Thursday, February 08, 2007

The "Surge"

I haven't seen many journalists linking this verb "surge" to its ironic appearance in the CIA's literature, namely in Lindsay Moran's little book Blowing My Cover (ISBN 0-399-15239-3). I include this quote in my book review (January, 2005):

Ironically, in early 2003, not long after my return from Macedonia, I was "surged" to the Near East (NE) Division in order to help gear up for the invasion of Iraq. During my short tenure in Iraqi Operations, I met one woman who had covered Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program for more than a decade. She admitted to me, unequivocally, that the CIA had no definitive evidence whatsoever that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed WMD, or that Iraq presented anything close to an imminent threat to the United States.

Another CIA analyst, whose opinion I'd solicited about the connection between Al Qa'ida and Iraq, looked at me almost shamefacedly, shrugged, and said "They both have the letter q?" And a colleague who worked in the office covering Iraqi counterproliferation reported to me that her mealy-mouthed pen pusher of a boss had gathered together his minions and announced, "Let's face it. The president wants us to go to war, and our job is to give him a reason to do it."

Like former CIAer Robert Baer of Syriania fame (haven't seen it yet), Lindsay registers little beyond disrespect for the neocon ideology that resulted in America's biggest blunder. Baer: "I think the neocons have done more damage to the United States’ reputation and foreign policy than anybody since—I don’t know when. They’ve opened Pandora’s box in Iraq." (MotherJones, July 5, 2006).

The sad part was how these wackos, many of them "government insiders" (i.e. nut jobs in many cases), managed to infect the mass media pundits, by riding the post-911 wave of panic and hysteria.

Journalists are easy prey for cynical spin doctors in times of national distress. Let's remember that lesson and not repeat these same mistakes.

I applaud the CIA's decision to move some of its most important (mostly training) facilities far beyond the beltway, in part just to get away from all the corruption and crummy intelligence that goes with living around Washington, DC. Presidents have long sought similar getaway havens, even if only 60 miles away at Camp David. DC just gets too oppressive at times.

Followup (related news stories):
Pre-War Intelligence Acts 'Inappropriate,' U.S. Finds, Feb. 9 (Bloomberg).
Pentagon Watchdog Slams Prewar Intel, Feb. 9 (CBS News).