Friday, May 30, 2003

Doubting Intelligence 

These guys just don't get it. First we have Rumsfeld and Condi Rice pushing for regime change in Iran, written about in the very excellent Warblogging (scan for May 30). Apparently though, Rumsfeld is often an island unto himself. He was wrong about the number of troops that will be needed as per this New York Times article, dated May 30:

"Predicting trends in Iraq is not easy. But with 160,000 American and British troops now in Iraq and tens of thousands more providing logistical support from Kuwait, General Shinseki seems to have got it more right than the defense secretary.

Certainly, the initial Bush administration plans to reduce American forces to less than two divisions by September, a force of 70,000 or substantially less, including logistical support, now seems unrealistic.

Just this week, military commanders disclosed that the Third Infantry Division, the unit that led the Army attack to Baghdad, was not going home next month as expected. Instead, its duty in Iraq is being extended so it can be deployed to hot spots outside Baghdad and serve as a reserve force in the capital."

Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and their neocons in the Pentagon were wrong about wmd's, and this Kristof column talks of a group formed, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (its beginning to sound more and more monty pythonysque), because apparently sanity has gone out the window. The intelligence community is pissed, and apparently they don't want some green vegetable neocon in the Pentagon feeding them disinformation, when it has been the intelligence community's job to do this for decades:

"The Al Qaeda connection and nuclear weapons issue were the only two ways that you could link Iraq to an imminent security threat to the U.S.," notes Greg Thielmann, who retired in September after 25 years in the State Department, the last four in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. "And the administration was grossly distorting the intelligence on both things."

The outrage among the intelligence professionals is so widespread that they have formed a group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, that wrote to President Bush this month to protest what it called "a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions."

"While there have been occasions in the past when intelligence has been deliberately warped for political purposes," the letter said, "never before has such warping been used in such a systematic way to mislead our elected representatives into voting to authorize launching a war."

Irony dully noted.

Meanwhile, back in England, Tony Blair is facing the heat of the case of the disappearing wmd's in Iraq. Colin Powell and Jack Straw shared doubts about the intelligence on Iraq, much as we are having doubts, I suppose on their intelligence to keep quiet about the doubts.

More on this later.