Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Little sympathy for Tenet

More reaction to former CIA chief George Tenet's self-justifying new book. Former Time magazine editor and chairman of CNN Walter Isaacson weighs in:

George Tenet's woes, it seems to me, come from the very natural instinct to please rather than tell uncomfortable truths to those in authority... I was reminded how Kissinger, someone I once wrote about, was too willing to cater to and collaborate with the darker impulses of Nixon.
As does the flamethrowing Christopher Hitchens, in an article entitled "A Loser's History":
The author is almost the only man who could have known of Zacarias Moussaoui and his co-conspirators—the very man who positively knew they were among us, in flight schools, and then decided to leave them alone. In his latest effusion, he writes: "I do know one thing in my gut. Al-Qaeda is here and waiting." Well, we all know that much by now. But Tenet is one of the few who knew it then, and not just in his "gut" but in his small brain, and who left us all under open skies. His ridiculous agency, supposedly committed to "HUMINT" under his leadership, could not even do what John Walker Lindh had done—namely, infiltrate the Taliban and the Bin Laden circle. It's for this reason that the CIA now has to rely on torturing the few suspects it can catch, a policy, incidentally, that Tenet's book warmly defends.
And now comes Tenet, the man who got everything wrong and who ran the agency that couldn't think straight, to ask us to sympathize with his moanings about "Iraq—who, me?"

A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that "hindsight is always 20-20." Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.

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