Friday, January 30, 2004

In the Nail.Hammer.Bang. Department

"Bad Intelligence" didn't make anyone do anything

The Clinton administration was getting the same intelligence, yet it, reasonably, did not head off to the United Nations to warn that Iraq needed to be invaded yesterday.

It is simply not true that the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq was the result of "bad intelligence." In the most significant sense, that decision had nothing at all to do with the quality of the intelligence they were getting. The decision was one of policy -- a decision that depended "not upon available facts but upon judgment." As the Star-Tribune editorial points out [linked to from above -- Sid.], the Clinton administration had virtually the same intelligence -- yet came to a different conclusion altogether with regard to the proper course of action.
But this tactic serves an important purpose: it passes blame off to another party, and in effect lets the administration off the hook. The administration thus hopes to insulate itself from examination, criticism and accountability. It's as if the administration is saying: "The intelligence made us do it."
But the intelligence, whatever it was, didn't make them do anything. They had already decided what they wanted to do -- and the intelligence was almost irrelevant.

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