Iraq Intel: The Spy Who Failed Me

This article by Paul Pillar, a CIA Officer has-been, in Foreign Affairs is a must read.

Intelligence, Policy,and the War in Iraq
Paul R. Pillar
From Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006
"..... it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized ....."
This is quite an accusation. The author claims the mistake was not in the intelligence sector, but rather in the policy of not letting the UN inspectors do their work. War was rushed into. The messy aftermath was not thought through.

You don't go invade a country just because you can. With much power comes much responsibility.

I don't believe an immediate pullout of all troops is the answer. But the rush to war asks for some judgment. If you don't ask the questions, you are allowing yourself to be blackmailed.

Only a total spread of democracy in the Arab world will positively conclude the war on terror. I believe that. The question is, is the neocon Iraq way the way to go ahead, country after country? I don't believe so. It is too expensive in terms of lives and dollars, not sustainable. If the US had not so rushed to invade Iraq perhaps it might have found the better way to work towards the same goal.

Isolationist sounding liberals are not a viable alternative, so that neocons have failed is not enough solace. The answer lies with progressives who will find a way to spread democracy the progressive way while keeping the option of war as the weapon of the very last resort, and will reorganize flanks of the army for the new challenge of dealing with organized groups that do not fight with standing armies but rather through sneak attacks.

Bush has spent upwards of $200 billion on Iraq. A policy alternative would be to suggest perhaps a $10 billion war with communications technology and grassroots organizing should be fought, not that America should turn inwards. Isolationism is not an option, technically speaking. Globalization is here to stay. Or if you act miserly on the $10 billion proposal, you also lose another $1 trillion to Bush' tax cuts. So you spend $1o billion to save on $200 billion and $1 trillion.

And it is not just about spreading democracy in the Arab world. It also is about expanding the democracies in Europe and America so people of all cultural and religious backgrounds can feel at home in those democracies. Right now that happens not to be the case. This is also very much part and parcel of the war on terror. Xenophobes in the west are in the political target zone.

It is not just about introducing democracy in Arabia, but also about expanding democracy in Euro-America.

The Larger WMD Question And Iran
Complicated Iraq
The Jyllands Posten Muhammad Cartoons Controversy
Pat Robertson Is Sick, Anti-Faith
French Society: No Easy Solutions

In The News

Update 2: US Envoy Warns Iraq Over Sectarian Govt Forbes
Five die in Iraq restaurant bomb BBC News, UK
Group begins month-long protest over Iraq invasion ABC Online, Australia
Bin Laden compares US tactics in Iraq to those of Saddam himself Salt Lake Tribune, United States
At Least 17 People Killed in Insurgent Attacks in Iraq New York Times, United States


18 February04:47Verizon Online, Reston, United States

18 February08:01ONPT, Morocco
18 February10:25Road Runner, New York, United States
18 February11:06Smart Telecom Holdings, Ireland
18 February19:49American University, Washington, D.C., United States
18 February19:52Paknet Limited, Pakistan
18 February21:25Rogers Communications Inc., Canada
19 February00:19ETC, United Arab Emirates
19 February00:28Singapore Telecommunications Limited, Singapore
19 February01:44South Africa Internet Exchange, South Africa
19 February06:35Tele Danmark, Denmark
19 February11:01Level 3 Communications, Seattle, United States
19 February15:01Hungary (
19 February21:32Alaska Communications Systems Inc., United States
19 February22:14Qwest, Bois D Arc, United States
19 February23:55Everest Connections, Kansas, United States
20 February00:33Xtra, New Zealand
20 February01:23Telia Network Services, Canada
20 February01:36Monash University, Australia
20 February02:17Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, India
20 February03:02Multinet Karachi, Pakistan
20 February03:48World-Net Limited, New Zealand

20 February03:53TopLink Plannet GmbH, Germany
20 February05:04NTT Communications, Japan
Busiest day so far19 February 2006
Page views55


Edward said…
Interesting ideas - isn't it incumbent on you to provide the alternative vehicle for democracy though?