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View Full Version : something stinks in the administration's intelligence analysis methods


zimv20
Aug 6, 2003, 06:55 PM
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH07Ak01.html


"That office [OSP] was charged with collecting, vetting, disseminating intelligence completely outside the normal intelligence apparatus," David Obey, a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, said last month. "In fact, it appears that the information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with the established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the National Security Council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than [Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld]."


While only a dozen people officially worked in the [OSP] at its largest, scores of "consultants" were brought in on contract, many of them closely identified with the neo-conservative and pro-Likud views held by the Pentagon leadership.


It also maintained close relations with the Defense Policy Board (DPB), which was then chaired by Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Feith's mentor in the Reagan administration. Perle and Feith, whose published views on Israeli policy echo the right-wing Likud party, co-authored a 1996 memo for then-prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu that argued that Saddam's ouster in Iraq would enable Israel to transform the balance of power in the Middle East in its favor.


In terms of Israel and Iraq, all primary staff work was conducted by political appointees

Desertrat
Aug 6, 2003, 08:18 PM
I believe that http://www.lewrockwell.com has a link to a compendium of Kwiatkowski's essays and columns. In one there is a link to many Pentagon-specific articles she's written.

Seems like a sharp lady.

'Rat

wwworry
Aug 6, 2003, 09:25 PM
It's what we have been hearing all along - they stake a position and look for evidence to justify it. They will either manipulate, censor or classify data when it does not support their neo-con views. This is typical of corporate liars.

zimv20
Aug 6, 2003, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by wwworry
This is typical of corporate liars.

among my many job hats was hiring for the company i used to co-own. my greatest lesson learned: what people have done in past jobs, they will continue to do after hire.

Desertrat
Aug 7, 2003, 07:31 AM
wwworry, it's not just Neocons. It's any group with an agenda outside the political mainstream. PETA, folks like the Clinton-staff gal they just caught (see WND, today), this particular batch of Neocons, many of the anti-gun crowd (VPC, e.g.)...

zimv20, you're surely righteous! Leopards ain't into the spot-changing routine.

'Rat

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 7, 2003, 09:42 AM
Rat - I read her essay on the neocon occupation. far different tone than that op-ed in the chronicle!

you're right, she seems very sharp. are there any other essays of hers on that site that you recommend?

Desertrat
Aug 7, 2003, 11:19 AM
I tend to go read through all the archives of somebody who gets my attention with any one article. I haven't yet done this with her, but I've read several. About all I can say is to gut up and go for it. :)

Another person worth reading, although there's a lot of repetition, is Hackworth. A current interview is quite explanatory: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0805-09.htm I can believe Hack on a good bit of his comments; our logistics support in South Korea during my tour of occupation duty in 1954/1955 differed only in that we did get mail...

'Rat

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 7, 2003, 12:29 PM
wow! that hackworth interview was pretty raw. they mentioned all the heat he took recently - has he gotten a lot of mainstream attention? i guess i haven't been paying enough attention. this quote from the field struck me:

My unit has been here since September and they have no light at the end of the tunnel.

this reminds me of some quote from tariq aziz a few years back, when asked if he saw the light at the end of the tunnel regarding sanctions: "we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. there is a tunnel after the tunnel."

Sayhey
Aug 7, 2003, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
I believe that http://www.lewrockwell.com has a link to a compendium of Kwiatkowski's essays and columns. In one there is a link to many Pentagon-specific articles she's written.

Seems like a sharp lady.

'Rat

Sorry, 'Rat, read the Kwiatkowski essay and it sounds like Libertarian silliness to me. In particular, it is just plain bad anthropology when she says:

"A thriving free market is the natural state of human association and human action. It is people inspired and free to create, trade and preserve things that have value to themselves and others, through an unrestricted, often indirect, access to millions of other unique and valuable people. A free market is not, as the reporter’s sentence intimates, a cultural quality, somehow found in the soil or water or gene pool of a particular vicinity. It is not something we have to plant and nurture like some hypersensitive orchid. If it were, of course the statement becomes even more asinine, as the Tigris Euphrates basin could teach the rest of the world a few things about the free market, given they have been doing it for thousands of years minus some relatively short-term interruptions by external conquerors and domestic socialist tyrants"

Free markets have nothing to do with the way most all of band societies operate. It is in these societies, that are closer to socialist types of economies, in which most of human history is organized. Not to say that market economies haven't proved to be highly efficient. Kwiatowski's ideological agenda gets in the way of some good observations.

Desertrat
Aug 7, 2003, 06:37 PM
Wasn't thinking of her non-Pentagon stuff, just her commentaries from within that Pleasure Dome. Expertise in one area does not guarantee expertise in another.

Movie stars come immediately to mind, of course. And lawyers...

Hackworth got disgusted with the way things were being done in Vietnam, with all the CYA and waste. He resigned his commission and spent the next 20 years in Australia. He came back to the states some five or six years (IIRC) back, and started writing columns for Soldier of Fortune magazine. He then started his website. He coined the phrase, "Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon", referring to the bureaucratic generals as opposed to the warrior generals. He's like Chesty Puller or Patton, putting the welfare of the grunts ahead of the welfare of the REMFs.

:), 'Rat

Sayhey
Aug 7, 2003, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Wasn't thinking of her non-Pentagon stuff, just her commentaries from within that Pleasure Dome. Expertise in one area does not guarantee expertise in another.

Movie stars come immediately to mind, of course. And lawyers...

OK, 'Rat, I'll try her Pentagon stuff. Funny how movie stars pop into the mind right now when thinking about the wisdom of your statement on expertise. I hope to not have to test out the truth of your wisdom come October.

Desertrat
Aug 8, 2003, 08:47 AM
Sayhey said, "Free markets have nothing to do with the way most all of band societies operate."

Well, yeah, internal to the band. It's when they deal with other bands that the free market comes into play.

As to the Tigris/Euphrates basin, the bazaar is indeed a free market, and that's where bazaars began. Today, we have flea markets, craft shows and garage sales. Everything else, some government agency adds to the cost.

A band society can survive socialism, or benefit from socialism, because it doesn't tolerate the sick/lame/lazy as permanent-condition voters. :) When you get well on toward 300 million people, socialism leads to bankruptcy.

'Rat

wwworry
Aug 8, 2003, 03:06 PM
The reason "free markets' thrived 3000 (??) years ago in the Tigris/Euphrates basin was because of the existence of government. Government set laws that allowed predictabilty of outcome, set monetary standards, had some sort of police so that the strongest would not just take what they wanted, etc.

There is no free "natural" market. It is a social construct. We have even seen that the concept of land ownership is not exactly "natural".

As for socialism, all governments are in some degree socialistic. They just differ in amount. There has been much demonizing of socialism without much thought given to the consequences of it's removal. I think there is a place in America for libertarians as a pole, just as socialists are needed to combat/feed and sustain libertarian ideals. Middle ground is enriched by both and others.

Sayhey
Aug 8, 2003, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Sayhey said, "Free markets have nothing to do with the way most all of band societies operate."

Well, yeah, internal to the band. It's when they deal with other bands that the free market comes into play.

As to the Tigris/Euphrates basin, the bazaar is indeed a free market, and that's where bazaars began. Today, we have flea markets, craft shows and garage sales. Everything else, some government agency adds to the cost.

A band society can survive socialism, or benefit from socialism, because it doesn't tolerate the sick/lame/lazy as permanent-condition voters. :) When you get well on toward 300 million people, socialism leads to bankruptcy.

'Rat

Internal to the band is how these societies survive - cooperatively. My phrase, "socialist types of economies" is probably not a good one. There is this tendency of people to look back into history and try and project back their values and ideas as "natural." Marx and Engels did it with their views on "primitive communism" and Libertarians do it with "free markets." In reality the type of organizations that band societies are structured around have little to do with modern capitalist or socialist concepts.

I agree with wwworry's observation that, "There is no free 'natural' market. It is a social construct. We have even seen that the concept of land ownership is not exactly 'natural.'" The diversity of cultural adaptions in forming societies are as varied as the number of cultures.

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 12, 2003, 06:58 AM
here's an oped from krugman in today's nytimes - relates to this. i'll post the whole thing since you need to register to read it.



August 12, 2003
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Thanks for the M.R.E.'s
By PAUL KRUGMAN


A few days ago I talked to a soldier just back from Iraq. He'd been in a relatively calm area; his main complaint was about food. Four months after the fall of Baghdad, his unit was still eating the dreaded M.R.E.'s: meals ready to eat. When Italian troops moved into the area, their food was "way more realistic" — and American troops were soon trading whatever they could for some of that Italian food.

Other stories are far worse. Letters published in Stars and Stripes and e-mail published on the Web site of Col. David Hackworth (a decorated veteran and Pentagon critic) describe shortages of water. One writer reported that in his unit, "each soldier is limited to two 1.5-liter bottles a day," and that inadequate water rations were leading to "heat casualties." An American soldier died of heat stroke on Saturday; are poor supply and living conditions one reason why U.S. troops in Iraq are suffering such a high rate of noncombat deaths?

The U.S. military has always had superb logistics. What happened? The answer is a mix of penny-pinching and privatization — which makes our soldiers' discomfort a symptom of something more general.

Colonel Hackworth blames "dilettantes in the Pentagon" who "thought they could run a war and an occupation on the cheap." But the cheapness isn't restricted to Iraq. In general, the "support our troops" crowd draws the line when that support might actually cost something.

The usually conservative Army Times has run blistering editorials on this subject. Its June 30 blast, titled "Nothing but Lip Service," begins: "In recent months, President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have missed no opportunity to heap richly deserved praise on the military. But talk is cheap — and getting cheaper by the day, judging from the nickel-and-dime treatment the troops are getting lately." The article goes on to detail a series of promises broken and benefits cut.

Military corner-cutting is part of a broader picture of penny-wise-pound-foolish government. When it comes to tax cuts or subsidies to powerful interest groups, money is no object. But elsewhere, including homeland security, small-government ideology reigns. The Bush administration has been unwilling to spend enough on any aspect of homeland security, whether it's providing firefighters and police officers with radios or protecting the nation's ports. The decision to pull air marshals off some flights to save on hotel bills — reversed when the public heard about it — was simply a sound-bite-worthy example. (Air marshals have told MSNBC.com that a "witch hunt" is now under way at the Transportation Security Administration, and that those who reveal cost-cutting measures to the media are being threatened with the Patriot Act.)

There's also another element in the Iraq logistical snafu: privatization. The U.S. military has shifted many tasks traditionally performed by soldiers into the hands of such private contractors as Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary. The Iraq war and its aftermath gave this privatized system its first major test in combat — and the system failed.

According to the Newhouse News Service, "U.S. troops in Iraq suffered through months of unnecessarily poor living conditions because some civilian contractors hired by the Army for logistics support failed to show up." Not surprisingly, civilian contractors — and their insurance companies — get spooked by war zones. The Financial Times reports that the dismal performance of contractors in Iraq has raised strong concerns about what would happen in a war against a serious opponent, like North Korea.

Military privatization, like military penny-pinching, is part of a pattern. Both for ideological reasons and, one suspects, because of the patronage involved, the people now running the country seem determined to have public services provided by private corporations, no matter what the circumstances. For example, you may recall that in the weeks after 9/11 the Bush administration and its Congressional allies fought tooth and nail to leave airport screening in the hands of private security companies, giving in only in the face of overwhelming public pressure. In Iraq, reports The Baltimore Sun, "the Bush administration continues to use American corporations to perform work that United Nations agencies and nonprofit aid groups can do more cheaply."

In short, the logistical mess in Iraq isn't an isolated case of poor planning and mismanagement: it's telling us what's wrong with our current philosophy of government.

Desertrat
Aug 12, 2003, 08:03 AM
"It's deja vu all over again!"

I was in charge of distribution of food to the batteries in my ack-ack battalion in Korea, '54-'55. A truckload would come in from QM at Yong Dong Po to Bn Hq, and I had to figure out how to split stuff five ways. Not easy when butter came in one-gallon cans--and you got four of them. Or how to split three fifty-pound bags of flour, five ways. (I got the job because I was the only peon in the outfit who could use a slide rule.)

Small-size boots were stolen out of the QM main warehouse and sold on the black market. Our Korean soldiers were commonly danged near barefooted in their wornout boots..."Back order."

Being shorted on toilet paper might sound funny--unless you've been there.

And today's WND has more from Hackworth, but it merely adds some more specifics to an unending list: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34043

Nothing's changed since Kipling wrote about Tommy.

'Rat

zimv20
Aug 12, 2003, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by Desertrat

Nothing's changed since Kipling wrote about Tommy.


as i mentioned earlier, the "it's always been this bad" arguments are sounding empty.

IJ Reilly
Aug 12, 2003, 10:51 AM
Cripes, just when I think it's gotten as bad as it can get, it always seems to get a little worse.

Incidentally, this same "privatization" deal is going down in the National Park Service. And why you ask? Certainly not because it's cheaper to provide the services this way. No, it's because federal employees are unionized and the unions support Democrats. The corporations who are replacing them make campaign contributions to Republicans.

Ah patronage, sweet patronage!

Desertrat
Aug 12, 2003, 11:29 AM
zim, tired or not, empty or not, facts are still facts. The problem is, nobody seems to have been able to fix it, no matter who promises to do so. I've been fortunate enough to get the occasional one-on-one with various elected types. I'll bring up some problem of this general sort. The standard answer seems to be, "Yeah, you're right, but..." Occasionally I've found that a bill to address a problem had already been introduced, but went nowhere in committee or sub-committee.

Damfino.

IJ, I live next to Big Bend National Park. SFAIK, the only privately-done work is in the Concessions--and that's been the case nationwide, for decades. (Plus such things as road or building construction.) Could you expound a bit?

'Rat

zimv20
Aug 12, 2003, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by Desertrat
zim, tired or not, empty or not, facts are still facts.

i don't want to dismiss any "always like this" argument out of hand, but it's been used an awful lot lately (and not just by you).

certainly, there's 'nothing new under the sun.' but to pretend things aren't bad because one has seen it before isn't a valid line of reasoning, imo.

some years, chicago has upwards of 1000 murders. that doesn't make the hundreds so far this year okay.

Desertrat
Aug 12, 2003, 03:06 PM
True, zim, but the tone is often that of "Oh! Isn't this horrible!" as though it's all brand new. More energy is expended in the "tut-tutting" than in possible options.

Maybe it's the sameness without change that's led to so much cynicism. You try and fight to correct stuff, and get all manner of good words--and nothing changes. It's frustrating.

All manner of promises during election campaigns, and I as a voter am supposed to be wise and knowing. After the election, the promises are forgotten and I'm treated as though I'm too stupid to pound sand.

What are we to do? Get all 300 million of us into fulltime politics?

:D, 'Rat

zimv20
Aug 12, 2003, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
True, zim, but the tone is often that of "Oh! Isn't this horrible!" as though it's all brand new. More energy is expended in the "tut-tutting" than in possible options.

Maybe it's the sameness without change that's led to so much cynicism. You try and fight to correct stuff, and get all manner of good words--and nothing changes. It's frustrating.

All manner of promises during election campaigns, and I as a voter am supposed to be wise and knowing. After the election, the promises are forgotten and I'm treated as though I'm too stupid to pound sand.

What are we to do? Get all 300 million of us into fulltime politics?

:D, 'Rat

all true, and i have no easy answers. it seems to me the voting public gets stupider all the time.

voting in schwarzenegger will seal it. if he refuses to state any concrete position and still gets voted in... wtf does _that_ say?

Desertrat
Aug 12, 2003, 05:57 PM
Rumor has it that living in California lowers one's IQ by two points per year. Possibly this election will prove it...

:D, 'Rat

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 12, 2003, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
voting in schwarzenegger will seal it. if he refuses to state any concrete position and still gets voted in... wtf does _that_ say?

let's not jump the gun just yet, but yeah, if this turns out to be the case, maybe i'll join george lucas and say that benevolent despot is the way to go.

IJ Reilly
Aug 12, 2003, 06:10 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
IJ, I live next to Big Bend National Park. SFAIK, the only privately-done work is in the Concessions--and that's been the case nationwide, for decades. (Plus such things as road or building construction.) Could you expound a bit?

Sure, some services at national parks have been run by concessionaires for literally a century now -- but this is new policy, Bush administration stuff. Type "privatization national park service" into google and you'll get lots of hits. You can start with this one. (http://www.sltrib2002.com/2003/Jul/07022003/utah/71840.asp)

Incidentally, I'm in a position to possibly make money off of this deal -- but it's money I don't want to make.

IJ Reilly
Aug 12, 2003, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by Desertrat
Rumor has it that living in California lowers one's IQ by two points per year. Possibly this election will prove it...

That's a common misquote of Truman Capote, who said, "It's a scientific fact that if you stay in California, you lose one point off your IQ every year."

Desertrat
Aug 12, 2003, 09:44 PM
Hmm. Thanks for the Truman Capote info. I had heard the 1% joke, but in recent years I've seen the 2% allegation. Enough. I gotta say I've enjoyed my visits and tours around California, and have some very good friends who live there. Gotta say I do get a raised eyebrow from the nature of its government and politics...

I have mixed emotions about some of the privatization, but based only on the isolated Big Bend National Park. Some, not all, of the Park Rangers there seem to love waving an M16 at the slightest provocation--and not an isolated instance. Others are what one would expect a Ranger to be and are friendly and helpful. Rent-a-cops with federal authority? I'd sure want to know their training; that's presently done at FLETC--but that place tends to inculcate an "us vs. them" attitude.

BBNP already uses non-fed folks in many of its nature programs and geological studies. Many of them are very highly qualified, based upon my own knowledge of their backgrounds. And, many of them work either part-time or for free.

Fire fighting is through the USFS; last major fire, the crew was from an Apache reservation in New Mexico. (A minor fire after that one was supposed to be a controlled burn. However, BBNP administrative types apparently don't understand that you don't set fires when a Texas Blue Norther is coming in. :rolleyes: )

I'll have to know more before I form any real opinion...

'Rat

IJ Reilly
Aug 13, 2003, 11:23 AM
I'm one of those qualified consultants who does contract work for federal agencies, including the Park Service. So since I could make some serious dough off this change, as a matter of pure self-interest, I probably should be in favor. But I'm not. For one, I seriously doubt whether, after all the bidding procedures and contract management costs are calculated in, that much if any money will be saved. Second, some jobs simply should not be awarded to the lowest bidder, and running the nation's national parks is one of them IMO.

But as I say, saving money is not what this is all about.