Thursday, October 30, 2003

Inept/Inadequate: I understand your point, Razor, but I still think your either/or scenario (lies/mistakes, duped/asleep at the switch) is a bit oversimplified. Let me give you an example: Where did the intel (assuming, for the moment, that the problem lies there) break down? Were we right that Saddam had the goods right up until, say, the end of 2002, at which point our intel missed him a) hiding it, b) smuggling it out, or c) destroying it (a process for which he was obliged to keep records). If our intel didn't break down until late last year, I'd say we did a damn good job. If our intel broke down in 1998, when the last inspectors were packed out, we've got more to worry about -- since we know that there were weapons at one point, and now they're gone with no record of whether they were destroyed. What we do know is that, at some point, the facts on the ground in Iraq diverged from the best guesses of the CIA. Until we know when that point came, and why, there's little we can say about intelligence failure.

Going back to your previous post, and the scenario in which Bush duped us all, the wily devil, is there any logical reason to believe this -- other than pure politics? Could a president -- in office only two years -- bypass the bureaucracy and the Congress; fool the CIA, the UN, and everyone else who was convinced that Saddam had WMDs; and, having done all that, not have any plan for what to tell the world when the WMDs don't turn up? It seems like an amazing amount of trickery for Bush to pull off only to stumble over himself trying to explain where the goods went. Hell, if the administration went through all that without manufacturing some evidence they could plant in Iraq -- just in case this very scenario came to pass -- they don't deserve another four years.

(Side note: And why is it always the "dumbest" presidents [Dubya, Reagan] who apparently have the easiest time making the hyperintelligent ranking Democrats on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees look like the Keystone Cops?)

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