner of the National Book Award, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. According to a book review, "He presents the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair."
Of course, this all played right into the incompetent hands of the Bush Administration who came into office in January 2001 with the outline plan to invade Iraq and topple Saddam. The false information from the spy, Curveball, as well as the quixotic mania of the CIA combined with the Machiavellianism of the neocons advising the naive governor of Texas all combined in mid 2002 to create the biggest farce this nation has ever perpetrated.
The results of this Bush fiasco are only now emerging for everyone to see, not just the more astute. Beyond the 3900 American military deaths and 30,000 life-altering injuries that these men and women suffered, is the open and festering wound that now festers in the Muslim world. The final comment in the C-Span program came from former CIA Director Gannon. He said that the United States will suffer at least another decade or more of terrorist threats because of this preemptive War on Iraq.
I have to laugh [or cry] at that early battle cry of Bush and Cheney and naturally on the lips of the right-wing media: "We're fight'n them over there so that we won't have to fight them over here!" So many Americans nodded their heads in bobblehead unison that it was hard for some of us to mover our own heads in the opposite direction. Those of us who did were castigated by the masses as un-American treasonous trouble-makers. We were spat upon as we stood in the cold winter of 2002 with our NO WAR signs.
I get little enjoyment or satisfaction out of having been right. Too much damage has been done for me to gloat. I have been in a low state of depression ever since 'Shock 'n Awe' commenced in March 2003. Now that more and more truth has come out, my mood is one of anger; anger not only at Bush and Cheney and his toadies, but of the media who went belly-up and were sycophants for the entire scheme.
"How did you know?" was a question an acquaintance recently asked my wife. "How did you know that the war was about nothing?" she asked. How about this as an answer: because we have been paying attention, just like our history teacher in high school warned.