Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Intelligence Failures

Before deciding whether or not the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were simple "intelligence failures" (despite the existence of forgeries created to back up those claims), it might be helpful to take a quick look at history.

Initially, the U.S. Navy's own historians now say that the sinking of the USS Maine -- the justification for America's entry into the Spanish-American War -- was probably caused by an internal explosion of coal, rather than an attack by the Spanish.

It is also now well-accepted that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which led to the Vietnam war was a fiction (and see confirmation here).

Two lies were also used to justify the 1991 Gulf War: the statement that Iraqis murdered Kuwaiti babies and the statement that a quarter of a million Iraqi troops were massed on the border with Saudi Arabia (see also this article)(technically, the statement about Kuwaiti babies did not come from the U.S. government, but from a public relations firm hired by the government).

And while historians admittedly disagree, and while America's defeat of the German, Japanese and Italian fascists may have been a very good thing, a BBC special (which contains interviews with some of the key players), found it likely that America knew of the Japanese plan to attack Pearl Harbor — down to the exact date of the attack — and allowed it to happen to justify America's entry into World War II. See also this short essay by a highly-praised historian summarizing some of the key points (the historian, a World War II veteran, actually agreed with this strategy for getting America into the war, and so does not have any axe to grind). The Pearl Harbor "conspiracy" — if true — would have involved hundreds of military personnel. Moreover, the White House apparently had, a year earlier, launched an 8-point plan to provoke Japan into war against the U.S. (including, for example, an oil embargo) And — most stunning — the FDR administration took numerous affirmative steps to ensure that the Japanese attack would be successful.

Given the history of deception used to justify the Spanish-American War, WWII, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War, is it likely that "intelligence failures" were the reason for the government's false Iraqi WMD claims? Or was this the cynical use of deliberately-faked intelligence to rally the American public behind a war which policy-makers had previously decided to get us into?

And what does this history of deception imply about 9/11?


Blogger -blessed holy socks, the non-perishable-zealot said...

Fascinating. Feliz navidad, brudda!

5:24 PM  
Blogger lewweinstein said...

Sometimes intelligence failures are purposeful. The use of the Office of Special Plans (OSP) in the Defense Department was a strategy intended to corrupt intelligence about Iraq coming from actual intelligence agencies. The FBI's failure to solve the 2001 anthrax case for 7 years and then its accusation of the recently deceased Dr. Ivins on no credible evidence is another example. I think it is likely the FBI did not solve the anthrax case because they were told NOT to.

8:14 AM  

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