I’ll lead with the Pollack quote!
Kenneth Pollack, a former National Security Council expert on Iraq, whose book “The Threatening Storm” generally supported the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein, told me that what the Bush people did was “dismantle the existing filtering process that for fifty years had been preventing the policymakers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership. Their position is that the professional bureaucracy is deliberately and maliciously keeping information from them.
“They always had information to back up their public claims, but it was often very bad information,” Pollack continued. “They were forcing the intelligence community to defend its good information and good analysis so aggressively that the intelligence analysts didn’t have the time or the energy to go after the bad information.”
Its a long article.
Interesting because I consider Pollack a huge part of the problem. As it turns out, his analysis hinged on a psychological profile of Hussein and Iraq’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. Now it appears he is trying to save face, by analyzing the administration’s failure.
Yes, I remember long tirades here where those of us who were not convinced were berated on the basis of that book. Whatever. Saddam was a bad guy, but unless we spend an incredible amount of time and money stabilizing Iraq, the rulers down the line will also be bad guys. Deterence was a lot cheaper than regime change.
Nobody disputed that it wasn’t cheaper.
The books still an interesting read, even if you don’t agree with the conclusions it comes to. And even in the book it strongly discourages taking on Iraq without a coalition of Middle East states to back us up.
McCullough is basically right about this issue: It should have been done, just not by the people currently in charge.
And not in the method that it was done.