FUBAR

CIA report faults Tenet for 9/11 weaknesses

Mistakes and missed opportunities by the Central Intelligence Agency failed to follow up on the growing threat of al Qaeda and left America open to attack on September 11, 2001, an investigation within the CIA concludes.

The damning report condemns former CIA director George Tenet for abandoning his own declared war on the terrorist organization and diverting agency resources away from the effort to prevent an attack on American soil.

The report lays much of the blame for American vulnerability to the attacks directly on Tenet.

Iraq spirals out of control

A retired American general is admitting what President George W. Bush will not.

Southern Iraq is out of control and getting worse and there appears little the military can do about it.

As the war escalates and the White House continues to claim otherwise, the death toll mounts and the situation becomes more and more hopeless.

Yet Bush stubbornly sticks to his failed Iraq strategy and shows no sign of bending to the will of the American people or the face of reality.

The loss of freedom of speech

Professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard University are two very senior scholars who are currently taking very intense heat.

Next month, their book “The Israel Lobby” will be published. They argue that the United States is too closely allied with and too accommodating of Israel. Predictably, their viewpoint has generated very hostile criticism. Several organizations that had scheduled appearances by the authors have canceled under pressure, including at least one East Coast academic institution. That is regrettable.

Hedge-fund con artists

The recent market meltdown had much less to do with bad subprime loans than advertised. It was caused more fundamentally by excesses at hedge and private equity funds. Those contraptions, invented by the sinfully wealthy barons of Wall Street, have lied to themselves and their investors about the efficacy of their schemes. Now they are quiet in their sins as bad home loans take the rap for a global meltdown that the U.S. housing market is not large enough to cause.

America’s most watched

You’re being watched. Not only by Uncle Sam but also by your employer, by the kid working behind the counter at the local gas station, by the automatic teller machine at your bank and by your computer.

We are a society under surveillance, constantly monitored, scrutinized 24/7, analyzed for patterns and suspected without reason.

And, for the most part, the vast majority of us don’t mind.

That may be more frightening than anything else.

This time FEMA claims it’s ready

The statistics are most impressive: 10 million liters of water and 4 million MREs stockpiled in Texas; 1,300 buses, 130 airplanes and “hundreds” of helicopters ready to go; 10,000 Texas National Guards on standby by mid-week; and contracts already drawn up for relocation housing.

Did anyone really win in the Padilla case?

With characteristic overstatement, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales proclaimed the verdict in the case of Jose Padilla “a significant victory” in combating terrorism.

It was a victory in the sense that the jury quickly found Padilla and two others guilty but “significant” would be stretching matters.

Tough times for man’s best friend

If you have any doubts about the despicable nature of the allegations against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, you can dispel them by Googling a term like “dogfighting” and perusing the pictures and stories that pop up; any reasonably civilized human being will be disgusted.

Lone officer goes on trial for Abu Ghraib

Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, the only military officer charged in the prisoner abuse scandal at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib jail, goes before a court martial Monday in Fort Meade, Maryland.

More than three years after snapshots of Iraqi prisoners humiliated by their prison guards shocked the world, only a handful of US soldiers have been convicted, but none of their military or civilian superiors.

A tainted victory for Bush

The guilty verdict against Jose Padilla showed the Bush administration could win a high-profile terrorism conviction despite questions over whether it acted legally in detaining the U.S. citizen for 3-1/2 years without charges.

But critics and law experts called Thursday’s verdict a messy win for the government, in which it was able to avoid answering for its long detention and interrogation of Padilla without the legal rights normally granted U.S. citizens, and, his lawyers said, for torturing him.