ALL ABOUT CHENEY….Over at Slate, Daniel Benjamin regales us with yet another tale about Douglas “fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth” Feith and his approach to marketing the Iraq war:
Larry Wilkerson recounted the story of a meeting in the White House situation room during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq when policymakers met with top intelligence officials from a number of agencies. After the intelligence officials made their presentations, Douglas Feith “leapt to his feet, pointed to a certain National Intelligence Officer and declared ‘You people don’t know what you’re talking about.’”
….After that outburst, Feith held up a piece of paper and read aloud an account of al-Qaida’s ties with Iraq in the early 1990s. Then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, a man well-known and well-liked in Washington for his gentlemanly manners, looked on, aghast at the scene. Wilkerson told me that after the end of the meeting, he got a copy of the paper and determined it was a newspaper clipping that had been retyped in the vice president’s office to be presented as “intelligence.”
As Benjamin points out, when you follow stuff like this back to its origin you invariably end up at the same place: Dick Cheney. Feith may have been the guy in charge of the Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, which produced much of the dodgy intelligence that made its way into public speeches from administration officials, but “Dick Cheney was CTEG’s patron.”
As a wise man said back in January 2003 regarding Cheney and his curiously enduring reputation for competence even in the face of mountains of contrary evidence, “his terrible judgment will, at some point, become impossible even for the Beltway crowd not to see.” Looking back, perhaps historians will say that November 2005 was when they finally saw it.