Red Herrings On Discount At Washington

Red Herrings on Discount at Washington Post

Poor Dana Priest at the Washington Post caught the frankly shitty assignment of summarizing Undersecretary of Defense for Planning Doug Feith’s self-defense against Democratic critics. The article is a mere repeat of statements made to the press by Feith on June 4, 2003, and contains nothing new. It is uncritical journalism at its very worst.

The article denies that Feith’s office engaged in intelligence gathering. I’m not aware that anyone ever accused them of intelligence gathering. In fact, the problem with them was that they cherry-picked other people’s intelligence for reports that the professional analysts had already seen and discounted. By allowing Feith to defend himself from a charge no one is making, the article becomes complicit in a cover-up.

The article tries to take the spotlight off the dozen Neocons appointed to the Office of Special Plans, highlighting a couple of minor players instead. It completely ignores the report of a group of retired CIA officers about OSP and revelations of Karen Kwiatkowski (cited below in my piece on Chalabi). It also ignores the repeated interviews given by Greg Thielmann of the State Department, about how the OSP managed to make an end run around the intelligence pipeline that is supposed to go from analysts to policy makers. Instead, Feith and the OSP had a direct line to Scooter Libby and John Hannah in Cheney’s office, and Cheney had the ear of the president. (These people are like medieval courtiers. To get the ear of the king, you get the ear of the vizier!)

It also ignores the fact that Feith earlier lied when he assured everyone that his office had never briefed the White House on intelligence matters. It turns out that it did. This procedure was so irregular that CIA Director George Tenet didn’t know how to respond to it, saying he had never been in such a situation before. This article quotes Rumsfeld and Feith trying to make it look perfectly normal for the Undersecetary of Defense for Planning to usurp the intelligence analysis and briefing functions of the CIA and the DIA!

The article fails to mention that the OSP has failed to produce a single reliable document showing significant Saddam-al-Qaeda collaboration!

Rumsfeld is quoted as saying that those of us who think we were had by the Pentagon have a conspiratorial point of view. It seems the American people were never misinformed that Iraq was close to having nukes, had thousands of pounds of chemical and biological weapons, and was Usama Bin Laden’s old college roommate. None of these things was alleged in spring of 2003, and the allegations had no effect on the American public’s willingness to suppor the war. Gee, glad to be corrected, Mr. Rumsfeld. Nobody but us chickens around here.

You know, when you take a country to war on particular grounds, and those grounds prove baseless, the ethical thing to do is to resign.