just like my saturday version of
much this same sort of story, today
bret stephens, of the wall street journal’s
editorial board, has offered some more
highly-ironic, and seriously logic-
deprived, thoughts on that iran NIE.
you may read the whole of it, here,
but the key paragraphs are excerpted
immediately below [emphasis supplied]:
. . .Then again, when it comes to the
issue of trust, it isn’t just Mr. Ahmadinejad
we need to worry about. It has been widely
pointed out that the conclusions of this NIE
flatly contradict those of a 2005 NIE on the
same subject, calling the entire process into
question. Less discussed is why the administration
chose to release a shoddy document that
does maximum political damage to it and to
key U.S. allies, particularly France, the U.K. and Israel. The likely answer is that the administration
calculated that any effort by them to suppress or
tweak the NIE would surely leak, leading to
accusations of “politicizing intelligence.”
But that only means that we now have an “intelligence
community” that acts as an authority unto itself,
and cannot be trusted to obey its political masters,
much less keep a secret. The administration’s tacit
acquiescence in this state of affairs may prove
even more damaging than its wishful thinking on Iran.For years it has been a staple of fever swamp
politics to believe the U.S. government is in
the grip of shadowy powers using “intelligence”
as a tool of control. With the publication of this
NIE, that is no longer a fantasy. . .
gee, so much silliness here — where to begin?
lessee, most importantly (1) was
he asleep when all the previous cheney-
led attempts to stifle this NIE were
documented in congressional hearings,
the new york times, and washington post
press-accounts, and countless blog-stories?
to suggest that the administration was
afraid to be accused of “gaming” intell is
just laughable. laughable! was he awake
for patrick fitzgerald’s cross-examnination
in u.s. v. libby — or didn’t he get over to
the prettyman center? his view is entirely
far-fetched, given the facts adduced before,
during and after the scooter libby trial — re
the iraq pre-war intell. . . to suggest there
was no “prior pattern” here — and to be shocked
that someone might suggest there would be — is silly.
(2) the author seems hopelessly internally-
conflicted — or contradicted — is the admin-
istration intentionally doing damage to
itself, or has it lost control of the slaves
on the plantation? note the blaming,
yet whining complaints, in his second
paragraph. . .
(3) mr. stephens seems confused about
what it means to learn new information.
he seems not to understand that getting
newer, better, more-recent information
is the goal of intelligence — not, as
it has been for the last six or so years,
to serve as a fear-propigating, war-making
pulpit for one richard bruce cheney (and bush).
let’s assume, though — as he suggests — that
he is no “fever-swamp-dweller”, and in
an earnest quest for socratic learnings, try
to discern his meaning here: he must believe
in a static, pre-newtonian, universe. that is,
he apparently is convinced that the world in gen-
eral, and iran in particular, is a static,
as opposed to dynamic, place. we value
our intelligence when it enlightens us — not
merely when it “echoes back” to the administration
exactly what the administration wants to hear.
now, when information becomes out-
dated — say, when a stock-analyst
picks, say sears, as a great “defensive”
play — does it “call the whole process
into question“, when the analyst subse-
quently revises his opinion, and rates sears
a “reduce” — just before sears makes $0.03
a share in the current quarter, after sears
itself predicted it would make $0.50 a share,
for that quarter? should the analyst keep
his “overweight” rating on, or not?
i dunno. i thought that was the idea:
that the price would reflect all the
newest information — in short, an efficient
capital market theory, in operation — thus re-
enforcing the validity of the general theoretical
framework — not “calling it into quesion“.
no, i think we would rightly question any
analyst who still had an “overweight” rating
on sears, after this quarter’s catastrophe,
and one-day, 17 percent share price decline.
in this case, mr. stephens, and
richard bruce cheney, are such analysts.
(4) note to mr. stephens: these
“shadowy powers” are, in fact,
only one person, a solitary,
singular form, in a stetson, no
less — and this galoot’s name:
richard bruce cheney. he con-
trolled and manipulated the
iraq intelligence, not the CIA
or the NSA. . . this op ed will
not re-write that history
with a simple pen-stroke.
(5) wait — does mr. stephens want our
intelligence to produce a desired
outcome, or does he want to receive
information, and follow it wherever
it leads? we know how the last six
years went, and we now see where
we’ve been — i take it he would
like “more of the same.” not i.
finally, in summation, then: (6) is
covert intelligence to be propaganda,
or is it to serve as a reasoned-basis for
international policy? our mr. stephens
seems to feel it is the former; we in
the reality-community feel it should
be the latter.
sorry — i meant for this to be
funny — but given that world war
three hangs in the balance here, it
is hard to giggle along with this
level of calculated idiocy. . .
p e a c e