Oxymoron: Political Intelligence
By Geoff Metcalf
The Wall Street Journal very aptly noted that, “Intelligence is supposed to be a tool of policy, not a determiner of it.” Intelligence IS a tool…like a hammer, a screwdriver, or a gun. Intelligence ‘contributes’ to building policy but ultimately policy is a product of leadership.
I recall as a young Army officer being taught the necessity for using a SWOT analysis in decision-making. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Developing the lists is mostly empirical science. Crafting a decision/policy is mostly an art.
Petty venial partisans are ragging on the administration over 16 words the President Bush articulated in his January State of the Union address. 16 words, which ‘may’ have been false…maybe. Democrats en mass and presidential wannbes specifically have their panties in a bunch over the President having said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Notwithstanding protestations to the contrary and CIA honcho George Tenet having thrown himself on his sword, the Brits STILL continue to stand by the claim despite the CIA waffling. As the Wall Street Journal observed, “So what Mr. Bush said about what the British believe was true in January and is still true today.” However, critics not wanting to be confused with facts that contradict their preconceived (or manufactured) opinion/prejudice presume to suggest a conspiracy of lies, hyperbole, or selective hearing loss.
The Washington Times noted, “The French secret service is believed to have refused to allow Britain's MI6 to give the United States "credible" intelligence showing that Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger…”
Partisan critics who seem much more focused on November 2004 than national security have conveniently forgotten (and content to ignore) that we didn’t go to war:
just because of one dubious foreign intelligence report,
OR just to deny the use of weapons of mass destruction,
OR just because Saddam Hussein was/is a crazy genocidal s.o.b.
We also had over a decade of history,
a gaggle of U.N. resolutions,
and consensus in the intelligence arena that Hussein had WMDs, had used them already, and was working hard on getting more.
This picking at the scab of intelligence is like questioning a van Gogh brush stroke. Intelligence data is collected in bits and pieces, usually contradictory and ambiguous.
Intelligence wonks seek trends and patterns and craft an assortment of ‘what ifs’. Then they work to mitigate and/or sharp shoot the ‘what ifs’. THAT is what they do.
Democrat partisan critics don’t have much of anything substantive with which to counter the administrations superior performance and polling data. Therefore they are picking at nits in the vain hope of “If we can’t dazzle them with brilliance we will baffle them with b.s…..”
A few weeks ago at the height of the “neener/neener/neener…where ARE the WMDs?” screeds from the democrats and the calm, confident “we WILL find proof” from administration and congressional sources, it struck me that the Bush critics may be digging themselves a hole that could become a political grave.
All the democrats seem to hanging their collective hat on the “you can’t find WMDs because they are not there” hook. They are focused on crafting the fiction that the administration lied (let alone it is just one of multiple elements for the war).
WHAT IF the reason the administration is so confident of validation is:
They already have confirmation/proof of WMD?
They have for ‘strategic’ (political) reasons chosen to withhold the data?
They are ‘analyzing/vetting’ the proof?
The announcement/confirmation is being held until after Labor Day when the political campaign shifts gears…or maybe until after the first of the year?
The ONLY significant criticism the democrat wannabes have is the ‘presumption’ the administration acted on flawed data and knew it.
If or when proof/corroboration of the only arguably disputable factoid is resolved, what will the dems have?
Basically the partisan nerdy nabobs have put all their fragile eggs in one basket. If or when the administration drops a brick in it…the critics are S.O.L. (Simply Out of Luck)!
I am not a partisan sycophant defender of the administration. I still feel they are overreaching with the U.S.A. Patriot Act stuff. However, when it comes to the policy making, and execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom this administration has done a stellar job. We have witnessed classic American characteristics that although often lauded are too seldom evidenced.
This administration has, does, and hopefully will continue to personify leadership, conviction, and courage. Even in the unlikely event history proves them wrong (and I don’t think so), THIS administration has shown the American people and the world, why we ARE leaders…and that is a good thing.
About the Author
Federal Observer contributor Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. . Visit Geoff's Web Site. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!