by John Hawkins | July 25, 2003 1:58 pm
So Which Is It — Are Our Intelligence Agencies Too Aggressive Or Not Aggressive Enough?: The American left is wildly inconsistent & hypocritical on a number of issues, one of them being how they say our intelligence agencies should have acted before 9/11 & in the build-up to the war in Iraq. Since that has been in the news a lot lately, let’s talk about it.
We’re told that our intelligence agencies didn’t connect the dots before 9/11. Now that we’re more than a year and a half out from the actual event and have had the press, our intelligence agencies themselves, & the joint Congressional Committee on Intelligence pouring over every detail leading up to 9/11, it all looks so clear! Why didn’t the FBI & CIA put all of this together before 9/11? Sure, Congress may have strangled them with political correctness & inane rules that prevented them from getting decent intelligence sources on the ground, but still, they should have sifted through all the noise and picked out all the relevant details. After all, we can do that in hindsight right? That’s seems to be about the general consensus of what I’ve hearing from people — on the left and the right — about 9/11.
Now don’t get the wrong idea — I’m not saying our intelligence agencies are perfect or saying that reforms don’t need to be made. I’m just pointing out that our intelligence agencies are being flagellated about 9/11 largely for not connecting the dots.
But then when it comes to Iraq, we have some of the same people who bitterly claim that we should have moved faster and caught on to the 9/11 plot, saying our intelligence agencies jumped to conclusions about Iraq. These people nitpick every piece of evidence that’s presented — as if there’s always going to be perfect agreement between the CIA, FBI, NSA, State Department, and the intelligence agencies of foreign governments. I’ve been at companies where we’ve had bitter disagreements over where to put the logo on our stationary, yet for example we have people who believe that every analyst at multiple intelligence agencies should reach exactly the same conclusion about whether Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium in Africa recently. Then when there’s any disagreement at all, even over fairly minor issues like that one, it’s “We’re not sure if the war is justified now — we need an investigation — impeachment — impeachment!” Before 9/11, they wanted us to “throw caution to the wind” to prevent a disaster, but when it came to Iraq it was, “it does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop” (you get bonus points if you know who said that without looking it up).
So what do these people who are complaining want? Do they want our intelligence agencies to inch along at a snails pace and reach a consensus before they do anything — if that ever happens — or do they want them to be more aggressive and risk having more disagreement and mistakes? Unfortunately, most of the people on left who are raising a stink about the intelligence behind the war in Iraq care a lot more about finding a way to score political points on the President than our national security. That’s why there’s no consistency from them now, and why we shouldn’t expect any in the future.
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