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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

No-Fault Security 

Via Cursor: Ex-Pentagon analyst and Libertarian fave-rave Karen Kwiatkowski wonders how many Americans you have to get killed before you lose your job with the Bush administration:
The President, Vice President and Pentagon admittedly went to war in Iraq based on doubtful information provided, with caveats, by the CIA. The President, Vice President, and senior appointees at the Pentagon then took the shakiest of that doubtful information and presented it as hard fact to drum up political support in the Congress and around the country. The CIA Director has resigned, and the Congress has indicated that the CIA needs cultural reform. However, all executive political decision-makers involved still hold their jobs, and have not been reprimanded. After all, it wasn't their fault!

The Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi, darling of the administration and prime ministerial material for Iraq despite his conviction for bank fraud in Jordan, is now suspected of giving "Axis of Evil" charter country Iran top secret United States intelligence. The United States pet government in Baghdad has issued arrest warrants for Chalabi and his equally well-connected nephew Salem, on charges of counterfeiting and murder, respectively. His Pentagon and National Security Agency advocates and conduits to the White House remain in places of trust, heads held high as proud civil servants. Of course, none of it was their fault.

The official evaluation of 9-11 prevention and response amazingly confirms that no government firings or demotions are needed. All political masters and their civil servants were innocent of any negligence or even poor performance. Whatever happened, it wasn't their fault.

Paul Bremer, former high governor of Iraq, was expected to properly manage the reconstruction and the development of a pre-democratic state in Iraq. The GAO now has a whole series of reports on how badly that operation has gone, replete with illegalities, waste, and sheer bureaucratic idiocy. Did we fire Paul Bremer, or send him home as an example of what we will not tolerate in our security policy? Of course not. It wasn't his fault!

Contractors now provide most of our extended global support for our extended military operations. A July 2004 GAO report found a variety of problems in this arena, specifically with the well-connected monstrosity called Halliburton. The answer? Stop picking on Halliburton! It's not their fault (or Dick Cheney's)!

The Bush Administration has been criticized for revealing the name of a CIA NOC agent who worked WMD proliferation issues in political retaliation, and more recently, in revealing the name of a highly valuable double agent we had in the al Qaeda organization, apparently in a gambit to raise domestic polling points. Some might presume that this kind of thing is counterproductive in fighting terrorism and making the world safe for democracy. No matter, it simply wasn't anyone's fault.

In the Bush administration, some actually do pay the price for policy and strategy mistakes. Detainees held in Guantanamo and elsewhere, caught up in the driftnets of the "war on terror," are deprived of due process, legal representation, and exposure to either their families or the charges against them, for years. No effective advocacy for these guilty parties is in sight. Our government insists it was their fault.
Kurtzian wacko Michael F. Scheuer, the formerly-anonymous author of Imperial Hubris -- who has castigated the administration for its uncharacteristic reluctance to exterminate all the brutes -- echoes Kwiatkowski's charges in a letter to the 9/11 commission, and tosses in a few more for good measure:
In a signed e-mail letter sent to the commission, he lashed out in angry and highly personal tones at the failure by the commission and the C.I.A. to hold anyone directly accountable for Sept. 11 failures and aimed sharp criticism at George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, without mentioning his name.

In the Sept. 11 commission's final report, "you never mention that the D.C.I. starved and is starving the bin Laden unit of officers while finding plenty of officers to staff his personal public relations office, as well as the staffs that handled diversity, multiculturalism, and employee newsletters," he wrote in a letter that was sent July 31.

He also said that the United States gave short shrift to protecting American lives before the Sept. 11 attacks so that it could pursue the sale of fighter jets to an unnamed Arab government, which other officials identified as the United Arab Emirates.
Kwiatkowski's link to the Salon article about the Pakistani Al Qaeda mole may be slightly outdated, since New York Times sources are now claiming that Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan was outed by Pakistani officials, not Americans (read Juan Cole on the subject here). However, the Salon piece is still worth a look for its juicy description of how Paul Wolfowitz's big mouth damaged American anti-terror operations in Yemen.

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