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
The Jyllands Posten Muhammad Cartoons Controversy