Monday, April 11, 2005


Same Report, Different Conclusions

The latest intel report was tackled in columns by both Bob Rivard and Jonathan Gurwitz. It is interesting to compare what they each had to say, and wonder if they read the same report. First, Bob Rivard:
The bipartisan panel concluded that U.S. intelligence agencies were "dead wrong" in the prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs and capabilities, and are unable to accurately gauge the capabilities or intentions of such countries as Iran and North Korea.

We went to war on intelligence findings that were wrong.

So far, so good, but Rivard goes on to say:
The report focuses on the inadequacies of the intelligence community, and does not directly address whether administration officials manipulated intelligence to build political or popular support for the war.

But the commission did conclude that officials repeatedly ignored warnings not to rely on intelligence reports that might be faulty or wrong.

Now compare Rivard's conclusions to what Gurwitz wrote:
The report recounts the reasons its authors believe U.S. intelligence agencies drew uniformly incorrect conclusions about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction: weak institutional leadership, poor technical expertise and "precious little intelligence for analysts to analyze," all problems that developed and accumulated over time.

In other words, a spectacular error, but one explainable and understandable as the result of problems that pre-dated the Bush administration.

I will leave it up to my readers to decide who's conclusions are correct.
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