George Tenet’s biggest Iraq “mistake” was arguably not that he stayed around too long but that he didn’t stay around long enough.
I know, I know. Tenet is being roundly criticized for, among other things, his failure to resign in protest when he saw “ideology” driving the US invasion of Iraq.
If, however, you are the kind of anti-war critic who agrees with General Anthony Zinni when he tells CNN that the Neocons “didn’t think through what the aftermath would bring. They made some bad decisions on the move. Again, we all know that disbanding the army, debaathification… brought about all the problems we see now…”
If you are the kind of anti-war critic who agrees with “Leftists” like Robert Dreyfuss that the US should have stuck with the Baathists…
If you are the kind of anti-war critic who agrees with Council on Foreign Relations figures like Ray Takeyh who have a very clear idea of a “Plan B”: “Benign Autocracy is the Answer for Iraq“…
If you are that kind of anti-war critic, then Tenet didn’t stay around long enough.
Tenet’s job was to install a “benign autocracy” under the appointed leadership of long-time CIA favorite, ex-Baathist Iyad Allawi.
The problem, however, is that after the November 2004 election, the Bush administration went ahead with a year of elections–over the objections of figures outside the administration, like Brent Scowcroft–that handed power to Iraqi Shiites and left Allawi in the dust.
Tenet wasn’t there to preserve Allawi’s “Saddamism without Saddam.”
If you are that kind of anti-war critic, then Tenet quit too soon.