In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2007 / 18 Shevat, 5767

We must immediately fix the “radar of policy”

By Jack Kelly

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What policy makers want most from their intelligence services is support for whatever it is they want to believe. So President Clinton was delighted to hear there was no foreign terrorist involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing or the downing of TWA 800, and President Bush was pleased to hear that Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk."

What policy makers need most from their intelligence services is the truth. But the truth is usually very hard to find out. And even when they learn the truth, intelligence services sometimes fail to recognize it, or are reluctant to tell it.

The Director of National Intelligence declassified last week the "key judgments" portion of the most recent National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq.

The NIE is a projection of trends that comprise the thinking of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

"It's purpose is to provide the president with an understanding of what the future is likely to be — and to provide this understanding soon enough, and clearly enough, that if the president doesn't like what lies ahead he can take steps to change the future before it happens," said Herbert Meyer, who used to work on NIEs for legendary CIA Director Bill Casey.

The future prophesied in this NIE is stark:

"Iraqi society's growing polarization, the persistent weakness of the security forces and the state in general, and all sides' ready recourse to violence are collectively driving an increase in communal and insurgent violence and political extremism," the NIE said in the foremost of its key judgments. "Unless measures to reverse these conditions show measurable progress during the term of the Estimate, the coming 12 to 18 months, we assess that the overall security situation will continue to deteriorate at rates comparable to the latter parts of 2006."

The initial draft of the NIE was completed in December, and, I suspect, had much to do with the change in strategy in Iraq President Bush has made.

The whole NIE is circulating among policy makers, including members of Congress. Eli Lake reported in the New York Sun Monday that four of the agencies involved in drafting the NIE have filed a formal "dissent" to a major conclusion.

Army and Marine intelligence, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Treasury Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis think that al Qaida is running the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. The other 12 agencies think the Sunni portion of the violence is dominated by former supporters of Saddam Hussein. Al Qaida, the majority thinks, is playing only a relatively small role.

The dispute is fraught with political implications. If the majority is right that the insurgency is dominated by ex-Baathists, that bolsters the view of those who think the conflict in Iraq is largely a civil war.

But if the dissenters are right that al Qaida is running the show, this bolsters President Bush's contention that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.

Major dissents in NIEs have, in recent years, been rare. Typically, disputes in NIEs are "resolved" by reducing conclusions to the lowest common denominator, with lots of "on the one hand this, on the other hand that" qualifying phraseology. This covers wonderfully the posteriors of all involved in drafting the report, but pablum of this sort provides policy makers with little useful guidance.

Policy makers often prefer pablum to sharp disagreements within the intelligence community, because then they don't have to choose one point of view over the other. If a president has to choose, he could choose wrongly, and the agencies whose views he overrode could be annoyed.

It makes a very big difference whether the majority or the dissenters are right about who is calling the shots in the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

But who is right?

The majority who say the Baathists are still in charge is large. But the dissenters — especially Army and Marine intelligence — represent the agencies in the best position to know what's going on on the ground in Iraq.

The position of the dissenters is close to that expressed in a report last August by Marine Col. Peter Devlin, chief of intelligence for Anbar province. And the CIA didn't exactly cover itself with glory in its prewar predictions. Have the CIA's sources improved? Are they better than the military's?

I don't know the answers to these questions. But I do know that finding them is critically important. Intelligence is the radar of policy. If our radar is busted — either because we lack the means to find out what is going on; the wit to understand it, or the guts to face it, our policy will be broken, too.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

Jack Kelly Archives

© 2007, Jack Kelly