Friday, April 27, 2007

Personal Aside: The George Tenet Book Should Have Been Entitled “Getting Even.”



Former CIA director George Tenet’s book is entitled “At the Center of the Storm.” It should have been called “Getting Even.” While I haven’t read it yet but have read synopses, it is clear that it is a volume of self-justification. The fact remains that the CIA may not have misled a great number of policy-makers on the possession of weapons of mass destruction; the weapons may well have, as author and Jihad specialist Robert Spencer told me last night at dinner, that the arms were transferred quickly to Syria. Tenet feels keenly the lash of criticism but I think history will judge that given what he had to work with, George W. Bush did the right thing in invading Iraq.

The only question that remains in my mind is not the invasion of Iraq but whether he his plan to democratize Iraq was sound; whether or not he should have been content with killing Saddam Hussein, allowing troops to superintend the pacification there and then gradually pull out. I haven’t made up my mind definitely about it, understand—but it is my contention that the invasion of Iraq was correct but the difficulty came with the democratization. In so saying, I still am intrigued with the prescription outlined by Tom Barnett in his book “The Pentagon’s New Map.” It realistically points out that our mission is to safeguard the peace and that aiding democratization is the best way. Again, where I still have to make up my mind involves the occupation after the capture of Saddam.

At the dinner, I asked Spencer, author of two best sellers on Islam, how he reconciled the view that Iraq can never be democratized with the record of Japan which had the Emperor as a deity for five-thousand years and was democratized in seven short years of Douglas MacArthur’s occupation. His answer was something I didn’t know—and which Jim Leahy, my spiritual son (a Marine) who was also present at the dinner, evidently didn’t know either. Spencer said that while MacArthur kept the Emperor as symbol of governance of Japan, he required Hirohito to announce to the nation that he was not a deity. This separated the Shinto religion from governance and Japan proceeded smoothly…even regarding MacArthur as a benevolent and sympathetic leader. But how there wasn’t a revolution spurred by the Old Guard when the Emperor was forced to make that retraction I can’t figure out.

Perhaps some of our wiser readers who know Japanese history can tell me.


  1. Your question on the post war planning is the key. Jed Babbin wrote these on Rumfeld's departure,

    Few know that in early 2003 - a month or more before the Iraq invasion - President Bush was presented with two plans for post-war Iraq. The first, written by CIA Director George Tenet and Secretary of State Colin Powell, provided for a long occupation of Iraq and the nation-building that the president renounced in his 2000 campaign. The second, a Pentagon plan authored by Rumsfeld's team, provided for the establishment of a provisional government before the invasion and American withdrawal within months of Saddam's overthrow. The president, convinced by Powell that "if you break it, you own it", chose the Powell-Tenet plan and ordered Rumsfeld to carry it out.

    Given that we weren't about to put in the kind of troop levels Powell and Tenet called for, we should have gone with Rumsfeld plan instead. It would have been Revolutionary and I think the failure, that we'll recover from, was talking about Democracy as Revolution but shirking the revolution part. We needed to pick sides and get it done with instead of the reconciliation talk. It's certainly a decision I'd like to see hearings held on. Much more than the stuff Congress has been dishing out instead.

  2. Do any of you remember Iran Conta? Look back and see who gave that idea to Ronald Reagan. Reagan tood the blame and the crowd who suggested it to me crawled back into the shadows. Before the Iraq war a group at the American Enterprise Institute sought the invasion of Iraq BEFORE 911. They tried even to sell it to Clinton. This Clique statred the Iraq push after 911 in a big way from Bill Bennett to Rush Limbaugh to the neo-cons at the Weekly Standard as well as Cheney and Rumsfeld. Everywhere it as PUSH the War.... Push the war.

    From the beginning Bush and his "friends" wanted to democratize Iraq with the zeal of naive missionaries! They wanted the war to set a democracy trend in the area. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Baar you are wrong! This democratization was THE goal from the beginning. Just go back and read the back issues of the Weekly Standard from that time. If you don't have them ask Tom Roeser to loan you his.

    None of these people looked to the consequences of such a democracy! The majority is whom? THE SHIITES!!!
    You know the SHIITES which are the group most allied with radical Islam along with many in the Wahabi sect. And who are the SHIITES allied with? IRAN!!!!

    By giving the democratic power to the SHIITES you empower Iran! Now why could these learned people not see this?

    Many REAL conservatives questioned the whole Iraq game plan and were uncomfortable with it. SO DON'T try to rewrite HISTORY! Simply put the Neo-Cons and their plan FAILED, just like their ideas FAILED for Ronald Reagan and paralyzed the last years of the Reagan presidency.

    Only this time it is the REPUBLICANS that have been sunk or have you not noticed the Democratic controlled Congress. Come on you smart neo-con todies, convince me I'm wrong!

    Just remember what the Neo-Cons stand for: Globalization, open borders, trade pacts called "free trade" that balloon the trade deficit, AND a blind eye toward the military buildup in China.

    As far as I am concerned this is FAR from a Conservative agenda. It is a destructive and devisive agenda AND the Republicans are paying a dear price for it. It is time to STOP being blind to the harm these people are doing! With friends like these, WHO NEED ENEMIES!

  3. I think Democrats are headed for a bust up and one of the outcomes will be new isolationist, protectionist, and sort of libertarian party. It may be your new home Lawerence.

  4. You ask why some of the Japanese old guard did not rise up. I am no expert on Japan BUT they had seen the devistation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and they didn't want another one of these bombs dropped on their cities.

    Further, the people of Japan have a great respect for the conquerer. General Mac Arthur was seen as the Conquerer and they would do anything that he asked of them.

  5. Traditional conservatives are in favor of Fair Trade and not the one sided trade deals that drag down the value of the dollar and run up the current account deficits and only bolster the short term profits of Wall Street.

    China unfairly pegs its currency to the Dollar at an unfair low value. That is OK with people like you Baar because all you want is that mega markup for Wall Street. It is NOT protectionist or isolationist to demand that OTHERS like China be fair!

    Obviously Barr, you and other neo-cons ignore the fact that we are destroying our manufacturing base.
    All of you focus on is cheap products and mega markups. Go dress in your Walmart best if you want. You never what happenes under your policies when you complete the economic circle. Why must the American worker engage in a made race to the bottom. Remember it was Henry Ford who RAISED the salary of his workers so that they could afford the car they built.

    IF you push the middle class down into the economic toilet and into the hands of the Democrats there will be not enough people left to elect a Repbulican. Maybe you need to see the areas devistated by the trade deals.

    But then maybe you could trive with your subprime mortgage in a condo box at 75th and Rt.59 in a Walmart/Fast food/big box/warehouse economy that only pays low wages. Maybe this how your nouveau ideas have redefined the middle class.

    This is the economic multiplier effect in REVERSE!

    It is absurd to think that gutting the US will be good in the long run.

    So where will the buck come from? People have already raided their home values like a piggy bank!

    Simply put manufacturing offers society a leg up. Take some time to read the economic studies of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank about the role of manufacturing in the Chicago region. Read about THEIR concerns. Are they Protectionist? Are they Isolationist? NO they are realists! Do you think Microsoft will move to Illinois? And the business climate that results only goes to support someone like Blago who now needs NEW taxes from a GR tax.

    The Wrigley Company recently closed their Chicago plant which had many high paying jobs. Of course they have plants in China and Mexico. Hell.... if you can't make GUM in Chicago then what can you make!?

    IS the salvation condo conversions???

    Just look at the economic cracks in the real estate market.

    I will stay on the Republican Titanic. I am not a third party person.

    I think it is time to review the bad neo-con policies that are destroying the Republican party! Hell we are in a ill advised war in Iraq because of this "cute" crowd that deserves valid criticism. AND THEY SHOULD be criticised no matter WHO they are and what labels they throw out. People like Tom Roeser should to put down his Weekly Standard and look at the damage that has been done to the Republican Party by these people. Maybe the founders never traveled far from their Trotskyite roots after all. I am wary of hearing their "conversion" stories from being leftist and then becoming conservative.

    I have ALWAYS been conservative! I resent them cleverly, intellectually, bit by bit DESTROYING conservatism. If they were REALLY conservative they would be supporting our Social Conservatives issues! Let them call me names and I TOO will call them SOME TOO!

    Me change PARTIES..... BS..... Kick their BUTS out of the Republican Party and restore its historic conservative ideals. But they are BIG government conservatives..... DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH