Fatal Mortar Duels in Baghdad, Samarra
Senate Tries to Make CIA the Fall Guy
Correpondents in Iraq report that guerrillas launched mortar fire at the area around Sadeer Hotel, a favorite of foreigners on Friday. They killed a child and wounded three hotel guards. In Samarra to the north of Baghdad, mortar fire took the lives of two Iraqis and wounded a third. Local residents accused the US of firing the mortars. Near Fallujah, guerrillas fired reocket propelled grenades at a US military convoy, managing to set one truck afire.
The Senate intelligence committee (which is dominated by Republicans) released a report on Friday that blames the CIA for the bad intelligence on Iraq that led to the war. It appears to have aimed at exonerating George W. Bush, who is presented as having been deceived by poor intelligence and bad judgment calls inside the Agency.
But the CIA wasn’t as irresponsible as the Bush administration and the Pentagon. For instance, CIA director George Tenet refused to sign off on the Niger uranium purchase story that Bush wanted in his 2003 State of the Union address. Because of Tenet’s opposition, Bush had to source the story to British intelligence instead. Stephen Hadley, deputy national security adviser and a Trojan Horse working with Scooter Libby of Dick Cheney’s staff to get up an Iraq war, signed off on the inclusion of the passage.
This story tells me that the rush to war was not coming from the CIA, which does not make policy, but from elements in the Bush administration and from the president himself. The anecdote is telling because it reveals the fault lines. There were things Tenet would not sign onto, but which Bush and Hadley and Libby would. Ipso facto, the morass is their fault, not solely or even mainly Tenet’s.