How George Tenet should have resigned

Americans make fun of Japanese for the way their politicians and corporate executives resign to “take responsibility” at the slightest provocation, with all the grim faces and bowing at the inevitable press conference.

Then we have George Tenet, US Director of Central Intelligence, who resigned on Thursday; he and George Bush spent the entire day emphasizing that it wasn’t about taking responsibility.

Tenet is resigning for personal reasons; he wants to spend more time with his family, especially his high-school son (but did anyone ask the son if he wants to spend more time with his father?).

I don’t get this. Who is the President trying to protect with this charade? Didn’t George see the huge potential positive impact of just coming out and saying, “The CIA didn’t do its job. People need to be accountable. George Tenet was a fine public servant, and made great contributions to the CIA, but he led an agency which failed the nation at a critical time. We sat down and agreed it was time for a new start.”

That would have made the President appear decisive (not to mention honest), and Tenet responsible (and honorable).

These guys are so stupid they can’t even realize when taking responsibility would come out positive in the Rovian political calculus. They remain resolute in their refusal to ever take or assign blame about anything.

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