BOOM goes the dynamite: “A group of intelligence analysts have provided investigators with documents they say show that senior military officers manipulated the conclusions of reports on the war against the Islamic State, according to several government officials, as lawmakers from both parties voiced growing anger that they may have received a distorted picture about the military campaign’s progress.” Government inspectors specifically looking at CENTCOM (United States Central Command), which of course was the subject of a potentially devastating Daily Beast report from last week that alleged that precisely this was going on. Naturally, the New York Times doesn’t want to admit that the original problem arose largely because this administration hates being told things that it doesn’t like to hear, but at least the Times is taking the situation seriously, right?
The real question is whether the Democrats will, or whether they’re going to try to scapegoat. I’m guessing ‘scapegoat:’
“We do take seriously any allegations of the mishandling or manipulation of intelligence information for purposes other than getting to ground truth,” [mc_name name=’Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001150′ ] of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday. “In the wake of the flawed intelligence prior to the Iraq war, we must make sure that all voices are appropriately considered and that assessments are never again politicized.”
And this is why you can’t take Adam Schiff – or any other Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee (or anywhere else) – seriously. ‘Flawed intelligence,’ in this case, is a Democratic code phrase for ‘You need to pretend to be upset over this particular mistake:’ contra the fever dreams of the antiwar movement at the time, the Bush administration was a good deal more cautious about defining the knowns, unknowns, and known unknowns than said movement credited said administration at the time. Besides, there’s a marked difference between providing analyses that are inherently pessimistic and ones that are inherently optimistic.
Mind you, too pessimistic can be a problem, as the career of General George McClellan can attest* – but it’s rarely wicked. The Obama administration apparently fostered behaviors from its military analysts that were very, very wicked indeed. We should do something about that… particularly on the Executive Branch side. A fish rots from the head down.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Fun historical trivia fact: McClellan later parlayed his amazing inability to win battles into a Presidential nomination in 1864. …As a Democrat, of course. It’s almost as if there’s a larger narrative, here.