George W. Bush, like many of us, was never a good student. Herb and Barbara’s goal was see their oldest son connected, initiated and graduated. Young George intended to spend as little time as possible doing the hard things, and a whole lot of time doing the fun things.
CliffsNotes help. They are wonderful if you don’t have time to read the whole book, or if you overslept and missed that lecture. They also complement your understanding, especially if you don’t have the background to understand the material you just read. CliffsNotes can be perfect emergency solution to a bad night, a lost weekend, or a lifetime of educational neglect.
Luckily for our acting President (Bush, not Cheney), his staff was working overtime to help him out. The Senate recently examined the CIA and its edification of the president. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was critical, saying the CIA’s information was bad, and its summary version of the "facts" misleading for our poor, longsuffering President. As Tom Oliphant noted, the CIA’s CliffsNotes provided to Bush were inaccurate, and hence America conducted an unnecessary war, killed tens of thousands, wasted billions of tax dollars, with no end in site. Talk about your frigging butterfly effect!
But the Senate missed a few things in their report. The obvious glaring absence is any sense that the American democratic process actually exists in Washington. Instead, the report indicates that CIA analysts through calculatedly false data and analysis forced President Bush to invade Iraq against his better judgment and his own desires as a man of peace.
As Sid Blumenthal notes, the DaVinci Code of the Iraq Intelligence Report can be broken. The key will be the second part of the report where we will see how the Bush administration appointees painted lavishly false pictures for the American people, and outfitted Colin Powell as their favorite ventriloquist’s dummy.
The American Hieronymus Bosch is Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, and his understudy in frightening images is Robert Walpole, who oversaw the hastily completed but true to genre National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002. To appreciate a Bosch painting, one must study it at length as well as understand the upbringing and motivations of the artist. CliffsNotes on the lives and art of Feith and Walpole are not yet written. Suffice it to say, if this country survives the Bush era as a constitutional republic, these future CliffsNotes will be required case reading for all students of American government and history.
But it wasn’t the CIA who brought us to war, and CIA analysts never provided Bush with the one page "ACME Justification for Immediate Invasion." George Tenet and the rest of America, thanks to the Senate Report, Part I, now know that there was an internal political operation against the CIA. This operation, from the Pentagon and VP’s office, directly and unbeknownst to the CIA, briefed the Executive suite. Doug Feith and Robert Walpole were at its core.
Just as the famous neoconservative "Team B" criticized the CIA analysis and then took it even further off track, "Iraq Attack" provides another hilarious rerun. The same neoconservatives, older but no more wise, gave us a real life episode of an old Roadrunner cartoon. Played by Wolfowitz in 1976 and Feith in 2003, we have Wiley Coyote trying to capture Roadrunner, stepping off a crumbling rock overhang to fall in slow motion into a canyon of idiocy, with the rock crashing down on his head a few moments later. Classic cartoons, a joy to behold.
Speaking of cartoons, part of the puzzle would be cleared up if we only had a look at the one page CliffsNotes summary the President received. While the CIA and White House have refused to provide it, I have been able to access this document, through my own secret sources that I cannot reveal. I provide it to you here in its entirety.
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.