Friday, April 27, 2007
Personal Aside: The George Tenet Book Should Have Been Entitled Getting Even.
Former CIA director George Tenets book is entitled At the Center of the Storm. It should have been called Getting Even. While I havent 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 havent made up my mind definitely about it, understandbut 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 Pentagons 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 MacArthurs occupation. His answer was something I didnt knowand which Jim Leahy, my spiritual son (a Marine) who was also present at the dinner, evidently didnt 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 wasnt a revolution spurred by the Old Guard when the Emperor was forced to make that retraction I cant figure out.
Perhaps some of our wiser readers who know Japanese history can tell me.