When the tumultuous first decade of the 21st century is revisited by historians years from now, two geopolitical blunders will stand out above the rest: the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, leading to an untold number of military and civilian deaths at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, and, equally disastrous, President Obama’s failed attempt at getting Chicago an Olympics. Both, it turns out, had one thing in common: They were the consequence of some faulty intel.
Obama was never sure that going to Copenhagen to make a personal appeal to the IOC was a wise decision, but he was convinced otherwise by various people who had done sloppy, inaccurate vote counts — people whom we should be blaming now, according to friends of Obama. “The intelligence that we had from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Chicago bid team was that it was very close and therefore well worth our efforts,” said senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. “The message was that … a personal appeal from the president would make a huge difference.” Obviously, that didn’t turn out to be true. And just as with Iraq, America will feel the consequences for years to come. Or at least for a couple more days.
Obama was told a trip to Olympics meeting may clinch Chicago win [Chicago Tribune]