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But the larger reason, I think, that Perle and his neocon colleagues are ascendant is that they pretend to certainty, and in doing so they fill a void. Iraq has been mostly a blank spot to U.S. policy makers, and few voices arise to contradict them. In his book, See No Evil, Bob Baer, the former CIA agent who worked with the Iraqi opposition to Saddam in the mid-1990s, wrote this:
“The CIA didn’t have a single source in Iraq…Not only were there no human sources in the country, the CIA didn’t have any in the neighboring countries — Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia — who reported on Iraq. Like the rest of the U.S. government, its intelligence-gathering apparatus was blind when it came to Iraq.”
Baer worked principally with the Iraqi National Congress, whose leader is Ahmad Chaladi, the one-time banker with a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago; he is also the Iraqi opposition leader most favored by the neocons and other conservatives, and while the CIA and the State Department are said to distrust him, the Pentagon holds him in high regard, and has relied on him for intelligence. He once wrote a paper that said “Iraq is on the verge of spontaneous combustion,” and that fit in nicely with neocon thinking. (And Baer, incidentally, is also the “Bob from the CIA” who told a House staffer in 1997 about Roger Tamraz, the oil pipeline promoter and Democratic party donor who was trying to get to Bill Clinton.)
Meanwhile the end of the war is now in sight, and, according to the White House, we will now remake Iraq into a beacon of democracy for all the rest of the Arab world. This is an absolutely mad idea, but any number of supposedly bright people now embrace it, and that is the kind of thing that happens when there is no informed discussion.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?