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Where Were All The Social Scientists L. Paul?

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A short time ago, when George Tenet's book came out, I wrote a few paragraphs entitled, "Why Did Tenet Wait So Long?", posted at The post reflected on the former CIA director's assertion that he had strongly disagreed with the administration's official insistance that Saddam was connected to the 9/11 attacks. As Tenet made the book promo rounds, his explaination was that he did not come forward publically before the war in Iraq began because he felt he could "serve the country better where he was", rather than resign and expose Bush Corps. trumped-up rationale for a pre-emptive war. I watched Tenet as he appeared on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" and watched Tim Russert and Tenet as they played softball. His explaination remains inadequate, and Tenet has the Medal of Freedom and a four million dollar book deal.

As time goes on, is every major member of the administration / corporation going to come out of the woodwork with first a kind of passionless mea culpa, then a common punchline...wait for it..." I wasn't really responsible, but to the extent I was, I did get some things right-by George!"? It's as if no matter the scenario or the players, the administration's underlying and unifying scheme is incompetence and croynism, and with these unwavering components forming the foundation of multiple narratives, the individual stories come out the same in the end no matter the beginning or the middle, lady's and gentlemen I give you the "Aristocrats".

In an op-ed piece in Sunday's Washington Post, former Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, once the highest ranking civilian in Iraq, (read Viceroy), L. Paul Bremer, expresses "disappointment" that the Provisional Authority is now seen as having "made two disastous mistakes"; purging members of the Baath party from public life, and disbanding the Iraqi military (WP). Although independent experts now interpret these actions as a driving impetous for the insurgency that rages on in Iraq, reconstituting regardless of US troop surges or most of the GOP and Lieberman's claims that things are going great, (Have you heard presidential candidate, Duncan Hunter? And does he scare you?), Bremmer considers this analysis facile.

He explains that anyone who had been associated with Hussein had to be our natural enemy, pure evil personified, as evil as Hitler's henchman. Innumerable atrocities were committed against their own citizens under Saddam's rein and undoutedly, many of the high-ranking Baath party officials the US could have tapped for assistance or expertise in preventing many of the things that went wrong after we ousted Saddam, are or were "bad men", but you keep your enemies close, especially in what was for Bush Corp., uncharted territory. It seems that if the US ever had leverage with anyone to gain cooperation, they were the group and the time was then.

The component of the Bush administration's foreign policy that involves making a moral qualification between good and evil was also at play. As if we only deal with those we deem good or able to be guided away from the dark and into the light, which is acceptance of the administration's ways and will. It is this part of Bremmer's rationale for the injustice of the criticism of the "two disastrous mistakes" he made by those of us who were not there that is the most contradicting.

We had already wheeled and dealed with this "evil" regime under the direction of the Republicans' demi-God, Ronald Reagan, working to purge the world of the greater evil, Communists. Wait a minute, was the Bush administration trying to undercut the Gipper...blasphemy!

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As you all remember, the US helped the Iraqi government develop the WMD that was used by Iraq against the Iranian Army during the war between Iran and Iraq, and more heinously, to slaughter their own citizens in an act of ethnic cleansing in the Khurdistan region, not to mention the US supply of helicopters and other military aid sent to Iraq to assist in their war effort.

Bremmer didn't just decide to explain himself to the masses because he looked back with regret and wanted to express his wish that as the man in charge of the iraq sociological trajectory at the time, he should have consulted leading social scientists and regional experts when taking steps that would define a society. He was instead compelled to have his say in the Washington Post because he was mad at George Tenet.

The ex-CIA director raked Bremmer's job performance over the coals in his book, and like Tenet, who complained that he was tired of being blamed by Dick Cheney for passing on faulty intelligence, Bremmer is tired of being blamed by Tenet for barely seeking counsel outside the coterie of twenty-something "Bushies" with no foreign policy experience who populated Bremer's staff, bringing with them the following credintials: they were registered republicans, they said they believed in abstinence before marriage, they were pro-life, and they would basically describe themselves as G.W. Bush's number 1 fan!

I think I know why there were no experts on Bremmer's staff to guide him in his decision making. Maybe Pat Robertson's university does not grant Social Science degrees.

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CD Rodgers lives in West Virginia where she works for a national poverty-focused charity. She also publishes a web site,

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