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Friday, October 5, 2012

Bush's 'Panic' After 9/11

Longtime military and defense reporter Tom Ricks reviews the new Kurt Eichenwald book 500 Days in this Sunday's NYT.   I was just wondering what happened after the two-day uproar over Eichenwald's op-ed revealing new evidence of the Bush administration blowing a chance prevent the terror attacks.  Now Ricks hails the book.  "He brings home the fundamental rashness and recklessness of the American response to the Sept. 11 attack. Had our leaders abided by our Constitution, not only would they have better supported our values, they would have been more effective in responding to terrorism. That is the sad lesson of this book."  More:
With each piece of evidence, it becomes clearer that in late 2001 and in 2002, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had begun panicking. Mistaking rumors and lies fabricated by victims of torture as actionable information and elbowing aside skeptics, they gave rein to their fears that the worst was yet to come — and their hysteria spread to and infected parts of the national security ­establishment...
A more deadly consequence of this heedlessness was the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the false belief that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons.
The sheer incompetence of the interrogators of supposed terrorists comes as a genuine surprise. The C.I.A. seemed to know little about how to actually question people, and began taking advice from an uninformed, inexperienced psychologist whom Eichenwald labels “a fool.”

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