Intelligence reform still needed

Years after the Sept. 11 attacks proved that U.S. intelligence-gathering methods needed to be reformed, said reforms are still awaited. A new report issued Wednesday by a commission that had been hand picked by President George W. Bush concluded we had been “dead wrong” on Iraq. The report also raises questions about the intelligence the United States is now basing its newest foreign relations efforts in both Iran and North Korea on.

One could argue that Saddam Hussein was toppled in Iraq and this alone justifies any mistakes made along the way. But the problems run much deeper than the justification for the war that we now know was so far off the mark it is frightening.

It is proven beyond a doubt that Saddam’s regime had nothing to do with the attack of Sept. 11, nor had he actively worked with terrorist organizations since the first Gulf War ended. Neither were weapons of mass destruction pointed at Europe and Israel, making the “mushroom cloud” invoked by members of the Bush administration impossible.

Through basing the case for war on shoddy intelligence, the credibility of the United States has suffered tremendously. President Bush calling the intelligence “darn good intelligence” even while evidence to the contrary was reported on a practically daily basis made the matter worse. Other countries will not gather under the banner of the United States if the intelligence presented to them is not credible.

Stubbornly sticking to his guns in order Bush won re-election, but the damage done to our credibility was compounded.

Meanwhile countries such as North Korea and Iran have proliferated their access to nuclear weapons. The commission concluded, “The flaws we found in the intelligence community’s Iraq performance are still all too common.”

The report by the commission proved this point more than previous ones. The commission had been hand picked by president Bush to avoid harsh criticism, but the shortcomings were so large that even the commission could not avoid them.