May 15, 2007

Richard Perle on George Tenet

Richard Perle lauches a scathing attack on George Tenet, the former Director of the CIA, in the Washington Post today. Perle argues that Tenet let down the United States through faulty decision making- and comments like the 'slam dunk' (which Tenet disputes) would seem to support such an allegation. But Perle goes further than that, he argues that the failure was not just Tenet's

George Tenet and, more important, our premier intelligence organization managed to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist while failing to find links to terrorists that did -- all while missing completely the rise of Islamist fundamentalism.

Mr Perle has had a bit of a memory loss because actually the intelligence agencies were much less confident than Mr Perle about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq- the Knight Ridder news service for example reported in September 2002 that officials expressed doubts about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. As Bill Moyer's recent program made clear the difference between Knight Ridder and other journalists was that the Knight Ridder guys went to the CIA and asked them questions, the others went to Mr Perle and his friends who gave different answers. Mr Perle and his friends wanted to beleive that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and took any indication to say that there were- furthermore it seems that Mr Perle still beleives in the link between Bin-Laden and Hussein- the point about Mr Perle is that in criticising Mr Tenet he is avoiding his own problem. Mr Tenet may well have been a bad CIA head. But plenty of people in the intelligence community had doubts about weapons of mass destruction, plenty of people in the intelligence community (Richard Clarke for one) warned about Islamic terrorism- it was Mr Perle and his friends who erased the doubts and told us that terrorism was linked to Iraq. Until Mr Perle recognises that he and his friends including those in the White House made this war and should bear the responsibility for it, and should think about why they got it wrong, I'm not sure he is in a position to criticise anyone else's behaviour.


james higham said...

...the others went to Mr Perle and his friends who gave different answers...

Yes, vital difference. Changed the ball game.

Lord Nazh said...

You seem to be under the impression that the people that claim that Saddam had no ties to terrorists are correct.

Bad homework Gracchi. If you are going to say bad things about someone's beliefs, at least get yours correct :)

Gracchi said...

Well according to George Bush he was not linked to 9/11 and the only link Bush was able to make was that Zarqawi was on Iraqi soil- strictly true but inside Kurdistan, the part of Iraq that Saddam least controlled before the war.

I withdraw part of the statement- yes I think Saddam put out feelers to Bin Laden- no more though than many other states in the region- or ourselves through the ISI during the Afghan war- but I suggest you look south to a country that really is in cahoots with BL- that's Saudi Arabia!

Lord Nazh said...

I did not say anything about Iraq and 9/11. I stated that Iraq had ties with terrorism, it's real easy to find them.

A google search will turn up many hits.

(And I've never taken up for Saudi Arabia for anything :) women's organizations the world round should be protesting the SA government and people)

FreeRepublic not centrist, but you quoted the BBC so it's fair
AQ in Iraq '98

Also note that Saddam regularly paid terrorist families money for suicide missions.

Gracchi said...

Here goes.

As to the Palestinian terrorists I think that's a different issue. In the Middle East they are seen as freedom fighters- like for instance the terrorists that the US funds in Cuba- whether rightly or wrongly most Muslim scholars distinguish the PLO/Hamas from Bin Laden and I think that's the attitude of most Muslim populations too.

As to the links you posit- the second of your links didn't work when I clicked on it. The New Republic- I'm not sure about their evidence. Firstly they reject the 9/11 commission report which doesn't seem to me to be a good thing which said that there was no link between Saddam and 9/11. As to Saddam's links to the events before- ie the World Trade Centre bombing in 1993 and the Sudanese bombings in 1998, I don't think that's proven either- David Plotz had a rather good article from Slate on the subject where he quotes Daniel Pipes, not exactly a leftwing source, saying that the whole thing was very out of character for Saddam and undermines a lot of the evidence about 1998.

I'd argue personally that most of the Saddam's support for terrorists was actually just grandstanding to look popular- he didn't really have a connection. Furthermore I'd suggest that he as a secular dictator was ultimately opposed to the kind of Sunni based supremicism that Bin Laden beleives in- just as Iran a Shia regime ultimately is opposed to Bin Laden for similar reasons.

Lord Nazh said...

more links for you.

"I'd argue personally that most of the Saddam's support for terrorists was actually just grandstanding to look popular-"

no matter WHY he supported terrorist, that would make him ... supporting terrorists o.O

But the evidence that is being brought out of Iraq says more than posing.

Also, the fact that muslims consider the palestinian monsters to be 'freedom-fighters' doesn't change the fact that they are terrorists and supported wholly by the majority Arab populations.

Gracchi said...

Well yes but that makes the US in Cuba a sponsor of terrorism- hey we sponsored terrorism in France during the Second World War, I'm very happy with our policy there.

I think grandstanding is different- if the American President says the Russian President is a fool then Russia has no right to respond militarily- if the US invades Russia does have that right- there is a distinction and it lies at the heart of whether supporting terrorism could be made a justification for the war.

I would also argue that supporting means more than just speaking occasionally in favour of- money and weapons constitute real support.

I have to say that latest report is interesting- I think in parts it goes too much on coincedence- but there is something interesting there. The key document is the second one he cites- I'd be interested to know why the US government still refuses to endorse it though.

Lord Nazh said...

First I'd like apologize for arguing so much on a topic that I care NOTHING for :)

Whether or not Saddam had ties to terrorists is not an important issue with me, but I do believe that the facts that have and continue to come out bear with that. So I keep arguing over it (heh)

I feel that the US had all the prerogative they needed to invade after Saddam violated the cease-fire numerous times between the 2 wars. Everything else was just cream

edmund said...

you don't think one reason why Bin laden uses such tactic and gets such support is such methods have been legiatized (contrary to tradition) in the arab/ msulim world through the glorificiaon of Palestianain terrorism?

Also Tenet clearly belived there were weapno of mass destrucion in iraq ( as it appeas did most other senior intelnce agencies so it was one of his less useless comments)

and to be fair given tenet has told an outright lie about perl it's reaonlbe his been testy

This does not mean perl was not naive as was 3/4 of congress ect about the prosepcts of democracy in iraq.

Gracchi said...

Well no Tenet didn't tell an outright lie about Perle all that can be proved is that he got the dates wrong.

Sorry not sure where the Palestinian issue comes in- yes Bin Laden uses it but I'm not sure where it fits into the debate.

Senior Intelligence officers in the US didn't agree with that- and Knight Ridder found them and talked to them- why couldn't Perle, he was in the Pentagon. But no he was the man on Fox who said that there were weapons.

Perle did say that "has the potential to transform the thinking of people around the world about the potential for democracy" can you prove that members of Congress were more enthusiastic- I don't think you can.

Lord Nazh said...

"Senior Intelligence officers in the US didn't agree with that- and Knight Ridder found them and talked to them- why couldn't Perle, he was in the Pentagon. But no he was the man on Fox who said that there were weapons."

Why would Perle talk or quote them? Some people said he had WMD, some didn't. Perle (using the intel he had) chose to go with the people that supported his intel (and France's, Englands, et al); Knight Ridder, going with what they wanted the story to be, went with the other 'experts' who said he didn't have it.

What was your meaning to the members of Congress thing? Are you asking if they were enthusiastic about the war? WMD? There are hundreds of quotes (from Bill Clinton, up to and including Hillary, Edwards, kerry, et al) that show exactly what they thought from as far back as 1998. Each and every one of them thought Saddam was a direct threat needing removed. It was only AFTER public opinion polls showed a drop in the war that these 'pols' changed their stances.

edmund said...

gracchi obviously people can make genuine forgetfullness of dates. HOwever Tenet gave a direct quote which implied it was yesterday- in other words he claienmd to actually remember what Perl said word for word-and was then exposed in his lie it's not the day after he said x. see

Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday. They bear responsibility,” Tenet quotes Perle as saying.

To be honest this umdermines my belif in all the (many) uncheckable claims Tenet made-particulary since every part of his books has been deined by relevnet peopole part eg his supposed scepticism by other cia agents and by the bush administration

i'm not dney8in perl was probablly wrong about mass destuion my only point was he wans't head of the CIA- and Tenet said that and was wrong (thogu hoc course there were progreammes- which is more impot than if say they had 3 cans of mustard gas left and no propoer programmes). my point was that if you're going to snear at perl for

Perl belived Tenet - if tenet had sided with the scipai cia officers then this might be a point agianst perl'/ crisim. Perl is not an intelligance officer and makes no pretension to being so. my pint is it's the likes of tenet who are respo for perl's mistake- and i reapt it was also ently understand for Tenet.

my point on the palent was to dismiss support of palenin terrroism is to ignoe that the reason why bin laden and co are using these tacits is their leigimtizaion as political tools during the "reistance" to isreal blowing up nursaries ect it was alos t back up nash who correcly ponted out Saddam was actaully supporting terrorism.

my other point was not claimin congress was more islamophile than Perl-merely that his views were shared by a mjaority of the american and the Britih political establishme to a considerable degree and i dont see how they unmderine his crisim of Tenet ie it's irrelenvet to his criticims of Tenet.