Thanks for proving my point
I am impressed. It is rare indeed that a point I try to make is so thoroughly and succinctly proven as it was in Alex Miller’s letter of Sept. 25 (“True, left doesn’t get it”). If one believes that Iraq is crucial to the war on terror, Mr. Miller opines, one is a member of the great unwashed, who “… know more about ‘Fear Factor’ contestants and baseball scores than they do about world reality.” A clearer illustration of my point would be hard to imagine.Mr. Miller also makes much of our situation in Iraq, and demands “facts.” Very well. Following are four which I consider particularly significant, and an observation.1. In the period 1970 to 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had threatened or fought wars with all of its neighbors save one. It was a massive source of instability in a region of vital interest to us.2. Since World War II, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq has been the only country to use poison gas both internally and against other countries. It had extensive chemical and biological weapon production capabilities that, as will be shown in the final report of the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee on Iraq, were only awaiting the lifting of sanctions to resume their work.3. The Saddam Hussein government had repeatedly defied the U.N. weapons inspection process – a process which it had agreed to accept at the end of the 1990 Gulf War – expelling the inspectors twice. 4. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had been in the forefront of terrorism for decades. During the 1970s, Carlos “The Jackal” had a business office in Baghdad, as did the Black September Movement. In the 1980s, they could have rubbed elbows with George Habbash of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who kept an office in Madani Square, together with elements of the Pesh Merga and other vicious and active terrorist organizations.These facts, and their documentary support, are all readily available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization. My observation is this: Mr. Miller, like most of those who argue some form of the “Bush lied us into Iraq” line, seems to think that the Iraq war is a product of whim, or more charitably, of mischievous intelligence analysis, deliberately intended to ignore the facts.Intelligence analysis, as most who are involved in the craft will admit, is largely guesswork. Informed guesswork, but guesswork nonetheless. Unreliable and incomplete information, partial patterns and suggestions, impressions and snippets: These are the raw materials of the analyst, and putting them together is more art than science. But always, past behavior of an individual or a regime is an important guide to prediction. In Saddam Hussein’s case, the behavior was as indicated, so the conclusion drawn was unsurprising to me. It is obvious now that we relied too much on input from unreliable sources – sources about whom many in the government had doubts at the time.But given the damage done to the U.S. intelligence community’s human assets operations over the previous two decades – damage in which Sen. Kerry played no small part, by the way – there were few acceptable choices, given the other possible outcomes.Those of us who believe that our present painful situation in Iraq was honestly arrived at, and must not be concluded in a pell-mell retreat at the expense of those Iraqis who have stood up for a better life are not bumpkins. We simply have a different view of how things work than does Mr. Miller. Perhaps we have reservations. Perhaps our views have nuance. By the way, I’ve never watched “Fear Factor.” Am I missing something?By the way, I’ve never watched “Fear Factor.” Am I missing something?
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