Friday, February 9, 2007

Brooks ... Now over the Edge, Too!

I was a bit floored by David Brooks' response on the Lehrer NewsHour to the Pentagon Inspector General who testified today before the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Carl Levin.

In that testimony, reported in the WaPo:
The inspector general described Feith's activities as "an alternative intelligence assessment process. [...] inappropriately performing Intelligence Activities . . . that should be performed by the Intelligence Community." ... [T[he inspector general concluded that Feith's assessment in 2002 that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a "mature symbiotic relationship" was not fully supported by available intelligence but was nonetheless used by policymakers

Disagreements exist in the Intel Community.
At the time of Feith's reporting, the CIA had concluded only that there was an "evolving" association, "based on sources of varying reliability."

There are vetting processes to deal differences. Regardless, when there are differences, both sides should be presented.
[Feith's] briefing presented to senior Bush officials, it said, contained different information than a presentation to the CIA. Left out of the version for the CIA, the inspector general said, was "a slide that said there were 'fundamental problems' " with the way the intelligence community was presenting the evidence.

"The bottom line is that intelligence relating to the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship was manipulated by high-ranking officials in the Department of Defense to support the administration's decision to invade Iraq," Levin said yesterday. "The inspector general's report is a devastating condemnation of inappropriate activities in the DOD policy office that helped take this nation to war."

If I can construct the Shields and Brooks analysis from memory and brief notes, Brooks firstly dismissively characterized the investigation as a “partisan game show”. Then turning to the content revealed in the investigation, said 'Why this is important now, is beyond me ... The urgent issue is the war now, not what happened 5 years ago and 2 years after Feith has left the position ... This is something that should be left to historian.'

Generally I find Brooks biased but bright and acute in his analysis, and of sufficient integrity that he seems to believe what he says. However in this case, not only is his intellectual honesty is in question, so is his integrity, since if he is not lying directly, he is at least lying to himself ... History, his prescribed 'decider', supports this contention.

Regarding his 'it's ancient history' argument, if you remember, when this report was stalled in the hands of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2005, Brooks was NOT arguing for its timeliness, then. So if the investigation wasn't appropriate when the 'mission was accomplished', with only a few dead-enders, while they were turning all them corners, when would it have been for Brooks?

Ironically, Brooks then turned to 'history' as support, to argue the irrelevance of the fabricated Saddam-9/11 connection. Brooks claims the 'real' reason the USA went to war was WMD, 'forgetting' the urgent nuclear threat was the fabricated Niger yellow cake story, 'forgetting' the tubes could NOT have been used in a nuclear reactor, 'forgetting' that intel knew that but fabricated their threat, 'forgetting' that when the UN inspectors requested the location of the WMD identified by USA intel, no such intel was provided by Bush, who by the way, claimed to use military force only as a last resort, 'forgetting' that while claiming Saddam was refusing to cooperating with UN inspectors, Bush had to order them out of the country, where they were inspection Saddam's arsenal, so he could bomb Iraq. History, Mr Brooks!

Brooks' depiction floors me. The fabricated Saddam-9/11 connection and the premise for war, is so irrelevant, it should be left to the historians, NOT the criminal justice system. Apparently for Brooks, thousands of Americans killed, ten of thousands maimed and wounded, billions of dollars missing in a corporate orgy, no-paper-trail Neoconservative world, Iraqis killed in the tens and possibly hundreds of thousands, hundred of thousands more displaced, Iraq's infrastructure destroyed, a civil war that threatens to destabilize the entire Middle East, etc., we are know the history, are issues we should address but not understand.

Atypical of Brooks, who can handle complexity, but typical of Neoconservative simplistic, black and white, either/or thinking, the consequence of the fabricated premises for the Iraq War are so calamitous, we MUST ignore them ... until after the war, when they should be relegated to historians.

On the one hand, like the Administration, Brooks feels the 'War of Terror' is now so urgent, manifest democracy in the USA should 'stand down' and we should ignore war crimes. On the other hand, ironically, even though Cheney says they will override the election results, ignore those who have been elected to change the direction of the war, Democrats should apply themselves to work with the (R)epublicans, to 'find a solution', a process and its results Cheney has already are irrelevant, since they will ignore it.

Bias is insufficient to explain Brooks' stance on ignoring war crimes, as is his argument that the magnitude of the crisis created by the criminals, is so great, allowing the criminals free reign is the best course forward. The depth of the crisis so deep, we can not bring any accountibility to bear, except though the perversion of partisanship. Intellectual dishonesty, or denial, are more sufficient explanations. Minimally Brooks is lying to himself. With this loss of integrity, I don't think I can ever look at Brooks the same way again.