Radioactive Hype

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criticism having more to do with agendas and interests of the critics than with the intelligence community's actions. The two assessments about postwar issues, which contained very little sensitive re- porting, should have been far easier to declassify than the Top Secret estimate on weapons. Yet it has taken almost three more years, and a change in party control in Congress, to release them or any re- port based on tbem. (But give the Senate committee credit for even belatedly doing something that neither its House coun- terpart nor the executive branch did.) The Republican interest in protect- ing the administration, and in so doing shifting blame for the Iraq disaster to the intelligence community, clearly is a large part of this. But the scapegoating has a bi- partisan element as well. For all members of Congress who supported the war, the assessments about postwar consequenc- es are an inconvenient reminder of how they bought into the administration's false equation of a presumed weapons program with the need to invade, and how in trying to protect themselves against charges of being soft on national security they failed to consider all of the factors that should have influenced their votes. Spinning the intelligence communi- ty's performance through selective atten- tion has consequences that go far beyond institutional pride or the historical re- cord. One consequence is to divert atten- tion from the real reasons for ill-infonned or ill-directed foreign policy. The more attention that is consumed by aluminum tubes or other minutiae of weapons-relat- ed intelligence, the less attention is avail- able to direct to the far more fundamen- tal decision-making pathology that led to the Iraq War. Another consequence is disruption of the work of the intelligence community itself in the name of "fix- ing" it. The enactment in late 2004 of an intelligence reorganization of doubtful effectiveness depended in large part on the public perception—incomplete and incorrect—that intelligence on Iraq had been all wrong. A final observation concerns how the intelligence community really did per- form on Iraq. It offered judgments on the issues that turned out to be most impor- tant in the war, even though those judg- ments conspicuously contradicted the administration's rosy vision for Iraq. And for the most part, the judgments were correct. Missed opportunities all the way down. D Paul R. Pillar is on the faculty of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. Radioactive Hype John Mueller L ET ME be clear at the outset (since it will likely be forgot- ten by readers who manage to get past this paragraph) that I consider dissuading more countries from obtaining nuclear weapons to be quite a good idea and preventing terrorists from getting them to be an even better one. Indeed, I am even persuaded from time to time that the world might well be better off if the countries who now have them gave them up. Perhaps we could start with the . Clear and Present Dangers^ .59
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course 790 319 taught by Professor Licklider during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.

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Radioactive Hype - NOTICE This material may be protected by...

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