Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform

By Burcalow, James M. | Military Review, July-August 2013 | Go to article overview

Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform


Burcalow, James M., Military Review


INTELLIGENCE AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform

Paul R. Pillar, Columbia University Press, New York, 2011, 355 pages, $29.50

During the 11 October 2012 vice presidential debates, Vice President Joe Biden stated that the Obama Administration's initial responses to the 11 September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were based on the U.S. intelligence community's immediate assessments of what occurred. For two full weeks after the 11 September 2012 attacks, the administration placed most of the blame for the consulate attacks on a U.S. citizen-made video that purportedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed. Unfortunately, the day prior, the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform U.S. State Department personnel involved with the incident, directly contradicted the administration's initial response to the incident. Many immediate reactions to Vice President Biden's remarks were that he had thrown the intelligence community "under the bus."

In Paul Pillar's Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy, Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform, the primary theme is that U.S. political leaders selectively use intelligence to achieve and find excuses for achieving policy goals. In some cases (as in weapons of mass destruction and the Iraq War of 2003), Pillar accuses the George W. Bush Administration of making up its own intelligence and then blaming the intelligence community for getting it wrong. …

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