January 30, 2004

Taking Advantage of Amnesia

This David Frum diary entry got me to thinking. A correspondent suggests that the nature of intelligence might be of such ambiguous character that getting things as wrong as they seem to have been gotten in Iraq is a pretty common circumstance, that intelligence is more like reading tea leaves than any hard science.

What occurs to me is that with a couple of hundred years of history, it should be relatively easy to take important episodes of US intelligence where the decision makers had as ambiguous evidence as existed in Iraq and present such scenarios for people to issue their own judgments and see how well they did. This wouldn't work in a very historically literate populace but the historical amnesia of modern US popular culture works to advantage here. Think of it as something similar to America's Army but for intelligence analysis.

Posted by TMLutas at January 30, 2004 11:51 PM