Nora Ephron is right that we set our expectations too high if we expect government officials to resign as a matter of principle:
The notion that George Tenet — or Colin Powell, to take another example of a person we keep asking this question about — would have resigned just because he knew that the administration was lying about weapons of mass destruction, is truly laughable. …
We have such affection for the idea that people will quit on a matter of principle that it’s almost sweet. We believe that they quit for moral reasons, that they quit because they want to take a stand against impropriety, that they quit, willingly quit, because they know right from wrong. Once again, let me say this: no one quits.
This administration doesn’t even fire people until the last ounce of incompetence is wrung out of them.*
Unfortunately she becomes an apologist for the bush war when she says:
And in fairness to Tenet and Powell, what’s clear now wasn’t so clear back in the day. That image of the two of them at the United Nations is today such an indelible marker on the road to war. But they couldn’t have known at that time that the war would be such an unmitigated disaster; they surely couldn’t have known that there wouldn’t even be a July 4th sparkler found in all of Iraq;
Sure, the full scope of the bush administration’s incompetence was not yet obvious but, yes, they should have known the sparkler bit. That was tenet’s job….
More importantly even if they had found sparklers that would not have provided a moral excuse for the invasion, for the wasted Iraqi and American lives.
*Given how many of the incompetents are left this is a truly depressing thought.