From Publishers Weekly
American Enterprise Institute adjunct fellow Mylroie (coauthor, with Judith Miller, of Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf) here contends that the CIA and State Department, motivated by bureaucratic self-interest and a wrong-headed theory of terrorism that focuses on independent terrorist networks rather than terrorist states, have obstructed the investigation into the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. Fortunately, President Bush is "an actual hero" who pushed ahead with the invasion of Iraq despite the intelligence bureaucrats' efforts to undermine him with nay-saying leaks. Mylroie's thesis hinges on her demonstration of a compelling case pointing to Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction and sponsorship of Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, this mainly amounts to a rehash of the Bush Administration rationale for war that has generated so much skepticism. What new information she does offer is usually a matter of suppositions, probabilities and "suggestive leads." Particularly weak is her attempt to link Saddam to the 2001 anthrax attacks, which rests on a few cryptic Iraqi media statements and a process of elimination. As for the failure to find any WMDs in Iraq, she can only speculate that they were hidden, sent abroad or "destroyed in a final, cunning act of revenge." Ostensibly an expose of intelligence failures in the war on terrorism, the book itself offers mostly murky intelligence.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
As the subtitle suggests, Mylroie claims the CIA and the U.S. State Department (among other bureaucracies) systematically discredited vital intelligence about the threat of violence from Iraq and, in particular, about Saddam Hussein's own intentions. It seems, on the surface, an unusual claim, but the author, who advised Bill Clinton on Iraq during his 1992 presidential campaign, marshals a lot of persuasive evidence. She demonstrates how important proof of danger from Iraq was dismissed by the federal government, in large part a result of the ill-conceived notion that, after the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center, state-sponsored terrorism against the U.S. was no longer a going concern. The book chronicles President Bush's run-ins with the bureaucracies of his government and documents the "massive intelligence failure" in the 1990s that culminated in the September 11 attacks. "George W. Bush was absolutely right," Mylroie writes, "there was no choice but war." It is a conclusion that some will not support, both here and abroad, but it is argued well. A key document in the ongoing policy debate. David Pitt
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