Those paying attention are perfectly aware that what led us into Iraq was not "intelligence failures" -- it was an administration hell-bent on going there, long before they even were an administration; one that repeatedly lied to make it happen, not least by misrepresenting, and even doctoring, intelligence to do so...which makes it an act of quite spectacular gall to try (as they have) to blame the intelligence community for their actions: i.e., just about the only sector of American society that made any concerted effort to be truthful, regardless of the administration's wishes (God knows most of journalism didn't). Maybe, like me, you've wondered how long the intelligence and military types were gonna let their work be lied about, without speaking up.
Wonder no longer. Just buy a copy of James Bamford's A Pretext for War, and get some long-delayed truthtelling on the subject.
Bamford is nobody's lefty -- he's a journalist with close ties to the intelligence community, whose best-known works were about the (then quite hush-hush) NSA, yet one more than willing to criticize the intelligence community when it deserves it (as here, e.g. with strong critiques of the overreliance on technology). This makes his analysis of this administration's efforts all the more devastating. Not some partisan trying to sell a candidate, Bamford just lays out the facts as seen from the perspective of the intelligence community, and lets you make up your mind. Not that Bamford doesn't have a point of view: he does, and marshals devastating evidence to support it, primarily from current and former intelligence and diplomatic officers. The result is reliable one-stop shopping for those who want to know, from the experts, how we got into this mess.
(Buy it for friends whose "news" comes from propaganda outlets like Rush Limbaugh or Fox! Hell, somebody should tell them the truth...and maybe they'll listen when it's their own security professionals -- most of them Republicans who themselves voted for Bush in 2000 -- doing the talking.)
Perfectly fascinating stuff, which opens (btw) with the single most vivid (and heartbreakingly powerful) description I've read of the 9/11 attacks themselves, and many heroic, and largely unmentioned, efforts to stop them as they occurred. Packed with new material, sparely written (to strong effect), and highly recommended.
93 93/93 -- AJ
(Who wishes you all a belated Happy Equinox!, and hopes to post about same shortly...this being a big week for us magical folks, things have been bizzy. :) )