"There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular."..........
~Willaim Kristol, April 4th, 2003
It's a very useful rule of thumb in foreign affairs to simply assume that the neocons are wrong no matter what, because they are always wrong about everything.We have often discussed that when it comes to Iraq, and now Iran, the neocons have always been wrong - always. Digby reminds us that they have always been wrong much longer - since Scoop Jackson was trying to push fighters from Boeing. Go read the entire post but this gives you an idea of how long they have always been wrong.
Digby, December 4th, 2007
Fareed Zakaria addressed this phenomenon a few years ago in a column in Newsweek:For decades some conservatives, including many who now wield great influence, have had a tendency to vastly exaggerate the threat posed by tyrannical regimes.This wasn't the first time politicians exaggerated a threat, of course; the famous "missile gap" in the 1960 race turned out to be more than a tad overstated. but there have been few factions in world history who have been so consistently wrong about every hysterical alarm they've raised.
It all started with the now famous "Team B" exercise. During the early 1970s, hard-line conservatives pilloried the CIA for being soft on the Soviets. As a result, CIA Director George Bush agreed to allow a team of outside experts to look at the intelligence and come to their own conclusions. Team B--which included Paul Wolfowitz--produced a scathing report, claiming that the Soviet threat had been badly underestimated.
In retrospect, Team B's conclusions were wildly off the mark. Describing the Soviet Union, in 1976, as having “a large and expanding Gross National Product,” it predicted that it would modernize and expand its military at an awesome pace. For example, it predicted that the Backfire bomber "probably will be produced in substantial numbers, with perhaps 500 aircraft off the line by early 1984." In fact, the Soviets had 235 in 1984.
The reality was that even the CIA’s own estimates--savaged as too low by Team B--were, in retrospect, gross exaggerations. In 1989, the CIA published an internal review of its threat assessments from 1974 to 1986 and came to the conclusion that every year it had "substantially overestimated" the Soviet threat along all dimensions. For example, in 1975 the CIA forecast that within 10 years the Soviet Union would replace 90 percent of its long-range bombers and missiles. In fact, by 1985, the Soviet Union had been able to replace less than 60 percent of them.