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Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy


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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations Preface 1. Introduction: A Comforting Explanation for Calamity 2. Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Iraq War 3. Alternative Visions of the Iraq War 4. Congress and the Politics of the Iraq War 5. Great Decisions and the Irrelevance of Intelligence 6. Politicization 7. Scapegoats and Spectator Sport 8. The Never-Ending Issue 9. Catharsis and 9/11 10. Responses to Catharsis 11. The Illusion of Reform 12. Real Reform 13. Adapting Policy to Uncertainty Notes Index

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In this book, Paul R. Pillar identifies and confronts the intelligence myths Americans have come to rely on to explain national tragedies. He revisits U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War and highlights the small role intelligence played in those decisions, and he demonstrates the negligible effect that America's most notorious intelligence failures had on U.S. policy and interests. He then reviews the events of 9/11 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, criticizing the 9/11 Commission and the George W. Bush administration for their portrayals of the role of intelligence. When it comes to reforming the current intelligence apparatus, Pillar encourages insulating intelligence management from politicization and reducing the politically appointed layer in the executive branch to combat slanted perceptions of foreign threats. He also proposes several principles for adapting foreign policy to inevitable uncertainties.

About the Author

Paul R. Pillar is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and at the Brookings Institution. He served in several senior positions with the CIA and the National Intelligence Council and is a retired army reserve officer. He is the author of Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy and Negotiating Peace: War Termination as a Bargaining Process.


[A] rich, useful, and important book. -- Thomas Powers New York Times Book Review A thoroughly documented, cogently argued work by an author with vast personal experience of his topic. Kirkus Reviews A vigorous and hard-hitting insider's account, -- Lawrence D. Freedman Foreign Affairs Pillar provides a telling and comprehensive new perspective from the inside. -- Steve Coll New York Review of Books This is a well-written effort by a former intelligence offer and academician. Hopefully, members of the national security community and their staffs will read and benefit from it. Choice Pillar's book is extremely detailed and informative, providing a better understanding of just how hard it is to be an intelligence professional in a world where all that matters is being wrong... once. -- James M. Burcalow Military Review Important and highly readable... This is a book that should be widely read by both the public and policymakers. -- Richard Harris The Manhattan Mercury

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