Paul Krugman writes today:
Do you remember when the C.I.A. was reviled by hawks because its analysts were reluctant to present a sufficiently alarming picture of the Iraqi threat? Your memories are no longer operative. On or about last Saturday, history was revised: see, it's the C.I.A.'s fault that the threat was overstated. Given its warnings, the administration had no choice but to invade.
A tip from Joshua Marshall, of www.talkingpointsmemo.com, led me to a stark reminder of how different the story line used to be. Last year Laurie Mylroie published a book titled "Bush vs. the Beltway: How the C.I.A. and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror." Ms. Mylroie's book came with an encomium from Richard Perle; she's known to be close to Paul Wolfowitz and to Dick Cheney's chief of staff. According to the jacket copy, "Mylroie describes how the C.I.A. and the State Department have systematically discredited critical intelligence about Saddam's regime, including indisputable evidence of its possession of weapons of mass destruction."
He's right -- and there's a bit more in An End to Evil, the book Perle recently wrote with David Frum. An excerpt:
The CIA's analysts could not emancipate themselves from the ideologically liberal assumptions they brought with them from their elite colleges [during the cold war]....
The CIA's reports on the Middle East today are colored by similar ideological biases -- exacerbated by poor understanding of the region's culture and a politically correct disinclination to acknowledge unflattering facts about non-Western peoples.
No, I'm not making that up.