Scheuer: Don’t Buy Tenet

Michael Scheuer, the CIA chief of the now-defunct Osama bin Laden unit, wrote a book recounting his frustrations spanning more than a decade of counterterrorism work for Langley. The author of such books as Imperial Hubris and Through Our Enemies’ Eyes has spent the last few years detailing how senior intelligence officials have failed several administrations and the nation. Now he responds to George Tenet and his new memoirs, and warns Americans that Tenet has not told the truth:

At a time when clear direction and moral courage were needed, Tenet shifted course to follow the prevailing winds, under President Bill Clinton and then President Bush — and he provided distraught officers at Langley a shoulder to cry on when his politically expedient tacking sailed the United States into disaster.
At the CIA, Tenet will be remembered for some badly needed morale-building. But he will also be recalled for fudging the central role he played in the decline of America’s clandestine service — the brave field officers who run covert missions that make us all safer. The decline began in the late 1980s, when the impending end of the Cold War meant smaller budgets and fewer hires, and it continued through Sept. 11, 2001. When Tenet and his bungling operations chief, James Pavitt, described this slow-motion disaster in testimony after the terrorist attacks, they tried to blame the clandestine service’s weaknesses on congressional cuts. But Tenet had helped preside over every step of the service’s decline during three consecutive administrations — Bush, Clinton, Bush — in a series of key intelligence jobs for the Senate, the National Security Council and the CIA. Only 9/11, it seems, convinced Tenet of the importance of a large, aggressive clandestine service to U.S. security. …
But what troubles me most is Tenet’s handling of the opportunities that CIA officers gave the Clinton administration to capture or kill bin Laden between May 1998 and May 1999. Each time we had intelligence about bin Laden’s whereabouts, Tenet was briefed by senior CIA officers at Langley and by operatives in the field. He would nod and assure his anxious subordinates that he would stress to Clinton and his national security team that the chances of capturing bin Laden were solid and that the intelligence was not going to get better. Later, he would insist that he had kept up his end of the bargain, but that the NSC had decided not to strike.
Since 2001, however, several key Clinton counterterrorism insiders (including NSC staffers Richard A. Clarke, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon) have reported that Tenet consistently denigrated the targeting data on bin Laden, causing the president and his team to lose confidence in the hard-won intelligence. “We could never get over the critical hurdle of being able to corroborate Bin Ladin’s whereabouts,” Tenet now writes. That of course is untrue, but it spared him from ever having to explain the awkward fallout if an attempt to get bin Laden failed. None of this excuses Clinton’s disinterest in protecting Americans, but it does show Tenet’s easy willingness to play for patsies the CIA officers who risked their lives to garner intelligence and then to undercut their work to avoid censure if an attack went wrong.

In fact, what Scheuer describes here is only a hair short of cowardice. Tenet willingly went along with the flow, regardless of who was in charge. With Clinton, he was only too happy to undermine the intelligence for a pre-emptive strike on bin Laden, because he sensed that Clinton didn’t want to take any risks. With Bush, he went along with the strongest possible analysis of the intelligence because he sensed that Bush would take action anyway. And if Tenet really means what he says in this book — Scheuer gives examples of his accusations against Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, and the “neocon” cabal — Tenet never bothered to mention it to Congress or the 9/11 Commission, years after the fact.
Scheuer says that Tenet wants to get back into the good graces of the Democrats, his first political home. He well might. Some in Congress have already mentioned Tenet’s name on witness lists for their investigation, and Scheuer sees that as a rehabilitation opportunity that Tenet will not allow to pass. Tenet apparently lets Bush off the hook, as well as Colin Powell, but seems willing to throw everyone else under the bus to protect himself.
Don’t think that Scheuer is defending the decision to go into Iraq: far from it. Scheuer believes it to have been a huge mistake, which he also states forcefully in his column. He also says that the CIA warned Tenet of the problems, and that Tenet never acted on their analysis. Now Tenet says he tried, but this is the first time he’s made that assertion, and he has had a number of opportunities to tell that story between 2002 and now.
Scheuer offers this contemptuous evaluation of Tenet as CIA chief:

Still, he may have been the ideal CIA leader for Clinton and Bush — denigrating good intelligence to sate the former’s cowardly pacifism and accepting bad intelligence to please the latter’s Wilsonian militarism.

And now Tenet can sell the American public what it wants to hear.

24 thoughts on “Scheuer: Don’t Buy Tenet”

  1. Gee, I’m not surprised.
    The CIA has brought “office politics” to a whole new level. And, given the types that filter there, this could get interesting.
    Because when Tenet was tossed; he not only got the Medal of Freedom, he also landly softly in a professor’s spot at George Washington (I think), in DC. “Halping” lots of students who want to find the doorway into “international relations” towards one of his own rabbi’s.
    Of course, this would also give him access. It’s like the first wife hand picking the second wife.
    And, Tenet still has his fingers in.
    All books, the merrier. Time to go to Amazon and see what Imperial Hubris has to say.

  2. I think that cowardice is an excellent description. If only what half of the triumphant liberals are shouting is true, Tenent is proclaiming to the world that he NEVER told Bush ANYTHING that would have led him to invade Iraq. Why, the very idea that Bush would take “slam dunk” as proof positive that Saddam had WMD and therefore had to go is ludicrous!
    But…
    Where was Tenent when the Senate Intelligence Committee was drafting its report?
    The fact that Scheuer, who is hardly a Bush cheerleader, is critical of Tenent’s new story is pretty damning, I think. I also think that the libs had better be a bit careful about hoisting Tenent on their shoulders: if what Scheuer writes is true – that Tenent would tell any president what he wanted to hear – then it sort of demolishes the whole “stove pipe” conspiracy theory: Bush and Cheney didn’t have to tell the CIA to cook the books, as Tenent did it on his own.
    It’s too early to reach any real conclusions yet, but I can’t help but feel that Tenent is looking to rebuild his creds with the dems in the hopes of finding a comfy spot in the presumptive dem administration that will (God help us) take office in ’09.

  3. Odd, but “coward” is a hard label to truss on Bill Clinton.
    Yes, the GOP thought they had him in the short-hairs; when they went for impeachment. Where a cowardly man would have folded. (And, many a GOP kiester “in da house,” did just that.) Livingston, anyone?
    Clinton wasn’t cowardly. He picked up the Mideast threads just where George Herbert Walker Bush left them. And, back then, in 1992, in spite of arafat being an obvious terrorist; the Israelis (Rabin and Peres), both skipped to Oslo. And, “tried it.”
    By definition, too, neither Peres or Rabin were “cowards.” Either.
    All presidents work within a framework. IF they decide to go to war, as FDR did, he first made sure he had all his ducks lined up in a row. And, then he “chatted” with the American People.
    Lincoln, too. We think of them as Commanders in Chief. But they let the people’s voice work at how their administrations proceeded. So, no. No cowardice there, either.
    Just the reality that democracies are different than what despots get when they march around their offices. And, despots aren’t worried about elections. But could get killed at lunch. Depending how well handled the “next in line” gets treated.
    Tenet? Was he ever a “next in liner” at White House gatherings? Did he have more access than Alexander Haig? Or anyone of a bunch of others; who’d clamor for the boss’ ear?
    Dubya doesn’t listen.
    In time that’s probably what’s gonna stick the most.
    Calling Bill Clinton a coward? Tends to NOT face reality. As he’s gone from office, now. But he’s still able to garner headlines. This is not true of either Bush-man. And, Wilsonian is also a stretch.
    Since the League of Nations was a powerless entity. Didn’t stop hitler’s build-up, either.
    On the scene today? Well, “wars” have been graded downward, enough; they’re just like watching a caravan of realtors door knocking in your neighborhood. Asking you if you want to sell?
    Most people don’t buy.
    And, Tenet? Probably on board the Bush-men’s train. Until he got pushed off.
    Dubya does seem to throw them under the train, ya know? Loyalty, is a game. Jump on your sword. Show the boss ya love him, I suppose?
    Now, why did Bill Clinton do so well with the public; when Monica’s dress got exposed? (I guess you have to be a relgious nutter to get upset at sex at the office? It’s just not for everyone.)
    And, in democracies, when a man can keep his popularity through the heat; cigars to him!

  4. By all means, continue to pick on Tenet for being a typical politician who gauges the prevailing winds, but ignore the facts he’ll present (which others have presented before him) that point out the abominable behavior of Cheney, Bush and Rice in leading this country into a useless and horribly botched war.

  5. Jeffrey Carr took time out from listening to his mp3 of “Barack the Magic Negro” and stated:
    “By all means, continue to pick on Tenet for being a typical politician who gauges the prevailing winds, but ignore the facts he’ll present (which others have presented before him) that point out the abominable behavior of Cheney, Bush and Rice in leading this country into a useless and horribly botched war.”
    LOL. So perhaps Tenet can explain to us why all the data developed during the Clinton years to justify bombing Iraq in the middle of Clinton’s Impeachment suddenly became faulty when a Republican took the White House in 2001?

  6. If Tenet had a soul he would have gone public BEFORE the invasion with the failed intelligence. Democrats despise him. I do enjoy watching the attack dogs unleashed whenever anyone dare to critisize the Great George Bush. With all the scandals unfolding against the gop the attack dogs must be getting tired by now. Hope they have a second wind because the scandals (Tobias, call girls) keep on coming.

  7. From 2004:
    Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet spoke out Thursday after questions about pre-war intelligence and the calls for his ouster had grown too loud to ignore.
    In a speech at Georgetown University he tried to explain how the United States intelligence community evaluated Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs over the past decade, leading to a National Intelligence Estimate in October of 2002. The NIE formed the basis of President Bush’s argument to wage war against Iraq, in which he cited “a growing, gathering threat.”
    Tenet clearly refuted claims that anyone from the Bush administration put pressure on the agency to draw a particular conclusion when he said, “No one told us what to say or how to say it.”
    Tenet also stated that none of his analysts ever said there was an “imminent” threat. He indicated that they instead “painted an objective assessment for our policymakers of a brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs that might constantly surprise us and threaten our interests.”
    The CIA director dismissed the notion that the search for weapons of mass destruction was close to being complete.
    “Despite some public statements, we are nowhere near 85% finished. The men and women who work in that dangerous environment are adamant about that fact,” Tenet said.
    Tenet took on the most fundamental question being asked about Iraq: was American intelligence “right” or was it “wrong?”
    Tenet answered, “In the intelligence business, you are almost never completely wrong or completely right.”
    Tenet, who was appointed head of the intelligence agency by President Clinton in 1997 surprised the audience when he said, “When I came to the CIA in the mid-90s our graduating class of case officers was unbelievably low.”
    This was the first time he admitted to the agency’s dire circumstances that resulted from neglect, mismanagement or willful dismantling. He indicated that after years of rebuilding, more clandestine officers then ever are being graduated, but that it would take an additional five years to finish the job.
    Tenet pointed to the confession of A. Q Khan in Pakistan to selling nuclear secrets and Libya’s decision to give up its WMD programs as evidence of the CIA’s ability to discover and deal with threats.
    Aware that President Bush capitulated to demands for an independent commission to investigate intelligence failures Tenet said, “I welcome the President’s Commission looking into proliferation. We have a record and a story to tell and we want to tell it to those willing to listen.”

  8. From the Scheuer column:

    He would nod and assure his anxious subordinates that he would stress to Clinton and his national security team that the chances of capturing bin Laden were solid and that the intelligence was not going to get better. Later, he would insist that he had kept up his end of the bargain, but that the NSC had decided not to strike. Since 2001, however, several key Clinton counterterrorism insiders (including NSC staffers Richard A. Clarke, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon) have reported that Tenet consistently denigrated the targeting data on bin Laden, causing the president and his team to lose confidence in the hard-won intelligence. “We could never get over the critical hurdle of being able to corroborate Bin Ladin’s whereabouts,” Tenet now writes. That of course is untrue, but it spared him from ever having to explain the awkward fallout if an attempt to get bin Laden failed.

    From people who’ve served at the CIA and the White House with him, I get the impression that George Tenet’s job number one was to protect his own milky-white behind, from any arrows coming from any direction. Tenet’s job number one has apparently not changed.

  9. Still, he may have been the ideal CIA leader for Clinton and Bush — denigrating good intelligence to sate the former’s cowardly pacifism and accepting bad intelligence to please the latter’s Wilsonian militarism.
    How ridiculous. How was the war started against Serbia pacificism? If you look at the historical record, Clinton consistently green lighted attacks against bin Laden when his location was verified. Clinton’s team placed a sub within striking distance of bin Laden (under Bush, the sub would be redeployed). The only reason fewer attacks occured is because Tenet said that bin Laden’s whereabouts were based on questionable data.
    As for Bush’s militarism, when did that affect bin Laden? The answer is never- because that militarism didn’t exist until after 9-11. And Bush’s main interest was Iraq. Cheney was obsessed with finding blame for 9-11 on Iraq. Not to mention the chance to kill or capture bin Laden at Tora Bora, Bush has no record of trying to kill bin Laden before 9-11, despite the huge red flags raised by the CIA in the preceeding months.

  10. Why did Bush give Tenet the Medal of Freedom?
    Ya know? I thought he did it “to buy his silence.”
    Meaning, even if the book’s gonna peddle bullshit, it’s still bullshit Bush didn’t want him to say.
    To enter Iraq as we did; in order to kill Saddam, will get inspected, ahead, by historians. Because, before, to attempt to assassinate leaders, was something left to the CIA. And, didn’t involve deploying our military.
    Again, we’re five years into this thing.
    On the plus side, the military has not lost lots of men. As happened in all other wars. The statistics are actually lower than what happens with roadway and highway accidents.
    So Americans aren’t really picking on that.
    What seems to have concerned many, though. Has been Dubya’s behaviors.
    I don’t know when the hairs on the backs of your heads stuck up. But for me? It was as if gazoo wasn’t enough. And, Bush began using pressures to force israel to “buy into” this terrorist state. Without any abatement in terrorism. Just a “given.” Handing over the keys to the Mideast to the House of Saud. Perhaps, Dubya thought it would be easy?
    Chilabi was trained by the CIA. Tenet, too, is over his eyeballs “halping” the skunks in Riyadh.
    But ya know what? Dubya’s put no words into the debate. Except that he was searching for WMD’s. And, yet? Here we are with the House of Saud handing Baker an $8-billion-dollar-military-buildup-list. How did that happen?
    Yeah, the bad guys sing.
    We already know they do this. And, so Tenet’s voice will be added to distance himself from the shinanigans. well? Once Chilabi got tossed by the Iraqis, where was he going to go?
    There’s an expression out there; “don’t kick people while you’re on your way up. For you could meet them on your way down.”
    As to I-R-A-K, are we to think Maliki is better? Well, then. Better than what?

  11. Del D wrote:
    “So perhaps Tenet can explain to us why all the data developed during the Clinton years to justify bombing Iraq in the middle of Clinton’s Impeachment suddenly became faulty when a Republican took the White House in 2001?”
    What justification are you talking about? Iraq was under UN sanctions since 1991. Cheney and Bush had to invent a reason to bomb Iraq. There wasn’t any justification for it prior to their collusion.

  12. scheuer continues to be the little munchkin that could. this should be some great entertainment going forward. he comes prepared when he shows up on tv.
    even short memories remember the special treatment he received when he came out with his book critical of bush et al. now the MSM is going to have to hide or at least keep him out of the spot light.

  13. A book I don’t need to read

    George Tenet wrote a book and — surprise! — it attacks the Bush Administration. Now isn’t that novel. According to New York Times reviewers, Tenet complains that there was never a serious debate about the imminence of the threat posed

  14. The msm can “hide” people?Wow, the msm is even more all-powerful than I thought. Who’s the biggest media mogul in the world? My my, it’s little old Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News and one of the most powerful conservatives on the planet. Kinda shoots a little tiny hole in the “liberals control the msm” mantra that I probably hear 10 times a day from conservatives.Anybody want to explain that little factoid to the audience? Didn’t think so. Case closed.

  15. Rupert Murdoch dumped a load of money into Hillary Clinton’s senatorial campaign. Go figure. Wasn’t she already a shoo-in with a huge campaign chest.

  16. Jeffrey Carr amused us with this question:
    “What justification are you talking about? Iraq was under UN sanctions since 1991. Cheney and Bush had to invent a reason to bomb Iraq. There wasn’t any justification for it prior to their collusion.”
    LOL! First of all, you seem to forget that Iraq had repeatedly violated those UN sanctions since 1991, and in fact were in violation of something like 16 different UN “Resolutions”. How is that “inventing” a reason to bomb Iraq? Too funny.
    The UN slapped sanctions on Iraq, Iraq laughed at those sanctions and ignored them, and the UN caved to the French (who were in bed with Saddam), and then refused to enforce them. Bush did so, and got a majority of Congress to agree with him, including many Democrats.
    But I wasn’t talking about our enforcing no-fly zones (which the FRENCH also approved, by the way) after the 1991 war. I’m talking about Clinton’s sudden bombing of Iraq 2 days before his impeachment.
    From the “fair and balanced” CNN, which later admitted that it ignored Saddam’s atrocities for a decade solely to keep their Baghdad office open, and whose CEO Eason Jordan had to resign in disgrace after falsely accusing US troops of murdering journalists in Iraq, we find this:
    http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1998/12/16/transcripts/clinton.html
    Transcript: President Clinton explains Iraq strike
    CLINTON: Good evening.
    Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
    Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.
    Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.
    I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.
    Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq’s capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.
    The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.
    The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.
    The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.
    The United States has patiently worked to preserve UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors. On occasion, we’ve had to threaten military force, and Saddam has backed down.
    Faced with Saddam’s latest act of defiance in late October, we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region. The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam’s actions and to demand that he immediately come into compliance.
    Eight Arab nations — Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman — warned that Iraq alone would bear responsibility for the consequences of defying the UN.
    When Saddam still failed to comply, we prepared to act militarily. It was only then at the last possible moment that Iraq backed down. It pledged to the UN that it had made, and I quote, a clear and unconditional decision to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors.
    I decided then to call off the attack with our airplanes already in the air because Saddam had given in to our demands. I concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate.
    I made it very clear at that time what unconditional cooperation meant, based on existing UN resolutions and Iraq’s own commitments. And along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully, we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning.
    Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq’s cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM’s chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan.
    The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing.
    In four out of the five categories set forth, Iraq has failed to cooperate. Indeed, it actually has placed new restrictions on the inspectors. Here are some of the particulars.
    Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites. For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party’s other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.
    Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM’s ability to obtain necessary evidence. For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM’s effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.
    It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM’s questions.
    Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.
    Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors. Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.
    So Iraq has abused its final chance.
    As the UNSCOM reports concludes, and again I quote, “Iraq’s conduct ensured that no progress was able to be made in the fields of disarmament.
    “In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq’s prohibited weapons program.”
    In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.
    Saddam’s deception has defeated their effectiveness. Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.
    This situation presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere. The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors. Saddam has failed to seize the chance.
    And so we had to act and act now.
    Let me explain why.
    First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.
    Second, if Saddam can crippled the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community — led by the United States — has simply lost its will. He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday — make no mistake — he will use it again as he has in the past.
    Third, in halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license. If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.
    That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team — including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser — I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.
    They are designed to degrade Saddam’s capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.
    At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam. If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price. We acted today because, in the judgment of my military advisers, a swift response would provide the most surprise and the least opportunity for Saddam to prepare.
    If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler’s report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.
    Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and, therefore, would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East.
    That is something we wanted very much to avoid without giving Iraq’s a month’s head start to prepare for potential action against it.
    Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike. I hope Saddam will come into cooperation with the inspection system now and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. But we have to be prepared that he will not, and we must deal with the very real danger he poses.
    So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people.
    First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq or moving against his own Kurdish citizens.
    The credible threat to use force, and when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.
    Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions. Sanctions have cost Saddam more than $120 billion — resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.
    We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq’s neighbors and less food for its people.
    The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.
    The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government — a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.
    The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm’s way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq’s military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.
    Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm’s way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.
    We must be prepared for these realities. At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.
    Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.
    And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.
    Because we’re acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.
    Let me close by addressing one other issue. Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.
    But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America’s vital interests, we will do so.
    In the century we’re leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we’ll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.
    Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America. ”
    So, what Clinton said in this speech is that he and Tenet knew this stuff 6 weeks before December of 1998, but they didn’t act on it until 48 hours before the Impeachment vote.
    PS, your hero Tenet has been busted for lying in his book again, and it still hasn’t been “published”. He claimed he talked to a government colleague of his (sorry, can’t remember who) on 9/12/2001 and said person said he suspected that Iraq had a hand in 9/11.
    Only problem is, the person he claimed to have run into was out of the country at the time, and wouldn’t be back in the US til September 15th.

  17. conservative democrat said
    “The msm can “hide” people?Wow, the msm is even more all-powerful than I thought. Who’s the biggest media mogul in the world? My my, it’s little old Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News and one of the most powerful conservatives on the planet. Kinda shoots a little tiny hole in the “liberals control the msm” mantra that I probably hear 10 times a day from conservatives.Anybody want to explain that little factoid to the audience? Didn’t think so. Case closed.”
    LOL. No, case open.
    First-is this the same Fox News that employs General Wesley Clark, NPR’s Juan Williams and Mara Liasson, Neil Gabler, and Jane Hall?
    The people who own the networks and newspapers are not the same as the people who work there as “reporters”.
    Repeated studies have shown that the majoirty of American journalists identify themselves as liberals and Democrats. One study I saw in the early 1990s did a poll of them, and almost 90 percent of them said they voted for Clinton.
    Associated Press (AP) also has a well-documented liberal bias-most recently confirmed when a prominent Democratic politican (one of the Ford family down south) was convicted the other day, and AP failed to mention his party affiliation. And AP’s “reporter” Nedra Pickler last week wrote and filed a story detailing what went down at the first Democratic debate-the only problem was that she filed the story 45 minutes before the debate had even started. Another major AP “reporter”, Jennifer Loven, is married to a DNC operative. Can you supply us with examples from the other side, other than Fox News’ Brit Hume?
    Please provide us with credible examples of currently-working American broadcast journalists whom you would consider “conservative”. And then tell us how much exposure they get. None of the evening news anchors at the major networks, for example, are conservatives.
    Sounds to me like you’ve overdosed on the “Media Matters” website, which has been known to have to regularly issue corrections. Why don’t you try a walk on the wild side and visit
    http://www.newsbusters.org? I’ve seen them issue maybe 2 corrections in the past 12 months.

  18. Del D:
    Are you trying to say that Clinton’s bombing run was the equivalent of Bush’s preemptive act of war?
    If you are, you’re clearly off your meds. If you’re not, then what ARE you saying? That Clinton was a politician who made self-serving decisions? BFD. All politicians make self-serving decisions. It’s just a matter of picking the least offensive among them. And no one in the history of the country has done more accumulated harm by being a self-serving politician than George W Bush and his boss Dick Cheney.

  19. Jeffrey Carr sez:
    :”Are you trying to say that Clinton’s bombing run was the equivalent of Bush’s preemptive act of war?”
    Huh? How was Bush’s going to the UN repeatedly, then also respecting the opposition party’s demands for 2 separate resolutions (which they passed, with even Clinton’s Senator wife agreeing with him) a “preemptive act of war”?
    Clinton started a war in Kosovo without going to Congress and without going to the UN. Bush, on the other hand, did everything by the book. What time do the triple suns rise in your world?
    “If you are, you’re clearly off your meds.”
    Translation: “I’ve already lost the argument, so now I have to respond with ad hominem attacks”.
    Next?

  20. Del D:
    Did Iraq act us?
    No, they didn’t. Therefore, Bush’s War on Iraq is pre-emptive, or, as Bush called it, “Pre-emptive Self Defense”.
    Too bad that we’ve lost 500 billion dollars, 3500 dead and 25,000 wounded Americans, not to mention untold Iraqi civilians dead and wounded, and for what? A “pre-emptive self defense” act of war against a country that did absolutely nothing to us?
    How very “Chrisitan” of us. The world needs to be as afraid of radical Christians as it does of radical Muslims.

  21. Jeffrey Carr sez:
    “Did Iraq act us?”
    LOL! Did they “act” us before Clinton bombed them 2 days before he was impeached? You’re making this too easy.
    If you mean, “did they attack us”? I can give you the following:
    Clinton’s own Justice Department, in their 1998 indictment of bin Laden, claimed that Iraq and al Qaeda did have a working relationship at the time. ABC News and the BBC both reported on Iraq-al Qaeda ties in the late 1990s as well.
    And believe it or not, a Clinton-appointed Federal Judge actually ruled that Iraq was at least partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks, in his ruling in a lawsuit by 9/11 families in 2003. He noted that the evidence was “slight”, but he had no doubt that a jury would find a link. And remember, this is a Clinton Judge.
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-05-07-911-judge-awards_x.htm
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/05/08/uttm/main552868.shtml
    Here’s Judge Baer’s background. Note that he went to the same Law School as Bill and Hillary.
    http://www.fjc.gov/servlet/tGetInfo?jid=75
    The biggest nightmare that you far leftists have is that a tie between Iraq and terrorism will be proven. Why is it your worst nightmare? Because it would mean Bush was right to invade Iraq. And you folks cannot have that! Because he’s “an idiot”.
    I would suggest that you educate yourself by reading translations of some of the Iraqi documents we captured. They’re quite damning.
    http://iraqdocs.blogspot.com/
    You continue:
    “The world needs to be as afraid of radical Christians as it does of radical Muslims”
    LOL! Rosie O’Donnell said the exact same thing. Which says something about your “intelligence”.

  22. Jefferey Carr:
    BTW, Iraq HAD been attacking us for years by shooting at our planes in the No Fly Zones that Saddam agreed to as a condition to ending the Gulf War. That’s technically an act of war against the US. If you had any knowledge of the military or of diplomacy, you’d know that.
    It should also be noted that the “no fly zone” enforcement was in fact also signed off by, and thus endorsed by, the cheese-eating surrender monkeys known as the government of France.

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