Self-fulfilling Prophesies

Why did the same intelligence community overestimate the threat of Hussein’s Iraq then underestimate the threat of ISIL?

Simple. They’re human. They tailored their findings to their perceived expectations of the then President. Neither Bush nor Obama (nor the public) should blame them for catering to their expectations when each made his preferences so clear.

Then how do we get better intelligence? Elect a chief executive with enough integrity that his staff will tell him the truth, rather than what they think he wants to hear.

No, I can’t name a modern President who did that. Maybe Truman or Eisenhower, if you accept them as modern. Certainly not JFK or Nixon. I really don’t think Reagan or Clinton.

Integrity is an endangered specie inside the Beltway, perhaps due to lack of safe habitat.


2 thoughts on “Self-fulfilling Prophesies

  1. I’ve wondered about something else – the lack of good language skills and inability to really understand the mores, beliefs, and the nuances of the Middle Eastern countries which are so different from our own, and from the West. And not just the Middle East, but any country that’s “foreign to us.”
    Well, at least Obama admitted that our intel couldn’t predict what the Iraq military would do when ISIS stormed the country. Take off their uniforms and go home? Yikes.

  2. Before I was assigned to duty in Saudi Arabia in 1983, I attended a Middle East Orientation course at Eglin AFB, FL and read several books on the area: one titled “The Arab Mind” by Raphael Patai. (It’s still in print.) This all at the urging of the Air Force because I would be working directly with the Royal Saudi Air Force staff. I found that book dense, but still a valuable preparation because, no, they don’t think the same way we do.

    Conversely, I suspect they need a similar book to explain the Western mind, just as soon as someone figures us out. 🙂

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