State of War
By Murray Bourne, 09 May 2006
The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
James Risen, ©2005
To better understand how the Bush adminstration got itself into such a mess in the Middle East, this book is a must-read. Almost every page contains yet another extraordinary scandal.
To me, one of the biggest scandals is the way Bush and his cronies have seduced the US media - and why it took the media so long to realise what has been going on.
Risen is a reporter for the New York Times. Of course he cannot reveal all his sources, so a lot of times he says things like "a senior aid who was close to the situation said...". There are several places in the book where I feel his argument is weakened because he says things like "There is no evidence that So-and-so ever responded to the cable". Well - he should go ask So-and-so and find out - maybe the reasons for not responding were pertinent.
There are also places where he must speculate on Bush's motives in the absence of evidence. There is enough dirt here that speculation is not really necessary - let the reader do that.
Anyway, some of what's in the book I knew and some of it I didn't know much about. Among the gems:
- Prisoner abuse may have started with Abu Zubaydah (an al Qaeda lieutenant) who suffered injury while being arrested. He was on pain medication and couldn't be interrogated because it made him groggy. Bush asked Tenet (CIA Director) "Who authorised putting him on pain medication?". This could have been construed as tacit approval for harsher treatment - and the rest is history.
- Letting Osama bin Laden and Sadam Hussein escape - the latter from literally under the noses of US forces - they let him through a checkpoint and didn't even recognise him
- Ignoring huge amounts of evidence that there were no WMD in Iraq - including from 30 spies who were sent there by the CIA in the months leading up to the war. The nuclear programme was dismantled after the Israelis bombed them several years earlier.
- Nuclear bomb blueprints were supplied to Iran as part of a bungled attempt to see what the Iranians would do - and the result of that is being played out now in the UN
- The army's distrust and dislike for Rumsfeld - who survives to this day with Bush's blessing
- The lack of post-invasion planning for Afghanistan and Iraq - and Rumsfeld's distaste for "nation building"
It goes on and on. Read the book - it is an eye-opener.
Why did he get elected again? Extraordinary. Is this how Christians behave? Give me a break.
Footnote: The scandals of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo remind me of the disturbing Stanford Prison Experiment. People tend to behave in the way that authority expects (or authorises) them to behave - moral or not. So if Rumsfeld says it's okay to beat 'em up, and Bush meekly agrees, then that's what's going to happen. How long to that next election?
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