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Friday, February 20, 2004

Working Group Publicity

The University of Pittsburgh newspaper, University Times has a nice story concerning the Working Group on Preemptive and Preventive War.

Gordon Mitchell, one of the coordinators of the group, was interviewed for the lengthy story. Here's his comment on the inconsistent logic behind the Bush Doctrine:
I find it curious that the same Bush administration officials who were so quick to discard deterrence in the National Security Strategy [NSS] are now reviving deterrence logic to justify Operation Iraqi Freedom. The NSS said deterrence won’t work against so-called rogue leaders who are allegedly irrational and even insane. Yet now we are hearing that the invasion of Iraq is causing the, quote, “axis of evil” to disarm because the leaders of North Korea, Iran and Libya have made rational and sane calculations that they do not want to be the next target of a U.S. attack.
Oh, and this is pretty damning too:
It is absolutely absurd, for example, that members of Congress who tout their tough-on-terror credentials keep cutting Nunn-Lugar threat-reduction programs — programs that are aimed at increasing the security of fissile material and providing aid, primarily to Russia and the former Soviet republics, to prevent nuclear scientists from those countries from sharing information that could be used to build unconventional weaponry.

An absolutely key anti-terrorism strategy is public diplomacy, since it has the potential to take away terrorists’ most valuable weapon, which is the reservoir of anti-American hatred that fuels terrorist recruitment. This gets back to the coordination theme: An overemphasis on military prevention is likely to undercut the effectiveness of public diplomacy, which may be the most promising long-term tool we have to counter terrorism.
And this gets to the heart of the intelligence problem:
The mainstream intelligence community actually did a decent job. The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate was full of caveats regarding the Iraqi threat of unconventional weapons. The problem came when politicians started stripping those caveats away and relying on sketchy intelligence data provided by Wolfowitz’s boutique. Imagine ignoring the advice of an established investment counselor and instead basing your whole retirement strategy on stock tips you overhear at the bus stop. That’s a real recipe for intelligence breakdown, and it looks like that’s exactly what happened in our government in 1976 and 2003.
Read the entire article, it's good!

It would be great if someone would syndicate all -- or even parts -- of it.

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