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Marc Kusnetz Headshot

Mr. T

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Watching George Tenet on 60 Minutes last night and then this morning on Today, I was reminded just how grotesque the technique of strategic contrition really is. Incongruously but aptly, I think, I remembered the day President Clinton landed at Kigali Airport, where he stepped to a microphone, bit his lower lip (such a touch!! such a touch!!) and apologized for the genocide. And then he got right back on the plane, without even visiting any of the genocide sites.

A parallel dynamic was in play with Tenet last night and this morning: the "owning up" amidst the self-cleansing. The "we got it wrong" amidst the "hey, we were honest folks doing the best we could do." The "in retrospect, I could have done better" amidst the "but look at these OTHER guys....if I'm bad, think about THEM!"

The awful thing is, not only is Tenet factually correct in pointing out the unspeakable treachery of Bush/Cheney/Rumseld/Rice et al, he also knows that WE know all about that -- and he's counting on that calculus to carry him through. He really is beneath contempt. And to think there are others beneath him..... God, I could puke.

When it comes to the center not holding, Yeats had it right: "The best lack all conviction; while the worst are full of passionate intensity." (And yes, of course I realize that I'm all passionate intensity in writing these words.)