February 10, 2004
his interview with Tim Russert on NBCs Meet the
Press, President Bush tried doggedly to justify the Iraq war even
though it was predicated on what he now acknowledges as faulty
intelligence. But the war wasnt waged because of
intelligence; it was waged as a matter of policy, decided before the
Central Intelligence Agency had even been consulted.
In his own self-exculpating
speech, CIA director George Tenet did a tightrope act, blaming neither the
agency nor the Bush administration for the huge snafu. Like Bush, he
avoided mentioning the big scare: the repeated heavy suggestions that
Saddam Hussein was plotting nuclear war against the United States.
nuclear weapons and the smoking gun that might take the
form of a mushroom cloud? Just the stuff to make a jumpy country
go berserk. But that was the point: as usual, the warmongers were adroit
The inquiry into pre-war
intelligence shouldnt focus exclusively on the CIA. The Bush
administration also relied on other sources: what were called
intelligence exchanges with our allies, chiefly Britain and
Israel. Did the Mossad-neoconservative crowd feed Bush disinformation?
Dont expect the panel Bush has appointed to go into this one, even
though Mossads motto is By way of deception you shall
Bush may also have been guided
by other intelligence: the Book of Revelation and other
prophetic Biblical books, which many evangelical Protestants believe
predict current events in the Middle East, notably the great battle of
Armageddon. This angle too may be off-limits to the inquiry, though we
deserve to know if the war had roots in Bushs theology. A bizarre
misapplication of Scripture would certainly be a new departure in faulty
intelligence. Easier to blame the CIA than Holy Writ.
Meanwhile, Paul Wolfowitz,
Bushs top neocon advisor, has big plans for Iraq. He has announced
that equal rights for women will be a top priority for the new democracy.
theres a winning issue. If you think the supreme
court of Massachusetts is riling up conservatives in this country, wait
until you see how Muslims react to having Americans revise their
traditional sex roles.
Wolfowitz vividly illustrates the
difference between a conservative and a neoconservative. No conservative
would dream of imposing such a radical cultural change on a volatile
country. But for neoconservatives, its second nature to goad
Muslims to fury.
Feminism, alias equal
rights for women, is the sort of political fad Americans are used
to. Its aim is to disrupt traditional sex roles, no matter what social
damage ensues. Exporting it to the Muslim world may prove as ill-advised
as the Iraq war itself.
Feminists arent widely
credited with humor, but you have to admire the one who titled her book
Getting in Touch with Your Inner Bitch. Well, picture putting
millions of Muslim women in touch with their inner bitches. Is this going
to endear us to people who already hate us? If Bush thinks so, his
intelligence may be even faultier than we thought in more ways
The predictable result
you dont need Biblical prophecies to tell you this will be an
upsurge in armed resistance, terrorism if you will, by
Muslim men. Will American troops remain in Iraq to make sure sexual
equality becomes a lasting reality? If so, the U.S. occupation will be far
longer than anyone has contemplated.
What we Americans lightly call
sex roles are the very fabric of a society, prior to any
political constitution. You tamper with them at your risk, because they are
inseparable from a societys future and even its survival. Muslims
dont regard Americas sexual experimentation as a model
for themselves; they dread what it might do to their next generation. They
can see what its done to ours.
Deposing Saddam Hussein, it
turns out, was only the beginning of an ambitious, destructive, and
dangerous American policy in Iraq; and democracy, it also turns out,
means a lot more than holding elections. We are embarked on what
communists used to call building a new society, which has
always meant, in practice, leaving an old society in ruins.
So this is what the war
on terrorism has come to. The Bush administrations real
problem isnt bad information; its colossal imprudence. Its
historical epitaph may be a pun: faulty intelligence.