Extreme Right meet the Extreme Left. Now you both can agree. Whatever happens, it must be the fault of the CIA. Sleeper cell members, Al-Qaeda operatives, terrorists, foreign agents you can all rest easy. We've finally found the enemy and it ain't you. Nope. It's our own subversive intelligence services. If we don't have the Mullahs to kick around anymore, what better substitute than the boys over at Langley?
As I mentioned just yesterday, the neocon pushback on the NIE Iran report continues to be relentless. Now it has gelled into a visible, pointed strategy. It's all about the "CIA's war on Bush" as the geniuses over at Powerlines have put it.On the same blog, long-time Kissinger Krony and current employee at the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Falcoff, argues the same line, explaining to us dunderheads that the CIA is divided into two clear factions. The action/operative types are just like the cool straight-shooters in the movies. And then, oh heavens, are all those pointy-headed analyst guys who...well... you just can't trust. Says Falcoff: "The estimates guys are mostly academic types who couldn't find a job teaching at a university when they got their Ph.D. Politically and culturally they are absolutely indistinguishable from the career people at the State Department. You can imagine what that means in the present context of Bush-hatred."
Oooooo, how scary indeed! If the CIA guys are so twisted, incompetent and duplicitous, what must the resident "scholars" at the lower-rung AEI think-tank be like? Mark?
And the beat goes on. The Wall Street Journal editorialized, going way over the edge, by fingering the alleged three authors of the NIE report as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials." Why, natch. How come the rest of us didn't figure this out? Sixteen separate U.S. intelligence agencies, working for more than a year to figure out what's really going on Iran, colluded to put their names behind what is, in reality, a Democratic election-year ploy to discredit the administration they all serve! How obvious.
Having finally exhausted the re-runs of the 2007 World Series of Poker, I flicked on Charlie Rose late last night who was chatting away with Fred Thompson. And there was Uncle Fred nimbly tapping out the same dance as the Powerline guys. I'll admit that Thompson pushed me too close to a state of narcolepsy to have actually taken notes, but I was awake enough to notice how dutifully he was trashing the CIA. If they so botched up Iraq, Thompson drawled, how on earth could we believe what they have to say about Iran?
Which doesn't answer, of course, the question of why Thompson is currently supporting a war based on the same intelligence he now dismisses. But then again none of this is about providing answers -- only excuses. Excuses to continue a tilt toward war in Iran, no matter the reality.
Journalist and author Marc Cooper is a Special Correspondent for The Huffington Post and a contributing editor to The Nation magazine. He is also a member of the faculty at the USC Annenberg School for communication and Associate Director of its Institute for Justice and Journalism.
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