Morning Report 12/15/04
Full Medal Jackoffs

Kudos to Bremer and Tenet. Mission accomplished.

Proving that it's easier to reconstruct history than it is to reconstruct the world, George W. Bush hung the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the necks of George Tenet, Jerry Bremer, and General Tommy Franks. The rest of us had a difficult time holding our heads up high during the Tuesday ceremony because of the Iraq Debacle albatross around our necks.

The ceremony, in the East Room of the White House, was so moving that Bremer had tears in his eyes, the Washington Post's Ann Gerhart noted. But it was from delight, not remorse (see photo)

Tenet and Bremer join a long list of Medal of Freedom winners, including Doris Day and Henry Kissinger.

The facts demand that someone actually wring the necks of both Tenet and Bremer. As the Post's Gerhart noted:

    Paul Rieckhoff, a former Army lieutenant who served in Iraq and now runs an organization of veterans against the war, said the awards are "a slap in the face to the troops" from "an administration that loves the big PR move. . . . It validates how out of touch Washington is with the reality of what is on the ground in Iraq."

    And Brookings Institution fellow Michael O'Hanlon, who monitors Iraq, suggested that if the president wanted to honor service in Iraq, he could have selected other people to honor. "I wouldn't expect him to show any wavering" over the decision to go to war, O'Hanlon said of the president, "but I'm troubled by the use of this award in a different way. He could have called attention to the bravery in Iraq, without having to make it about the most controversial figures in the whole operation."

When it comes to Iraq, Bremer's reign as pasha was simply disastrous, as I noted on September 29 in quoting this passage from Rajiv Chandrasekaran's "Mistakes Loom Large as Handover Nears," a June 20 story in the Post:

    "We blatantly failed to get it right," said Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution who served as an adviser to the occupation authority. "When you look at the record, it's impossible to escape the conclusion that we squandered an unprecedented opportunity."

Need more reminders? I noted on September 24 that Bremer's reign of error was truly absurd:

As for the ex-CIA chief, Tenet already donned "the full armor of God" for Bush, as I wrote on October 28. So it's only fitting that he get a nice ribbon and medal to go with it.


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