a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

"All right. You’ve covered your ass, now."

Posted by Thomas Nephew on June 20th, 2006

More from Barton Gellman’s review of the new Ron Suskind book, “The One Percent Doctrine“:

The book’s opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush’s Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president’s attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.” Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”

Now beat it. But wait — there’s more!

Three months later, with bin Laden holed up in the Afghan mountain redoubt of Tora Bora, the CIA official managing the Afghanistan campaign, Henry A. Crumpton (now the State Department’s counterterrorism chief), brought a detailed map to Bush and Cheney. White House accounts have long insisted that Bush had every reason to believe that Pakistan’s army and pro-U.S. Afghan militias had bin Laden cornered and that there was no reason to commit large numbers of U.S. troops to get him. But Crumpton’s message in the Oval Office, as told through Suskind, was blunt: The surrogate forces were “definitely not” up to the job, and “we’re going to lose our prey if we’re not careful.”

“All right, Crumpton. You’ve covered your ass, now.” Now beat it.

I’d prefer to think this is just run of the mill (for Bush/Cheney) extreme fecklessness and incompetence, rather than yet more high crimes and misdemeanors by our ruling duumvirate. But it seems important — for their sake! — to try to rule out darker explanations for why Bush didn’t care much about an imminent attack, and didn’t heed warnings the attacker would elude capture.*

Come November, there should be some investigations. Make them happen. Call your Democratic Congressman, or your Democratic challenger and let them know you want these matters — the August 6 memo, the Downing Street memo, NSA warrantless surveillance, Tora Bora, torture, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Katrina, and more — investigated, with a view to impeachment if warranted.

* Reminds me of the recent Atlantic Monthly article about al-Zarqawi by Mary Ann Weaver:

During my time in Jordan, I asked a number of officials what they considered to be the most curious aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and al-Zarqawi, other than the fact that the Bush administration had inflated him.

One of them said, “The six times you could have killed Zarqawi, and you didn’t.”

4 Responses to “"All right. You’ve covered your ass, now."”

  1. eRobin Says:

    yeah, November. I guess it’s our only hope. Right now with the hideous element in charge we can’t even get an investigation of corporate corruption in Iraq. From the pro-war WaPo:
    Earlier today, Republicans defeated a Democratic proposal for an investigation into waste and fraud in military contracts. The proposal, made by Senator Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, called for a panel like the one led by Harry Truman when he was a Senator, which uncovered many abuses in military spending during World War II. It failed by a 52-to-44 vote.

  2. Gary Farber Says:

    And as someone who has been calling for a Truman Committee, in many posts, since 2002, I’d like to emphasize that, of course, Truman was a Democrat investigating a Democratic Administration. (And the success of the committee at finding fraud and corruption was also how he became prominent enough to be made the new Veep candidate in ’44.)

  3. Thomas Nephew Says:

    (And the success of the committee at finding fraud and corruption was also how he became prominent enough to be made the new Veep candidate in ’44.)
    That illustrates differences in attitudes of the parties, the presidents, and/or the times towards uncovering corruption among “one’s own”, I guess.

  4. » Blog Archive » Gerson’s holiday from Cambodia Says:

    […] * By the way: impeachable offense number 693. Recall Bush was explicitly warned by the CIA days in advance that forces committed at Tora Bora were “not up to the job” […]

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