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Monday, September 12, 2005

Ignoring Icebergs

Josh Marshall points to an interesting paragraph in an upcoming Newsweek article:

Analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency have begun war-gaming scenarios for what might happen in Iraq if U.S. force levels were cut back or eliminated, say counterterrorism and defense sources. The officials, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive subject matter, declined to discuss specifics of the DIA analyses, which they indicate are in the preliminary stages. Some officials say that people in the intelligence community are leery about engaging in speculative exercises for fear of being accused by conservatives of undermining George W. Bush's administration policy. However, others say that this analysis could support staying the course in Iraq if a U.S. pullout would result in greater insurgent violence or a religious civil war.

The emphasis is Marshall's/mine.

This indicates something which progressives have noted for some time.  Were there intelligence failures in the run-up to the Iraq War?  Sure, but the failures were partisan -- it was the disinclination to marshal and present evidence which is counter to policy.   

Does keeping your superiors in the dark make sense to anyone?

[fuzzy dreamy flashback music]

Frederick Fleet:  Iceberg!  Right ahead!

Reginald Lee:  Where?

Fleet:  Right there!  Call down to the bridge and inform them!

Lee:  The Captain is trying to make it to New York in record time.  Ismay insists.  It sure would be a feather in the cap of the White Star line.  Think of the headlines!

Fleet:  Dammit, man!  There's an iceberg!  Can't you see it?

Lee:  Well, it might be an iceberg, I guess.  But it doesn't make any sense.  Why would an iceberg be in our direct path, thus thwarting our attempts to set a cross-oceanic speed record?  Do you want to be the one to disappoint Ismay?

Fleet:  I don't follow.

Lee (speaking in microphone):  Uh, hello, bridge?  This is the crow's nest.  We just want say we think you're doing a great job, and as far as we're concerned, there's nothing but smooth sailing ahead.  End transmission.

Fleet:  Yes, I see your point.  (pause) Damn, it's cold! (pause) Okay, who's turn to deal?

Lee:  Are we done?

Fleet:  Huh?

Lee:  Is the flashback over?

Fleet:  Yeah.  I think he made his point.

Lee:  So . . . it was like . . . it was a metaphor thing?

Fleet:  Right.  Shut up and deal.

Lee:  At least he gave us a microphone.  I didn't even realize those were invented yet.

Fleet:  Are you going to play cards or what?



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