Thursday, January 04, 2007
Used to whip me with a strap when I was bad:
I have a neoconservative friend who's haranguing me about my hatred of both Bush and Saddam. Similarly, Matt Yglesias has a very smart observation about the negative-sum wages of hawkishness. Apropos of all of this is a brief section from Joint Forces Command's study of Saddam Hussein, released last March. It recounts a harangue Saddam delivered to his inner circle shortly before the 1991 Gulf War:
America is a complicated country. Understanding it requires a politician's alertness that is beyond the intelligence community. Actually I forbade the intelligence community from deducing from press and political analysis anything about America. I told them that (this) was not their specialty, because these organizations, when they are unable to find hard facts, start deducing from newspapers, which is what I already know. I said I don't want either intelligence organization (IIS or GMID) to give me analysis -- that is my specialty... we agree to continue on that basis... which is what I used with the Iranians, some of it out of deduction and some of it through invention and connecting the dots, all without having hard evidence. (Italics in the original.)
So there you have it. Saddam comes from the neoconservative wing of the Ba'ath party. Bolstering Matt's point, Saddam's reasoning about an American response for a given course of action suffered from enormous cognitive biases that led him into severe miscalculation. It's stunning to see the foundational principles of Dick Cheney affirmed so starkly and directly by Saddam Hussein, but there you have it.

(Thanks to THFTNR reader JS.)
--Spencer Ackerman
i just read the continetti-yglesias debate and am left wondering:
1) khomeini ordered the embassy takeover?
2) why does anyone read the Standard?
Blogger larrybob | 10:49 AM

Being a neocon requires a certain amount of historical illiteracy.
Blogger Tequila | 2:48 AM