It’s now no stretch to assert the Iraq has not been the stunning success the optimists had hoped for, and may even be nearing the disaster the pessimists predicted. It’s easy to accept that reconstruction of Iraq was not well planned for and not well executed. Somewhere, at some level, mistakes were probably made.

A recent Senate Intelligence Subcommittee report suggests that the American intelligence community accurately predicted some of the troubles. The report does not go so far even as to assign blame, so why  are some republicans protesting the report? Why does it not provide a glimmer of hope that our analysts were able to understand the Middle East well enough to asses the impacts of American intervention?

The senators complain that it’s inappropriate for the report to disclose names. Why can’t the intelligence agencies make it known which policy makers received their (correct) predictions? In assessing where Iraq went wrong it seems appropriate to know who knew what when.

The only reason to suppress this information is to prevent blame from falling on Bush administration officials who presumably saw these reports but failed to act on them. Why exactly are republican senators still protecting the Bush administration? Bush’s popularity has and continues to plummet, most republican candidates are trying to distances themselves form him, especially on Iraq. For the success of the party and the good of the nation, republicans need to move beyond Bush. Does admitting that reconstruction was botched invalidate any of the President’s successes?

Blind party loyalty continues to slowly grind apart our congress. Legislation continues to stall or disappear in the partisan scuffles (for example the Iraq funding bill which took a month to negotiate into working form.) In such a closely divided congress, compromise will be necessary to effectively operate. Snowe and Rangle should be congratulated for coming across the isle to support the subcommittee report.

The other republicans who chose not to support need to evaluate what exactly they are fighting for. Closing rank around the Bush Administration’s prewar decisions will not help the Republican Party or the war in Iraq. The party should support transparency in an attempt to promote good decision making and to not repeat mistakes.

Our intelligence community has gotten a bad rap, and maybe most of it is deserved. However, this bright spot should be celebrated not hidden away in an attempt to protect those who had good information but failed to act on it.

See Michael Fields’ Blog at

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