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May 29, 2007

Our Leaders: Thank God They're Completely Different From Saddam Hussein

Pat Lang, speaking on May 7th:

LANG: [A]t the strategic level one of the main functions of intelligence production, analysis production, is to reduce policy options from the level of fantasy, to that of extreme reality. In order for that to work, the intelligence function has to have—its products have to be respected, and they have to be given due weight by policy-makers, the decision-makers, as to what you're actually going to do...

But in fact, a problem arose in this Administration...I get to associate with a lot of young fellows who were big-time staffers in the first term of the Bush Administration, and now, a lot have returned to academia, and I listened to what they say. And one of things that's very noticeable here, that amongst these guys, there is almost universally a great disdain for the functioning of intelligence. As far as they're concerned, what the function of the intelligence community, is to gather raw information, repeat it to them, so that they apply to it their understanding of history, and what the nature of history is, and where it's going, so as to say what the meaning of that information is... really, what you need to do is you feed the stuff up—give us the raw data, and we'll tell you what it means, we'll tell you what it means in every case.

And that is a terrible corruption of the process of decision-making in foreign policy, I think. Because if you do that, and you no longer have an independent brake on the fantasies and the option generation of the decision-makers, of their staffs—nobody tells them, this is a crock...

Saddam Hussein speaking to his minions in fall, 1990 (from the Iraqi Perspectives Project):

HUSSEIN: America is a complicated country. Understanding it requires a politician's alertness that is beyond the intelligence community. Actually I forbade the intelligence outfits from deducing from press and political analysis anything about America. I told them that [this] was not their specialty, because these organizations, when they are unable to find hard facts, start deducing from newspapers, which is what I already know. I said I don't want either intelligence organization [IIS or GMID] to give me analysis—that is my specialty...we agree to continue on that basis...which is what I used with the Iranians, some of it out of deduction and some of it through invention and connecting the dots, all without having hard evidence.

Posted at May 29, 2007 01:23 PM | TrackBack

Arthur Silber's take on the use of intelligence is relevant here.

Posted by: StO at May 29, 2007 04:43 PM

I forbade the intelligence outfits from deducing from press and political analysis anything about America.

Obviously, the man had seen Meet the Press.

Posted by: SteveB at May 29, 2007 04:52 PM

That really is scary.

Posted by: SPIIDERWEB™ at May 29, 2007 08:29 PM

WE don't get much BANG FOR OUR BUCK with the intelligence community these days.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 29, 2007 09:32 PM

I see a silver lining in these foreboding clouds. If some of these big-time staffers ever a need a brain operation I suspect they will tell the brain surgeons how to proceed with the operation, and thus the big-time staffers will remove themselves from the gene pool offering hope for a brighter and richer future.

Posted by: rob payne at May 30, 2007 12:30 AM

Sgt. Friday: "Just the facts, ma'am - just the facts."


Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 30, 2007 09:22 AM