SLOPPY BROCHURE? It is worth reading this NYT editorial, “Wanted: Scarier Intelligence,” on the strangely amateurish, hyped-up House Intelligence committee report (.pdf) on the strategic threat posed by Iran:
[The report] is partly a campaign document, a product of the Republican strategy of scaring Americans into allowing the G.O.P. to retain control of Congress this fall. ….
But even more worrisome, the report seems intended to signal the intelligence community that the Republican leadership wants scarier assessments that would justify a more confrontational approach to Tehran. …
It?s obvious that Iran wants nuclear weapons, has lied about its program and views America as an enemy. We enthusiastically agree that the United States needs every scrap of intelligence it can get on Iran. But the reason American intelligence is not certain when Iran might have a nuclear bomb is because the situation is so murky ? not because the agencies are too wimpy to tell the scary truth.
If the Republicans who control Congress really wanted a full-scale assessment on the state of Iran?s weapons programs, they would have asked for one, rather than producing this brochure.
It’s a sloppy report, as the NYT, Sick, Yglesias and others point out. But its purpose wasn’t just to take a quick swipe at marshalling the facts in its favor. It’s a campaign document, a “brochure”, as the NYT put it. Is anyone in Congress doing any serious work on the Iran issue? Or by the way, on the Iraq issue? As the WP‘s Thomas Ricks said on a BookTV interview about his new book on the Iraq war, Fiasco, there has never been a war in the past century of American history in which there have been basically no hearings, no important investigations. Instead, we get this?