From The “No Duh” Department

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

USA Today reports:

CIA review faults prewar plans

By John Diamond, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — A newly released report published by the CIA rebukes the Bush administration for not paying enough attention to prewar intelligence that predicted the factional rivalries now threatening to split Iraq.

Policymakers worried more about making the case for the war, particularly the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, than planning for the aftermath, the report says. The report was written by a team of four former CIA analysts led by former deputy CIA director Richard Kerr.

"In an ironic twist, the policy community was receptive to technical intelligence (the weapons program), where the analysis was wrong, but apparently paid little attention to intelligence on cultural and political issues (post-Saddam Iraq), where the analysis was right," they write.

Matt Yglesius is right:

[I]t’s a bit silly. One hardly needed access to "prewar intelligence" to realize that Iraq contained several different ethnic and sectarian groups, that these groups had different visions of the country, and that there was likely to be a problem in this neighborhood. Nor is it especially fair to blame "the Bush administration" as such for failing to pay more attention to this issue. The administration should, of course, have paid more attention but so should the small army of pundits and so forth who were arguing about the war. As I say, secret intelligence and awesome cloak-and-dagger spying is hardly what’s at issue here — it’s a question of basic knowledge.