War and the politicalization of intelligence


While his post is meant to be politically provocative and to allow me to play Devil’s advocate, I thought it would be worth thinking about the similarities and differences between the use of intelligence in the Gulf of Tonkin and the recent attack on our embassy in Benghazi.

I’ll let others fill in the blanks, but think about this. In 1964, we know that LBJ intentionally “cherry picked” the intelligence he wanted to make a case for war. He got conflicting information about the 2nd day of attacks (or lack of attacks, more accurately) in the Gulf and decided to make the case to the American people that the NV were attacking US ships now on multiple occasions and never said that the intelligence might be faulty or fuzzy. Clearly this gave the POTUS the political ammo he needed to make the case for war.

In the days immediately following the attack on our Benghazi embassy that killed 4 Americans, it now seems clear that there were conflicting stories or views on what was behind the attack. Some intelligence reports mentioned the role that the YT video attacking Islam could have played, and at the same time, there were reports that this was an organized terror attack. In fact, even the leader of Libya came out right after the attack and said that the video had nothing do with the attack. Yet the Obama administration still sent out Amb. Susan Rice onto TV to say “it’s all about a video,” even though that was certainly a questionable assumption, and now one that almost certainly is 100% false.

In the end, it’s clear that this gave the POTUS political cover (which hasn’t lasted) for any sense that his administration was bungling the WOT or the Libya intervention, not to mention the utter lack of security for our ambassador.

Thoughts? I hope some people will take me on and use this as a chance to challenge my case here.


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