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Friday, July 09, 2004

It's ALWAYS the staff's fault 

Report: CIA Gave False Info on Iraq
Poor Bush and poor Cheney, just a couple of good ole boys, poor country bumpkins really, so badly misled by their staff. Why, don't you remember all those speeches from Tenent and his analysts promoting the war? All that terrible pressure they were bringing onto Bush and Cheney and Rice in 2002 and 2003 to be more agressive against Iraq, saying all the time that containment wouldn't work, that war was the only answer? Don 't you remember all that?
One thing that staff in a government bureaucracy must remember at all times -- whenever anything goes wrong, its ALWAYS the staff's fault in the end. And when it goes spectacularly wrong, as it has in Iraq, then the blame is spectacular, too.
Politicians almost always try to save themselves by blaming their staff. No matter that Cheney and Gingrich made innumerable trips to Langley to yell at the analysts who didn't evaluate intelligence to their liking -- no matter that Rumsfeld set up his own baby CIA "Office of Special Plans" to stovepipe defector stories directly to the President, no matter that the CIA and State analysts said over and over and over that Iraq could be handled by containment, that the tubes were for industry, that there was no evidence that Iraq was trying to import yellowcake. Nope, before the war, the analysts were all wet.
So, to save their miserable jobs, the analysts finally caved -- well OK, maybe you're right, I guess maybe the intelligence could be interpreted that way. . . -- and now, kaboom, the whole war is their fault, and their careers are over anyway.
Well, those who live by the sword die by the sword.
There will be a lot of lessons learned from the Iraq war, many unintentional.
And not the least will be, by bureaucrats, that they MUST NOT give in to political pressure to distort their results. If they lose their backbone, as the CIA analysts did, then they have failed the public which pays their salaries. Politicians come and go, but the staff stays. They work for the pubic, not for the politicians, so their public trust is to maintain the standards of their profession. So, in that sense at least, they actually were to blame.

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