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EXCERPTS FROM HIDE AND SEEK

Iraq didn’t need to be this bad.  Still, something had to be done.  That much is clear. (Page ix)

A colleague of mine, the only other person I knew who could drive from one side of Baghdad to the other without getting lost, said with bitter disillusionment about our own government, “We are finding, fixing, and eliminating all pockets of cooperation.”  This was less than three weeks after Baghdad had fallen. (Page 10)

In the end, it is the responsibility of political leaders to judge what to do with the intelligence community mechanism and its products.  The Bush administration was inclined to use the CIA assessments of Iraq WMD—assessments that were largely incorrect.  On the other hand, the administration chose not to use the largely accurate CIA intelligence and assessments of the political situation in Iraq, especially as they related to support for opposition groups and postwar reactions.  The administration also challenged the assessment that Saddam was not connected to al-Qaeda.  And although it used CIA covert operations to facilitate the removal of Saddam, the administration blocked the agency from using its internal resources and knowledge in replacing Saddam. (Page 471)

…In the case of Iraq, the question that emerges from this consideration is, “Was there any other way to remove Saddam?”  In this case, the answer, as described above, is yes, but the U.S. government is not sufficiently dexterous or focused to accomplish lower cost, longer-term solutions. 

The conclusion is that American leaders and the American people must assume that a foreign policy objective must be so important that it is worth doing very badly--because it is probable that the U.S. government will, in the event, do it very badly.  Good intentions are not enough.  Our good intentions, when acted upon, have done much damage. (Page xvi-xvii)


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