Thursday, September 11, 2003
Laura Mylroie's book earlier book, on Iraq and the first WTC attack, is pretty high on my list of things I ought to have read by now. Her new book looks even more important. This interview gives a good idea as to why.
I'm one of those people who assumed, almost immediately after the WTC attacks, that Iraq was involved. But I've been inclined to assume that this was not the case since the Bush Administration - clearly intent on waging war on Iraq - would not provide evidence to that effect. The fact that Bush was willing to wage war based on very reasonable conclusions but not hard evidence of WMD makes we wonder why, if 9/11-connection intelligence is of similar quality, Bush hasn't been willing to make that part of the case.
Mylroie's conclusion is that Bush doesn't want to take on "the Beltway." Could be. That's consistent with his personality generally. Remember, this President was once a cheerleader. He knows who's on his team, who's on the other team, and who's in the audience. And he's going to pull for his team, and get the audience on his - and their - side. That's an essential political skill. But it's not the only one, and it leaves him with a blind spot (potentially) to weaknesses on his team. Same thing with his business experience. He was CEO of a start-up oil exploration company. Much of his time was spent trying to sell the company in one fashion or another. Then he was manager of a baseball team - a consummate salesman-as-CEO position. He's never been a turnaround artist, a "neutron Jack" type who comes in and nukes business divisions that aren't working and straightens out the guts of an organization. Sometimes an organization needs a guy like that. Rumsfeld's applying that kind of treatment to the US Army. They resent it, but it's getting results. Who's doing the same to State, or the CIA? And would Bush necessarily know - or want to find out - if such a person was needed?
BTW, as readers well know I have been and continue to be highly skeptical of the INC, and of Ahmad Chalabi in particular, whom I think is basically an opportunist with no credibility on the ground in Iraq. That Mylroie is clearly an enthusiast makes me cautious at accepting her account of pretty much anything related to Iraq. I don't trust any intelligence that comes from that outfit, and if that's her only source (and I don't say it is) then she has a major credibility problem. But the fact that I don't trust the INC doesn't mean I trust the CIA or the State Department. Far from it.