Thomas Sowell

But many, if not most, of those in Congress who are now complaining loudly about intelligence failures are people who voted repeatedly to cut the budgets of the intelligence agencies and to restrict their operations. Senator John Kerry is just one of those who crippled these agencies and now complain that they were not effective enough.

Everyone today agrees that we are grossly deficient in the numbers of Arabic-speaking people available to intelligence gathering and analysis. But you cannot now create Arabic-speaking intelligence agents overnight. Neither CIA Director George Tenet nor President Bush can be made scapegoats for decades of neglect before they got to Washington.

Was the Iraqi war worth it and should we have gone to war if we had to do it over again, knowing what we know now? On net balance, yes.

Among the things that we know now is that you get cooperation in the Middle East after you have demonstrated your willingness to use force. Would Libya have revealed and dismantled its weapons of mass destruction if the Qaddafi regime had not seen what happened in Iraq? Would Syria and Iran have taken a more conciliatory attitude if they had not seen what happened in Iraq?

Negotiations are not a substitute for force. When international negotiations work, often it is because aggressors know what is going to happen if it doesn't work.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate