By George Gregoriou
When the White House was making up excuses to invade Iraq, George Tenet, along with Colin Powell, stood out as his own man. The media cultivated this perception. Even liberals bought it. To keep his job, Tenet had to come on board, join the Party of War, by claiming responsibility. It was all about WMD. None was found, even after 4 months of searching by David Kay and 1500 scientists sent by the White House and the CIA. Tony Blair is in deep trouble and is trying to save his job. The Bushies in the White House thought they could ride this public outrage, demanding to see the evidence.
The evidence for or the lack of evidence of WMD is not the real issue. What is at stake is the presidency and the big spoons in the hands of the Republicans. Republicans I suggested in another column smell political power from far away, like hunting dogs sniffing the trail of their prey. Remember Florida? Now its California. It does not matter if the candidate is a woman groper or a Hitler admirer. The important thing is to get power, and everything else falls in place. The governorship in California is seen as a staging place on the road to the White House in 2004.
The Bushies are so obsessed with acquiring and keeping political power, they over-react to anything threatening it. This is what happened with the lies over the WMD. The Bushies¹ credibility was at stake. The invasion of Iraq and the war on terrorism were the only issues justifying 4 more years in the White House. The economy is not. Neither are the $87 billion more for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, nor the trampling of our civil liberties or telling the American people that they were either with the administration or were giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The Iraqi oil will not cover the bills. It was destroyed by the 1991 war, the 12 year embargo and Anglo-American bombings, the second war, and the sabotages.
Bush II is following the footsteps of Bush I, sliding down in the polls. Since the WMD was the real¹ lie for the war, the Bushies had to hold on to this lie , or they were in trouble. And in deep trouble they were. The Niger connection was a lie. Joseph C. Wilson IV and George Tenet told the White House there was no truth to this claim. But Tony Blair and his men sexed up¹ this claim. The Bushies did too. Now, if you lie about something, you lie big, and repeat the lie. After all, how do 77% of the American people believe that Saddam Hussein was connected to the Al Quaeda terrorists were connected to the bombing of the Twin Towers?
The obsession with power (like the obsession with love) leads to insecurities. Wilson went public on July 6 with an editorial in the NYT. The Bushies in the White House hit back, naming names, Valerie Plame (Wilson’ s wife) as the CIA operative behind Wilson¹s going to Niger. Wilson was no Mike Dukakis (remember when Mike was not enraged in defending Kitty?) and hit back by defending his wife and his reputation. The Wilson editorial, left alone, would have vanished in time. But not when you are lying, after you told the voters this administration will not do what Clinton did, and you are relying on this perception for 4 more years in the White House.
George Tenet is again at the center of this controversy. Everyone in the White House and the Pentagon hates George Tenet. Bush II loves him. Why? Because Bush I loves Greeks, wealthy Greeks. He visits them on their yachts, to discuss good old times and youthful indiscretions (?) or the Carlyle Group business deals (?), I would not dare say. The reader can.
So, the chickens came home to roost. The lie over Niger is a small item in the larger scheme of things. But when you add millions more on the unemployment roster, 43.6 million Americans without health insurance, the economy moving zig-zag, $87 billion more for the occupation, and 19 and 20 year old kid/soldiers dying daily for manufactured policies and lies whose primary reason is 4 more years of Republican control of the White House, it is hard ball.
Professor, Dept of Political Science
The Wm Paterson University