“C” SPEAKS….James Fallows, reporting from the Aspen Institute’s “Ideas Festival,” reports that Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s MI6, said today that he thought “just about everything in the American approach to the war on Islamic terrorism had been ill-conceived.” Fallows wants to hear more:
?Terrorism is an extreme form of political communication,? he said. ?You want to be sure that, in your response, you don?t end up amplifying the messages that terrorists are trying to convey.? This understanding, he said, explained why his country approaches counter-terrorism in so different a way from America?s.
That?s what I wanted to hear more about ? in what ways, exactly, he thinks the United States might have ?amplified? the Al Qaeda message, and what a different approach would look like.
OK, fine. I guess I want to hear more about that too. But what I’d really like to hear about is what exactly Dearlove meant when he told Tony Blair that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” after returning from a visit to the U.S. in the summer of 2002. And as long as we’re at it, I’d also be interested in knowing when he concluded that “hard evidence of WMD in Iraq would never be found.” After the war, presumably, but how long after?
But I suppose it would be rude to ask pointed questions like that at a fancy conference, wouldn’t it?