Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The National Intelligence Estimate

Pajamas Media has a link to what the NIE really said: In From the Cold has obtained portions of the NIE and notes it lists out the both the successes and failures of the War on Terror. And the successes are quite numerous, though the NYT failed to mention them. For example, U.S.-led efforts have “seriously damaged Al Qaida leadership and disrupted its operations” and “progress toward pluralism and more responsive political systems in the Muslim world will eliminate many of the grievances jihadists exploit.” Readers should, as they say, read the whole thing.

One scientist studying life on Mars remarked that the real bombshell would be if investigations showed there had never been life on the Red Planet. A negative result would raise deeper questions about the conditions under which life arose than a mere finding that life was relatively commonplace throughout the Solar System. For the same reasons it would have been absolutely astounding to discover an NIE with only debits on the balance sheet. That would have been the exceptional result.

But just as the supporters of the war cannot expect to find a war effort without blemish, critics of the war probably cannot to hope for one without achievement. A nonpartisan assessor might probably ask, what did we do right? What did we do wrong? What can we do better? But that would imply a common purpose. And that may come one day; it may just take a little time, like everything else.


Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

It will take another terror attack in the US while a Democrat is in the White House. Until then, the media and many Democrats will see this as George Bush's unnecessary war, rather than a war in which all of America is involved.

9/26/2006 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger rocketsbrain said...

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

I say published it all and then force the LL and the MSM to read it.

They have been lying to the American people by not telling the whole truth.

See this excellent rebuttal piece by Scott Malensek of the Sen Intel Co's Phase II Report for an excample of how these reports have become political/partisan hackjobs.

Read More

9/26/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Free Thinker said...

Funny how when Bush was selling the Iraq war, he redacted the doubts about Iraqi WMD from an NIE before sending it to congress. You didn't complain about that... and that was info used to START A WAR.

And the idea that a few anecdotal successes matter in the face of a US-fueled jihadi movement (growing in size and strength) that our actions have made worse is, uh, missing the forest for the trees.

Let's just accept, for a second, for the sake of argument, that the war in Iraq creates jihadis and was a bad idea from the start.

You will have minor successes, but they do not change the overall outcome. They are also anecdotal, meaning that although they defy the trend, they do not form their own. In other words, we don't have a trend of success in Iraq, and these small successes don't change that. Furthermore, there has been no noticible effort to change the strategies responsible for creating a trend of success.

So a few successes are to be expected whether this war was a mistake or not. Whether we will succeed or not.

9/26/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Frito Pundito said...

Let's see, the "progress towards plurarlism" (cough) hasn't seem to stop grievances in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon or Palestine. I guess we're not taking the long enough view, like 100 years! As for seriously disrupting the Al-Quaeda leadership, we still haven't gotten No. 1, and even though we've caught about 300 No. 2s. they keep coming, so we've haven't stemmed the supply of those.

9/26/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger euphemis said...

I think people misunderstand what a National Intelligence Estimate is. I contributed to several NIEs while working on the Balkans in the mid-1990s. An NIE is usually drafted by an analyst assigned to the National Intelligence Council (possibly an area specialist, but not necessarily). The drafter looks at the analyses produced over the previous weeks by analysts from the 13 or so USG intelligence agencies and averages them out. He/she then clears it around the community in a tedious series of negotiations over the text. The result is usually a cautious, middling, lowest-common-denominator summation of the conventional wisdom.

As a desk officer later, I never found any NIEs particularly insightful about the countries I knew best. Perhaps they were useful for those officials who only had a glancing opportunity to bone up. But few others, at least in my experience.

9/26/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger yank in london said...

There was no need for the Times to mention the so called successes as the White House trumpets them all of the time. It's the bits they don't bother to tell us that are important.

9/26/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

Iraq should no more be considered a failure because it attracts jihadis than a Roach Motel should be considered a failure because it attracts cockroaches.

9/26/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Free Thinker,

What, other than anecdotal evidence, did the NYT provide that its assessment was accurate? The "fact" remains that the US has not been attacked since the start of OIF. Of course, whether this is because of OIF is debatable, but clearly we are "safer" now.

Secondly, why should we assume that OIF is the sole motivation of the jihadists? Does the NIE or NYT provide actual figures to support the claim that their numbers have increased? Has anyone been able to distinguish between the jihadists motivated by OIF from those by, say, the Palestinian issue?

More importantly, can the NYT divine what the terrorist threat would have looked like had we not gone into Iraq(or for that matter, let us not forget Afghanistan, surely that has contributed to the "worsen terrorism threat" as well)?

Finally, should the possibility that we anger our enemy when we fight back preclude us from responding? Is that the foreign policy that the NYT or the critics of GWB are advocating?

9/26/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The United States and its interests have been under attack for over a decade. The U.S. responded militarily in Afghanistan and Iraq which is what you’d expect from a nation state that has had a war declared war against them. So we respond and there are more elements that join the fray. We should never protect ourselves? Please. Perhaps the most symmetrical way to enjoin the enemy is to blow up women and children with bombs, then the Left can be sure that we are responding with the proper measured response.

9/26/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

What we see here is politics-within-politics-within-politics (like a scene out of Frank Herbert's "Dune"). First we have a spook within the CIA who is trying to stage manage American politics by selectively leaking classified documents to the New York Times (NYT). Next we have the NYT trying to stage manage the November elections by selectively reporting the contents of the leaked classified document (NIE). Note that the NYT was being very cute about it since the document was classified and supposably the Bush administration didn't have the option of responding (how long did the NYT have the NIE and was its release timed for maximum political effect?). Finally we have the White House out-foxing the NYT and the traitor spook by declassifying the NIE and showing that the NYT cherry picked the document. No doubt the whole exercise will end with moonbats claiming that Karl Rover originally leaked the NIE to the NYT.

9/26/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rush Mentioned "In From the Cold" piece and VDH at Pajamas this morning.

9/26/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"First we have a spook within the CIA who is trying to stage manage American politics by selectively leaking classified documents to the New York Times (NYT)."

- eggplant

The leak could have come from Capitol Hill, as the majority of leaks do. The leak could have come from any one of the intel organizations - and further, from any one of the multitude of their personnel with a Top Secret or better, which includes just about all.

Just sayin'.

9/26/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger nccardfan said...

"Let's just accept, for a second, for the sake of argument, that the war in Iraq creates jihadis and was a bad idea from the start."

The best idea for those who see things this way, under our political system, would be to get someone to run for office espousing this defeatist nonsense as his (or her!) foreign policy platform.

Oh wait...

Well, maybe it will work the next time.

9/26/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Fen said...

Large problems contain a host of smaller, invisible problems. The act of focusing on the large problem, makes the smaller problems visible. We're now at the point in the Jihadi War where the focus on the large problem is uncovering the small problems and that is why the NIE appears to show an increase in Jihadi activity. The invisible Jihadi activity is now visible. It's always been there but an indifferent West never bothered to look beyond itself.

9/27/2006 10:19:00 AM  

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