Lost in the news of Condoleeza Rice replacing Colin Powell is Condi's replacement, Stephen Hadley. This man bears a significant level of responsibility for the two main foreign-policy failures of the Bush Administration: blocking Richard Clarke's efforts to elevate terrorism as a priority in the 9-month period prior to 9/11, and leading a drumbeat to war in Iraq with the disinformation about WMDs.
Clarke makes clear in his book Against All Enemies that Hadley (as well as Rice) were major impediments in his unsuccessful effort to get the Bush Administration to take terrorism as seriously as the Clinton Adminstration had. One example of Hadley's effects (not from Clarke's book):
"In its report, the [9/11 Commission] confirmed that Mr Clarke specifically advised giving secret aid to the main rebel group in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance, to help it unseat the Taliban. The commission said the advice was rejected by Ms Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, who opted for a broader review of the threat."
On Iraq, Hadley emphasized WMDs and especially the "nuclear weapons program" as reasons requiring an invasion. Here he is on March 10, 2003 referring to the alleged attempts to buy uranium and centrifuges that the Bushies knew were either false or highly dubious:
"All of these facts point to a sustained, wide-ranging effort to develop nuclear weapons, which threatens the international community. This regime has cheated inspectors before; it has cheated sanctions for years. It has proven that its nuclear ambitions cannot be contained."
He was forced to apologize later:
"Stephen Hadley, President Bush's deputy national security adviser, on Tuesday became the second administration official to apologize for allowing a tainted intelligence report on Iraq's nuclear ambitions into Bush's State of the Union address. Hadley, in a rare on-the-record session with reporters, said that he had received two memos from the CIA and a phone call from agency Director George Tenet last October raising objections to an allegation that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium ore from Africa to use in building nuclear weapons....Hadley suggested that details from the memos and phone call had slipped from his attention as the State of the Union was being put together."
From that March 10 speech, it apparently slipped his mind on a regular basis. I'm looking for the additional apology, Stephen.
He didn't suddenly become intelligent after the invasion. He gave yet another speech, claiming that minor and stale contacts between Iraq and Al-Qaeda prove a relationship existed, when the contacts were much more extensive between Al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia.
So this man will be giving our genius president his own genius advice.
My real question: how incompetent do you have to be to avoid receiving a promotion in the Bush Administration? Is loyalty really the only thing that counts? Why is social promotion bad for third-graders but good for the people who hold our lives in their hands?