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Four-letter Word for Tenet; : Liar

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If they question why we died,
Tell them because our fathers lied.
Rudyard Kipling

Mercifully, the flurry of media coverage of former CIA director George Tenet hawking his memoir, “At the Center of the Storm,” has abated. Buffeted by those on both right and left who see through his lame attempt at self-justification, Tenet probably now wishes he had opted to just fade away, as old soldiers used to do.

He listened instead to his old PR buddy and “co-author” Bill Harlow who failed miserably in trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. By this point, they may be having second thoughts. But, hey, the $4 million advance is a tidy sum, even when split two ways. Aside from the money, what else could they have been thinking?

Tenet’s book is a self-indictment for the crimes with which Socrates was charged: making the worse cause appear the better, and corrupting the youth.

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But George is not the kind to take the hemlock. Rather, with no apparent shame, he accepted what one wag has labeled the “Presidential Medal of Silence” in return for agreeing to postpone his Nixon-style “modified limited hangout” until after the mid-term elections last November. The $4 million advance that Tenet and Harlow took for the book marked a shabby, inauspicious beginning to the effort to stitch together what remains of Tenet’s tattered reputation.

Here in Washington we are pretty much inured to effrontery, but Tenet’s book and tiresome interviews have earned him the degree for chutzpah
summa cum laude. We are supposed to feel sorry for this pathetic soul, who could not muster the integrity simply to tell the truth and stave off unspeakable carnage in Iraq. Rather, when his masters lied to justify war, Tenet simply lacked the courage to tell his fellow citizens that America was about to launch what the post WWII Nuremberg Tribunal called the “supreme international crime”—a war of aggression.

Tenet’s pitiable apologia demonstrates once again not only that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but also that the corruption befouls all those nearby.

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Cheney’s Chess

For those of prurient bent, the book offers a keyhole-peep into a White House of ill repute, with Vice President Dick Cheney playing at his chess board, moving sniveling pawns like Tenet from one square to another.

Someone should have told the former CIA director that unprovoked war is not some sort of game. Out of respect for the tens of thousands killed and maimed in Iraq, it is time to start calling spades spades. It was a high crime, a premeditated felony to have taken part in this conspiracy.

Not surprisingly, few of Tenet’s talk-show hosts were armed with enough facts to pierce the smoke and the arrogant now-you-listen-to-me approach from Bill Harlow’s PR toolbox. Whether out of ignorance or just habit, celebrity interviewers kept cutting Tenet more and more slack. Understandable, I suppose, for they, like Tenet, were enthusiastic cheerleaders for the attack on Iraq. And so, affable, hot-blooded George was allowed to filibuster, bob, weave, and blow still more smoke. Tenet should not be behind a microphone; he should be behind bars.

With nauseating earnestness, Tenet keeps saying:

“I believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

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This is a lie. And no matter how many times he says it (after the axiom of his master, George W. Bush, who has stressed publicly that repetition is necessary to “catapult the propaganda”), Tenet can no longer conceal the deceit. Indeed, the only other possibility—that he is (as he complains) being made the useful “idiot” on whom Vice President Dick Cheney and others mean to blame the war—can be ruled out.

Tenet was indeed useful to Cheney and Bush, but he is no idiot. Those who do not rely exclusively on the corporate media for their information know Tenet for what he is—a charlatan. A willing co-conspirator, he did for Bush and Cheney what propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels did for Hitler. The key difference is that Goebbels and his Nazi collaborators, rather than writing books and taking sinecures to enrich themselves, were held accountable at Nuremberg.

Phantom Weapons of Mass Destruction

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 
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