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More competence needed

Simeon ThomasSummit Cove

On Jan. 20, 2006, I submitted the following to the editor of the Summit Daily.”While it is clear that before the Iraq war much of the intelligence suggested the possible existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the quality and definitiveness of that intelligence has likely always been questionable to those … privy to the most comprehensive view. Apparently, in this country, other than within our intelligence community, that comprehensive view was not available outside top levels of the administration.”The white paper on Iraq prepared well beforehand by the think tank Project for the New American Century, Bob Woodward’s account in Plan of Attack, and works like Imperial Hubris by then Anonymous (CIA analyst, Michael Scheuer) all suggest that the intelligence was likely manipulated to justify war. At the very least, these works seem to indicate a case of wholly unimpaired group-think.”Recent characterizations of the Bush administration by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson only appear to bolster the plausibility of such conclusions. Colonel Wilkerson, former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, was the top aid to Powell in preparing the former secretary’s presentation of the intelligence at the U.N.”Bob Woodward’s subsequent work, “State of Denial” and James Risen’s “State of War” serve only to reinforce the above conclusion.While an indefatigable and obviously successful political campaigner, our president seems intellectually lazy, poorly educated and inexperienced in foreign policy. He appears to have been easily influenced by those who share his ideological inclinations and who advocated war with Iraq well before the 2000 presidential election. At the same time, he appears to have avoided, or to have been insulated from, Iraq war skeptics or opponents within the intelligence and foreign policy communities.The majority of Americans have recognized this president’s ineptitude. Unfortunately, they have done so too late to have withstood his strength. Having listened to the “Public Relations Manager in Chief,” we find ourselves in what was always a foreseeably intractable war which is draining our blood and treasure.In the future, may we be so fortunate as to select leaders capable of considered judgment and competent governance.


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