Saturday, November 25, 2006


The One Percent Doctrine

If you haven't gone out and bought a copy of Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine, I suggest you do so. The short version: Dick Cheney is the paranoid, spoiled rotten, architect of the destruction, not only of Iraq, but of the America that was given to us by our Founders, and he uses his money and power both as a substitute for brains and to insulate himself from the consequences of his own mistakes. The title of the book stems from Cheney's asinine "doctrine", the ultimate rejection of Occam's Razor, and used to justify everything from invading Iraq to torture in US-run prisons worldwide to the destruction of American civil liberties: "Even if there's a one percent chance of (fill in the blank with whatever improbable scarecrow you like), we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It's about our response." Mind you, the book's not perfect. Its one major failing is that the PNAC connections aren't brought up -- you won't find the words "Project for the New American Century" anywhere in the book, much less in connection with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, Chalabi, or any of the Iraq invasion's backers. And much of this book won't be news to those of us who've been paying attention -- real attention -- over the past few years. But there are still things to be learned from it. The first set of things to be learned starts from the fourth paragraph of the first page of the preface:

The alarming August 6, 2001 memo from the CIA to the President - "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" - has been widely noted in the past few years. But, also in August, CIA analysts flew to Crawford to personally brief the President - to intrude on his vacation with face-to-face alerts. The analytical arm of the CIA was in a kind of panic mode at this point. Other intelligence services, including those in the Arab world, were sounding an alarm. They didn't know place or time of an attack, but something was coming. The President needed to know.
Okay, so Bush not only got the August 6 PDB, he also got a visit from CIA analysts in Crawford, trying to tell him that the system was blinking red and something had to be done, NOW. What was Bush's reaction?
He looked hard at the panicked CIA briefer. "All right," he said. "You've covered your ass, now."
The whole book is filled with charming little anecdotes like that. I recommend only reading about twenty or so pages at a time, or else you'll want to start breaking things.

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