The Yellow Dog Blog

More meaningless ramblings from another guy you don't know

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Hersh article

The big news that made all of the headlines from the Seymour Hersh article in "The New Yorker" was that the US military has been (and likely still is) conducting covert missions in Iran to locate nuclear facilities and identify targets for potential future operations. As has been written elsewhere, I see no reason to be either surprised or upset about this. On the contrary, I'd be disappointed if they weren't doing it.

A nuclear Iran is in no one's interest. The radical Muslim dictiators who run the government see the acquisition of the bomb as their only insurance against invasion by America and our allies. The article states that the administration has already decided that Iran will be the next theatre of conflict. Given the Mullahs' sponsorship of terrorism, their support of the Iraqi insurgency and hatred of Israel, Iranian ownership of nuclear technology is not something that can't be allowed.

However, the main thrust of the article surrounded the Bush administration's shifting of responsibility for covert operations from CIA to the Defense Department. Hersh is clearly troubled by the concept, especially given the fact that Donald Rumsfeld will be calling the shots and, as the administration believes, is not obligated to obtain congressional approval.

But given the performance of the CIA and their dismal track record for accuracy, how can the administration be blamed for looking for a better source of intelligence? This line in the article says it all:

"The Administration believed that the C.I.A. was unable, or unwilling, to provide the military with the information it needed to effectively challenge stateless terrorism." (italics mine)

Unwilling? Given that since September of 2001, the war on stateless terrorism is the administration's single most important focus, wouldn't Bush have been profoundly negligent to have done otherwise? This clearly begs the question why Bush allow Tennant to remain as DCI for so long (let alone present him with the Medal of Freedom.) But that issue aside, the CIA has been demonstrated to be fairly consistently wrong in its predictions of potential threats. In addition, they've been accused by more than a few people who should know of coloring their output rather than providing clear, unbiased intelligence. Given this, the Hersh article, if true, makes me feel much better that the administration is finally taking control of the intelligence situation and is moving in the right direction.


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