Scheuer on Tenet (and Scheuer)

Scheuer1_2 "It’s impossible to dislike Tenet, who is smart, polite, hard-working, convivial and detail-oriented. But he’s also a man who never went from cheerleader to leader."  Scheuer


I disagree.  I dislike George Tenet.  I always have disliked him.  I knew him well when he was head of the staff at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).  I then thought that he was an ignorant, oily, political "hack" who "weathervaned" constantly to know which way the wind blew.  He was pitifully under-qualified to be DCI and his lack of integrity under pressure in 2002 reflects his character in general.  His acceptance of the Medal of Freedom as obvious "hush money" speaks for itself.  PL


I argued for preemptive action. By May 1998, after all, al-Qaeda had hit or helped to hit five U.S. targets, and bin Laden had twice declared war on America. I did not — and do not — care about collateral casualties in such situations, as most of the nearby civilians would be the families that bin Laden’s men had brought to a war zone. But Tenet did care. "You can’t kill everyone," he would say.   Scheuer


Really?  Most of the "tough guys" who like to talk about killing civilians have never seen a dead human other than in a casket in a funeral home.  Tough guy talk from civilians is amusing but sad.  Score one for Tenet.  pl


" sate the former’s cowardly pacifism…" Scheuer


Scheuer is referring to Bill Clinton here.  I never voted for President Clinton, never gave him any campaign money, thought he was ludicrous in many of his actions, but to call a former president of the United States a coward and a pacifist takes a lot of hubris.  You have to be really full of yourself to do that.  He avoided military service?  If that were a criterion for public service then Washington would be a "ghost town," depopulated of the leading lights in both parties.  Shall we name them?  "Pacifist?"  He was commander in chief of the armed forces.  He accepted that responsibility with his oath of office.  Is the claim that he was forsworn? pl

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14 Responses to Scheuer on Tenet (and Scheuer)

  1. Leigh says:

    Why didn’t Tenet speak up earlier? He wanted to save the “good stuff” for a book. Therefore, a boycott of the book is in order. (Many publishing contracts are set up so that the author doesn’t get the whole advance until the book has achieved certain benchmarks.)
    Further, he has so demeaned the Medal of Freedom (as has W) that I hope it is retired. Who, receiving it now, can be proud of his predecessors?

  2. psd says:

    geez, Scheuer called Clinton a pacifist? Are our engagements in Kosovo and Somalia the work of a pacifist?
    Your take on Tenet is interesting and informative, Colonel. And I’m willing to bet a lot more accurate than Scheuer’s. I find Tenet’s book (at least what I’ve heard of it) way too little, too late, and a bit of a pile-on on the whole Bush administration. In fact, I think the publication date of his “tell-all” is just more proof of his “weathervaning.”

  3. jonst says:

    You are on a roll today, PL. Knock em dead, so to speak. I dislike Tenet too. And I dislike Scheuer. And to call Clinton a pacifist is simply ludicrous and reveals bad faith on the part of Scheuer. He’s reaching for buzz words here. “Coward” and such. How the hell does he know whether or not Clinton is a coward? Tenet and Scheuer….are these two aberrations or representative of public officials these days? I have my answer.

  4. a517dogg says:

    Scheuer’s a piece of work.
    Not even John O’Neill, the late, legendary FBI counterterrorism agent who died in the World Trade Center inferno, escaped one of Scheuer’s shots.
    Delahunt reminded Scheuer that the CIA man had once said O’Neill “was interested only in furthering his career and disguising the rank incompetence of senior FBI leaders.”
    “Yes, sir,” said Scheuer, peering back through light-reflecting glasses.
    “I think I also said that the only good thing that happened to America on 11 September,” he said, “is that the building fell on him, sir.”

  5. jr786 says:

    Col., Since Tenet has had years to say what he’s saying now would it be reasonable to infer that his ‘cya’ book is an acknowledgment that things in Iraq really are as bad as most of us here seem to think? After all, no one jumps off a ship steaming into victory’s harbor, certainly not an apparatchik like Tenet, whocould ahve covered himself in glory if things were looking good. He must still have good sources in the Agency who are telling him otherwise, I should think. Care to speculate on the timing of the book and possible motives? I suspect there are a lot of ‘posterity papers’ being written right now.

  6. Matthew says:

    Two points:
    1. As the Bush tide recedes, it is apparantly uncovering a lot of brave mollusks that have remained silent and in their shells since 2001. I guess we are all heroes in our own basements.
    2. How can Schuerer be taken seriously when he equates “toughness” with not caring about civilian casualties? Under that standard, Saddam and Yagoda were the toughest guys around.

  7. Grimgrin says:

    I read Imperial Hubris and was fairly impressed by it. He seemed to have a fairly lucid take on Al Quaeda’s methods, motivation and organization. He lost me when he used a quote from Admiral Bill Halsey about “when this war is over the Japanese language will only be spoken in hell” approvingly to describe the sort of war the US was going to have to fight against the middle east. It was kind of distressing to realize that someone who seemed to be a decent, intelligent critic of the Administration policy was advocating near genocidal total war. That and his referring to the Regan administration as “When that great and good man was president”, made me suspicious of his opinions and motives.
    This quote stuck out for me though. “But Tenet’s resignation would have destroyed the neocons’ Iraq house of cards by discrediting the only glue holding it together: the intelligence that “proved” Saddam Hussein guilty of pursuing nuclear weapons and working with al-Qaeda.”
    Huh? Just like Christine Todd Whitman resigning discredited Bush’s environmental policy? Or Susan Wood’s resignation from the FDA discredited the Administration’s policy on womens health? Or John DiIulio’s resignation discredited the Faith Based Initiatives program?
    Tenet probably should have resigned, probably so should allot of people. But to go from that to saying “the war would never have happened if not for this person’s failure to do the right thing” is an utter fallacy.
    I’m not suggesting that Tenet’s resignation wouldn’t have had an impact, but to imagine it would have stopped the Iraq war is insane. We know that the Bush Administration wanted this war, and was willing to use whatever justification they could gin up to get it. Does Scheuer seriously imagine this Administration would have just given up in the wake of Tenet resigning?
    Has Scheuer not noticed the smear tactics used against anyone who strayed from the party line? Those tactics have ranged from Republican party talking points to outing CIA officers. In fact I have to wonder what Scheuer thinks of the Valarie Plame affair, in light of some of the things he’s written in this article in fact.

  8. searp says:

    It is hard for Tenet to escape the fact that the President claimed that Saddam had an active WMD program.
    This statement was clearly supported by Tenet’s presence at the UN when Powell gave his infamous briefing.
    Tenet shares in the infamy, and richly deserves opprobrium. As a matter of historical interest, I will watch his prevarication tonight on 60 Minutes.

  9. Montag says:

    Colonel, I read the memoir of a Vietnam veteran who insisted that you could generally tell who planned an operation by the name. If it’s “Operation Blood and Guts” it was written by a desk officer who wouldn’t have to carry it out. But if it was named “Operation Champagne,” then it was planned by someone who would be in direct line of the consequences if things went pear-shaped. Such people with hands-on experience have no need to prove their manhood with empty words of bravado. Witness George W. Bush’s hollow invitation, “Bring ’em on!” And they call Clinton shameless.

  10. Charles says:

    Clinton, at least, perforce, looked his dick in the eye and lived to walk like a man afterward, whilst wayward Repub preachers, pols, adulterers and pederasts bloviate on or praise the lord then whimper off to rehab while the machine they served rolls on to glory.

  11. zanzibar says:

    One thing I know for certain – I will not be buying Tenet’s book. Weathervane is one thing he was. Standing for the country was not in his play book.
    He has my contempt and so does Powell for enabling the disaster in Iraq on the basis of false pretenses.
    And what about Dick Durbin’s mea culpa? If he knew the sales job on the American people was deceit he should have had the courage to speak up and taken the consequences.
    Then add in Dan Rather, Walter Isaacson, etc in our corporate media explaining away on Bill Moyer’s Journal. What’s their excuse? We were afraid of being labeled unAmerican and unpatriotic so we became complicit in selling the “case” for invasion.
    What a shameful bunch! Yet we allow these guys to provide “expert” punditry. I suppose those with the least credibility are now the opinion leaders. Our society sure has regressed.

  12. John in LA says:

    The politicians, punditocracy and 7-figure media personalities are all part of the same machine. And it’s a bipartisan affair. Does anyone think that AIPAC would allow a democratic candidate who would look askance at Israel?
    The machine wants us killing Arabs and taking their oil. It’s about as simple as that. But the Chinese are going to take Iran’s supply, maybe most of the ‘Stans.
    The Europeans look to Russia for Gas. And the US oil majors have even lost their gas in Bolivia and oil in Venezuela.
    When the US oil majors no long stand athwart global supply, the US DOD won’t have much of a mission. In fact, given the way we’re going we’re going to be little more than Hessians for the GCC.
    Everyone in the beltway had something to gain from Iraq. A 20% markup is a general contractor’s fee. And 20% is a pretty fat markup on a $1 trillion war.
    Oh, an the trillion dollars was borrowed from the same Chinese who will partner with the Iranis on their side of the negotiating table.
    AIPAC has so screwed American foreign policy…

  13. mike says:

    I know a Pacifist who served as combat corpsman in Vietnam. he was no coward.
    OTOH, there are such things as belligerent cowards, and many of them turn out to be chickenhawks in the Bush/Cheney tradition.
    PS – What is Scheuer’s beef against O’Neill??

  14. T says:

    Mister Tough Guy Scheuer also had the following exchange in the House Foreign Affairs committee hearing cited above:
    Rep Delahunt [in a discussion of the CIA’s detainee program]: What about those who are clearly eventually determined to be innocent?
    Mr Tough Guy: Mistakes are made, sir.
    Rep Delahunt: Mistakes are made.
    Mr Tough Guy: Yes, sir. And if you can prove that there was not due diligence in designing the target package or assembling the information (for) that
    operation. . . then you have a case against someone. Otherwise, its a
    Rep Delahunt: Its just a mistake.
    Mr Tough Guy [smiling, leaning back, with arms folded]: Thats right, they’re not Americans, and I really don’t care. It’s just a mistake.
    Rep Delahunt: And if theyre not Americans, you really dont care…Thats very interesting.
    Mr Tough Guy: I never got paid, sir, to be a citizen of the world. Maybe you do.

    It seems that Scheuer lacks a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, especially on the use of just power. I can only assume that this is because to him it is not self-evident that the Creator has endowed all men with certain unalienable Rights.
    Scheuer sure talks tough, but to what exactly has he mutually pledged his Life, his Fortune and his sacred Honor. Whether it’s to his ego or his book tour, it’s definitely not to that which this country stands, which I though was pretty clear.

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