Brzezinski: 'Fanatics' led us to war

Former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, appeared this afternoon on CNN's "Late Edition". While Wolf Blitzer tried to guide the Iraq discussion in the direction of the White House "the intelligence folks screwed us" blame game, Brzezinski honed in on the true culprits behind the war.

BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, we know there was a huge intelligence blunder on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Everybody recognizes that now.

But now it's apparent, and Kanan Makiya now believes, and other Iraqis, that Saddam Hussein was plotting this insurgency all along, anticipating a U.S. assault. That would seem to be another intelligence blunder of huge import, and as a result a lot of Americans and others are dying.

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, it's not just an intelligence blunder. It's a question of the mindset. There was such fervor to go to war against Iraq. And it was propounded with such intensity and, I'm sorry to say, demagoguery by a bunch of fanatics that it was quite natural for them also to argue that it's going to be very easy, that we'd be welcomed as liberators, that the aftermath would be very simple.

I think we're dealing here with a problem which goes beyond intelligence. It's a fundamental misjudgment, and it's a consequence of a decision-making process in which skeptics, questioners, people who disagreed really didn't play much of a role.

Wolfie must've blown a flywheel when Brzezinski refused to stick with the pre-ordained "everybody knows it's the intelligence community's fault" line of questioning. More on the next page...

BLITZER: Well, you use a tough word, "fanatics." Who do you mean, when you say fanatics, talking about fanatics?

BRZEZINSKI: I'm not going to mention names, but people who, either for religious or strategic reasons, have a very one-sided view of Iraq and of the Middle East and what needs to be done in the area.

Hint number two, Wolfie. Fill in the blanks, oh bearded one. One of the fanatics has a name that starts with an "R" and rhymes with "Umsfeld". Another fanatic has a name that starts with YOUR first name and ends with "Owitz".

BLITZER: When you say "religious reasons" -- I'm pressing you, because these are strong words that you're throwing out, and you're a man of very precise language.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I think we all know that in American politics, particularly in recent times, there has been an intensified linkage between extreme religious views and politics. And there are a number of people who have very, very intense feelings about the Middle East. And I think that has colored our approach to Iraq and has colored our assessments of what would happen.

Brzezinski wants to name names, but is giving Wolf too much credit.

BLITZER: Well, maybe I'm missing something. Are you talking about fundamentalist Christians? Are you talking about Jews? Specifically, what are you trying...

No! You're missing the elephant in the room, Wolf. Brzezinski is trying to say--

BRZEZINSKI: I'm talking about all of them. I'm talking about all of them: people who approach this issue with a very strong religious fervor or a kind of strategic fanaticism, the kind of fanaticism that leads some people currently, for example, to argue that we should attack Iran, that we should bomb Iran.

He's talking about the Bushies engaging in a religious and financial crusade. If Wolf was half the reporter he says he is, he'd know there are around 25,000 missionaries from Richard Land's Southern Baptist ministry alone currently in Iraq. There's more evangelical missionaries who went into Iraq after the invasion than there are non-American members of the military "coalition of the willing".

BLITZER: And is this related to support for Israel is coloring their...

DAMMIT, Wolf! It's not just Israel. If at all. Bush has actually turned his back on Israel by supporting a Palestinian state. Israel was not a high priority for the Bushies when moving into Iraq.

BRZEZINSKI: In some cases, I'm sure it is. In some cases, it isn't. It's a mixture. You know, this is a very diversified country, and there's a variety of viewpoints.

But in recent times, and particularly after 9/11, there has been an intensification in intensely views, intensely views. And when that is translated into the decision-making process, in which you really don't vent alternatives very systematically, you are inclined to get into difficulties of the kind that we're now facing in Iraq.

Wolf totally missed the point in his ham-fisted "uh doy" attempt to discredit Brzezinski and paint him as blaming "support for Israel" as the reason for war and crux of the "fanaticism". It's partially ignorance, and partially that Wolf seems totally brainwashed in believing that the WMD debacle and the invasion was simply due to an intelligence mistake. He doesn't want to hear that Bush & Co.'s obsessive "fanatical" attitudes towards Iraq and their desire to be re-elected in 2004 drove them to cook the books on Iraq.

BLITZER: Do you accept that, General Scowcroft?

SCOWCROFT: This is a complex situation, and I would leave it to my colleague to define it.

And a brilliant final word from Condi Rice's mentor.