Monday, May 30, 2005

A Job Well Done

The latest chapter in lack of accountability, courtesy of the WP:
Two Army analysts whose work has been cited as part of a key intelligence failure on Iraq -- the claim that aluminum tubes sought by the Baghdad government were most likely meant for a nuclear weapons program rather than for rockets -- have received job performance awards in each of the past three years, officials said.

The civilian analysts, former military men considered experts on foreign and U.S. weaponry, work at the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), one of three U.S. agencies singled out for particular criticism by President Bush's commission that investigated U.S. intelligence.

The Army analysts concluded that it was highly unlikely that the tubes were for use in Iraq's rocket arsenal, a finding that bolstered a CIA contention that they were destined for nuclear centrifuges, which was in turn cited by the Bush administration as proof that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting Iraq's nuclear weapons program.

The awards were given as part of a government-wide incentive program to recognize high-performing employees with cash or time off. An internal NGIC newsletter listed Norris and Campos as among those who received performance awards, lump-sum cash payments, in fiscal 2002, 2003 and 2004.
So the two individuals responsible in large part for one of the worst intelligence failures in the nation's history--a failure that has resulted in the deaths of almost two thousand U.S. troops and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians--have been rewarded three years running. For some absurd reason, I thought they would have been fired or at least demoted by now. While they're getting bonuses and letters of praise, our troops continue to die in the wake of their mistakes.

Brings to mind this similar Orwellian sham, doesn't it?

I've worked for organizations in which failure was rewarded. For a business, it is debilitating and destructive, and it usually occurs because someone plays golf with the boss better than he performs on the job. When it happens in organizations like the CIA and the Army, it's also because someone is "playing ball" well, albeit for far higher stakes. For a nation, it is no less destructive than for a business.

Because of the systematic rewarding of the individuals who were responsible for botching Iraq both pre and post-invasion, we know that competence--at least as that word is normally defined--is not a priority for this bunch. Kind of makes you wonder what those medals and lump-sum cash payments are for, doesn't it?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do find it disgusting that on the one hand, the President is rewarding failure, and on the other hand, penalizing those that raise questions or disagree with him/Karl Rove. But of course, this is what this President knows, right? His history has many failures, but I guess he played the biz/political game well too, and he got the rewards. We didn't get a smart man for President, we just got a con man that demands yes men on his team. I would have thought we Republicans could have done a whole lot better. This President sends outs so many mixed messages that he has to look in a mirror to confirm what he saying verses what he is doing.

5/30/2005 6:29 PM  
Anonymous houstonpete said...

I agree with the poster and with TCR as well.

5/30/2005 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps its just a reflection of the quality of analysts being employed. Given the quality of post mission planning (an activity based on pre-war intelligence I assume) the cynic in me thinks that perhaps these two really are among the best out there.

5/30/2005 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see new posts here...

I think TCR has it exactly right. The President [sic] was looking for an excuse to declare war, they gave him one, therefore they did a good job, therefore they're commended. End of story.

Their valiant service to their country continues to this day -- by giving the President [sic] somebody else to blame for the debacle. Exemplary performance, so they deserve to be rewarded.

5/31/2005 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is typical of this administration - rewarding incompetence and failure - so there is no surprise to be felt.

5/31/2005 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work for the DoD, I'm a civilian. Most employees get those awards, it's not a big deal. Basically if you show up and do your job you get the award, unless you have a really strict supervisor or something. They are usually pretty small, especially after taxes. I'm sure Bush had nothing to do with rewarding these two guys, it was whoever does their performance reviews.

5/31/2005 12:50 PM  
Anonymous KevinNYC said...

Well it is interesting that they are getting rewards, while General Riggs was demoted, and retired in a basement ceremony after 39 years in the Army and a Distinguished Flying Cross. He loses up to $15,000 in annual pension because he said we don't have enough troops in Iraq. You cross Rumsfeld, you pay heavy.

As to whether or not, we have enough troops, I just read an article that quoted a junior officer saying they don't have enough troops to hold the territory we capture when we have an an offensive against the insurgents. To protect the crucial around near Syria where we think the money, men and arms are flowing into Iraq, we have 400 troops to control 10,000 square miles.

Also remember when the NY Times did penance for pimping the aluminum tubes story with a 10,000 word follow-up story. When they talked to actual nuclear experts, the ones the CIA and DOD chose to ignore, they found the length and width of the tubes were wrong. The Iragis would have to make the tubes thicker, shorter and the special anodized coating that the Iraqis requested would have to be comletely milled off in order to work in a centrifuge. A centrifuge design that the Iraqis have never used. So, in essence their clever plan was to start their nuclear program over, completely from scratch using components they would have to completely change in every way. The US Energy Department discovered in JUNE 2001 that the tubes exactly matched Italian rocket designs. So the Iraqis were telling the truth about the Tubes.
The International Atomic Energy Agency agreed. Part of the reason the believed the Iraqis is the US claims made no sense. The other reason is UN inspectors had discovered over 13, 000 artillery rockets based on these tubes.

Combine this with the Downing Memo about knowing Iraq didn't have WMD and fixing the evidence to fit the charge. In JUNE 2001, the only piece of physical evidence we had about Iraq's weapon program, we knew was not for nuclear weapons. This is why the uranium forgeries became so important to use, even though the IAEA discredited those with 24 hours of seeing them.

Does anyone see us getting out of Iraq anytime soon?

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