Sunday, May 29, 2005

Rewarded Instead of Fired

What do you have to do to get fired in the US intelligence community?  Screwing up bigtime doesn't do it.  In fact, the worse you do the job, the more you're rewarded.

I've long complained that no one was fired for the massive intelligence failures before 9/11, nor for the non-existent Iraq WMD's.  Not only has no one lost their jobs, several of them have actually been rewarded, despite their mistakes.  For example, George Tenet, the former CIA chief who told President Bush that the WMD's were "a slam dunk," was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Now, two Army analysts whose work on Iraq was deemed a "gross failure" by the 9/11 commission have received awards for outstanding job performance!

The two civilian analysts were part of the team at the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center, whose claim about Iraq's aluminum tubes and nuclear weapons were, again in the words of the 9/11 commission, "completely wrong."

This is not a partisan matter.  This is about incompetence.

In the private sector, employees who did their job this poorly would have been shown the door a long time ago.  In the public sector -- with salaries paid by you and me, they not only get to keep their jobs, they also earn kudos from their superiors.

What's worse is that they're not accomplishing their assigned goal -- making all of us safer.  Convenience store clerks have been fired for lesser infractions.

Shouldn't we demand more?