Tyler Drumheller, the recently retired CIA Chief for the European Division during the build up for the war in Iraq is out with a great new book, On the Brink. Tyler's account takes you inside the CIA during the month before 9-11 and through the start of the war in Iraq. He was in charge of all U.S. clandestine operations in Europe, including Turkey. But beyond a look back at what went wrong with Iraq from an intelligence perspective, Tyler offers a devastating critique of how the Bush Administration has engaged in an unprecedented politicization of the CIA. In corrupting the intelligence community the Bush Administration has put the nation at greater risk and hobbled an important government resource.
Tyler's book is unique because it offers the first insider's account about the events surrounding the build up to the war in Iraq, including the backstory on Curveball (the Iraqi fabricator) and the interactions with our British and Turkish allies.
On the Brink is not another bash Bush book. Drumheller makes it very clear that George W. Bush alone is not the cause of the fiasco unfolding along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. Within the CIA, Tyler points an unwavering finger at George Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin. They were warned by Tyler that Curveball, the source claiming firsthand knowledge of mobil biological weapons labs in Iraq, was a fraud. And they did nothing. When the full story of the debacle surrounding Iraq is finally told, Tenet and McLaughlin will deserve the scorn of their countrymen rather than medals of freedom. They failed to stand strong when it counted and enabled a flawed President to take our country to war in the wrong place at the wrong time.
* war of the words. pt4. it has a He Forgot Poland moment for our Poland fans.
* Krugman (thnx Jen):
"Last week’s report on G.D.P. showed the first signs of serious economic damage. According to the “advance” estimates (which are often subject to major revisions), growth in the third quarter of 2006 slowed to its worst level since early 2003. A plunge in spending on residential construction, which fell at an annual rate of 17 percent, was the main culprit. But was that just a temporary setback, or the beginning of something much worse?
But I think the pessimists have a stronger case. There’s a lot of evidence that home prices, although they’ve started to decline, are still way out of line. Spending on home construction remains abnormally high as a percentage of G.D.P., because banks are still lending freely in spite of rapidly rising foreclosure rates.
This means that home sales probably still have a long way to fall. And you don’t want to make too much of the fact that some housing indicators have turned up; those indicators tend to bounce around a lot from month to month."
* via Jen:
"Paul Krugman: As I understand it, al Qaeda is not at all popular in Iraq, even among the Sunni insurgents; there are even anti-al Qaeda death squads operating. Yes, Iraq is likely to end up as a collection of Islamic warlord principalities; but probably not run by people determined to make terrorist attacks on America. In Afghanistan, by contrast, we're talking about a comeback by the same people who originally gave bin Laden a base of operations."