Are we safer than we were March 19, 2003?
September 20, 2008 9:42 PM   Subscribe

Is there a single independent security analyst who has stated that [s]he thinks that the US is safer than it was before the start of the Iraq War?

Please don't try to tell me what you think of the war. I don't really care. I just want to know if an independent security analyst (as in, not someone working in the White House and not someone who was a Clinton speech writer) thinks that America is safer now than it was in 2003 before the start of the Iraq War.
posted by Autarky to Law & Government (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
CIA Chief Michael Hayden. He was a career Air Force officer, now retired, and was first selected as NSA head by Bill Clinton, then selected for the job of CIA chief by George W. Bush.
posted by Jahaza at 9:59 PM on September 20, 2008

That is the same General Hayden who did not know that the Fourth Amendment contained the phrase "probable cause", just fyi.
posted by mlis at 10:10 PM on September 20, 2008

"No True Scotsman" fallacy may be a problem here.

Who's to judge whether a given security analyst is "independent"? And how? If your criterion is, in practice, that anyone who says "yes" must not be independent, then your question intrinsically contains its own answer.

I think the answer to your question is "yes", but I bet you wouldn't agree with me because you wouldn't agree that the security analysts I'd cite (e.g. Victor Davis Hanson, Ralph Peters) were truly "independent".
posted by Class Goat at 10:41 PM on September 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

(or that they are truly "security analysts"...)
posted by Class Goat at 10:42 PM on September 20, 2008

I disagree on hayden sharing this point of view.

al-qaida is not synonymous with 'national security risk' and the guardian/wapo articles are thus irrelevant to OP's question. it's an aspect and a symptom of a larger issue. in passing judgement on a specific organization hayden is in no way making a direct statement about the far more complex security of any nation. he is merely talking about one specific risk to that nation. hayden is also talking about al-qaida in two specific locations, a qualifier jahaza missed.

hayden has repeatedly been coy about passing judgement on matters of policy. his early charlie rose interview is a good indicator for how hayden does (and does not) argue. he very rarely voices his actual opinion beyond stating the facts and likes to leave the interpretation and drawing of conclusion to policymakers.

in this particular interview hayden seemed to go out of his way not to interpret national security as either improved or worsened but as an ongoing challenge to him and to make him into an advocate for either position seems mistaken to me.

I wished I could provide OP with a better example for an analyst who actually came to the desired conclusion (and there are some fascinating people doing research in this field, david kilcullen being one example) but I can't. it seems to me that the more respectable analysts rarely give such blanket assessments in the first place and instead see their roles as providing a basis for you to draw the appropriate conclusions yourself.
posted by krautland at 10:44 PM on September 20, 2008

[few comments removed - question is narrow and specific]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:46 AM on September 21, 2008

Victor David Hanson is excellent to second Class Goat. The guy has an unbelievable grasp of the classics and relating it to todays current situation, a true genius. I guessing though your looking for answers to back up your on personal theory....but without a doubt yes.
posted by TeachTheDead at 12:27 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

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