In an elegant "Talk of the Town" piece on the subject of George Tenet's new book in the current issue of The New Yorker, George Packer levels a strong indictment against the Bush Administration for coming "close to perfecting the art of unaccountability."
Packer's comment, titled "No Shame, No Blame," is smart and on point. Yet, after reading it, I sat bolt upright in bed astonished that Packer could describe what he calls "styles of unaccountability" without including a critical (and self-critical) inventory of pro-war writers and pundits' role in the Iraq debacle. We know about the responsibility Bush officials bear for taking us into the most colossal foreign policy disaster in US history. But what about the wordsmiths who, like Thomas Friedman and Packer himself, came out in favor of this blood-soaked war. Remember Friedman's line -- "something in Mr. Bush's audacious shake of the dice appeals to me"? Or what about the New Yorker's own Jeffrey Goldberg who floated now discredited theories that Saddam was working closely with Al Qaeda?
For a scathing article about how these and other pro-war (but "now I've seen the light") pundits have escaped real accountability, check out Radar's "The Iraq Gamble: At the Pundits' Table, The Losing Bet Still Takes the Pot," by Jebediah Reed. It's a disturbing tale of journalistic "no blame, no shame". Eight pundits are profiled. Four of them, as "Radar" puts it, " were 'the most influentially and disturbingly misguided in their pro-war arguments" and played "a central role in our national decision-making process; The other four writer/pundits were the "most prescient and forceful in their opposition."