Team B Wins Again:

Competitive Intelligence Assessment in the Bush National Security Strategy1


Paper presented at the 2003 AFA/NCA Argumentation Conference

July 31-August 3, 2003; Alta, UT


Gordon R. Mitchell2


Did President George W. Bush lie to justify war against Iraq? A mighty struggle is being waged in American public spheres about this question. Left-leaning politicians and commentators, who sense that President Bush’s “credibility gap” may be his political Achilles heel, seek to keep the question in the headlines and at the top of the public debate agenda. These critics’ voices grow more strident with each week that passes without discovery of Saddam Hussein’s mass destruction weaponry. On the other hand, Bush administration partisans dismiss the question as a political red herring, arguing that the greater good of Hussein’s ouster should overshadow minor blemishes (such as 16 stray words in the President’s State of the Union Address) that have emerged in the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These advocates counsel patience during the Pentagon’s search for lethal weapons and warn that the eventual and inevitable discovery of such military contraband in Iraq will expose war critics as unpatriotic opportunists.

 Such partisan argument formations yield patterns of public deliberation that tend to polarize discussion and suspend judgment on the government credibility issue until the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) reaches a definitive conclusion. In the interim, dueling charges of conspiracy and treason captivate public attention yet crowd out and defer deeper discussion of how prewar management of Operation Iraqi Freedom implicates salient policy issues regarding the Bush administration’s emergent doctrine of preventive war. Consequently, challenging topics such as the complex relationship between the Bush administration’s intelligence and intervention policies remain largely unexplored, even as “Iraq-gate” receives saturation media coverage. Theoretical insight afforded by argumentative analysis may shed light on this deliberative blind spot, since a key dimension of the Bush administration’s approach to handling intelligence data in preventive war decision-making involves a curious double gesture that claims to invoke argumentation as a method of inquiry, yet also shuts down argumentation as a critical practice. Historical study of this double gesture can elucidate common patterns of institutional discourse that recur diachronically and provide useful context for understanding the Bush administration’s emergent doctrine of preventive war.


Competitive intelligence analysis and the “Team B” concept


Academic debating is a method of intellectual inquiry that proceeds from the assumption that much can be learned when two sides present competing views on the same topic in organized forums of disputation (Branham, 1991; Hollihan & Baaske, 1994; Rieke & Sillars, 1997). In the intelligence community, a similar commitment to the heuristic value of dialectical exchange receives expression in “competitive analysis” exercises that pit groups of analysts against each other in contests to produce a superior intelligence product from the same pool of raw data. As in academic debating, the idea is that “estimative processes” can be made more rigorous when they are driven by the clash of competing ideas in a structured format (Freedman, 1986; Prados, 1982; Stack, 1997/1998).

One of the most infamous competitive intelligence analysis exercises took place in 1975, during a period of great turmoil for both the intelligence community and President Gerald Ford. With the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under siege after bruising congressional hearings on botched covert operations, and the Ford administration’s conciliatory policy of détente with the Soviet Union becoming a lightning rod for criticism from right-wing hawks, Ford reshuffled his cabinet on November 3, 1975, appointing Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, Richard Cheney as Chief of Staff, and George H.W. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). Shortly thereafter, DCI Bush approved a novel study of Soviet Cold War strategy. In this exercise, a “Team A” group of “insider” analysts, drawn from the ranks of the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was presented with intelligence data and asked to generate an assessment of the Soviet Union’s strategic military objectives. Another group, comprised of academics, retired military officers, and other “outsiders,” was designated “Team B” and tasked to generate its own independent assessment by sifting through the same data set (Lowenthal, 1992, pp. 47-49). Advocates of the competitive analysis exercise suggested that by engaging in dialectical clash, the competing groups could push each other to improve the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) process and produce a more reliable assessment of Soviet strategic military objectives.

During the exercise, Team A and Team B reached dramatically different conclusions regarding the Soviet military threat. While Team A largely reproduced the trajectory of analysis featured in previous NIEs, Team B argued that these NIEs “substantially misperceived the motivations behind Soviet strategic programs, and thereby tended consistently to underestimate their intensity, scope and implicit threat” (US CIA, 1976). Specifically, in formulating its predictions Team B looked beyond “hard” evidence of Soviet military capabilities and focused more on “soft” evidence derived from perceptions regarding Soviet intentions. This methodological difference yielded dramatically more alarmist estimations of Soviet military spending, bomber production, anti-ballistic missile capability, and technical progress in non-acoustic anti-submarine engineering. The split on this latter issue is telling. While Team A saw little risk of Soviet breakout in anti-submarine warfare capability, “Team B’s failure to find a Soviet non-acoustic anti-submarine system was evidence that there could well be one” (Cahn & Prados, 1993, emphasis added). As the Team B report explained, even though no hard intelligence data existed to establish extant Soviet capability in this area, “The implication could be that the Soviets have, in fact, deployed some operational non-acoustic systems and will deploy more in the next few years” (US CIA, 1976).

The gulf between the two assessments was not surprising in light of the fact that Team B was stacked with staunchly right-wing cold warriors. In addition to the Soviet hawk Richard Pipes, key Team B players included ideologues such as William von Cleave, Lt. Gen Daniel Graham, Paul Nitze and Paul Wolfowitz, several of whom were holdovers from the influential Committee on Present Danger, a group that succeeded in implementing many extremist planks of NSC-68 during the 1950s (see Newman, 2000). These seasoned Cold War veterans proved to be formidable debaters in the few times that the two teams met to compare findings. For example, Team A member Jay Kalner recalled that during one encounter, “We were overmatched. People like Nitze ate us for lunch” (qtd. in Cahn, 1998, p. 158). CIA official Sidney Graybeal reflected, “It was like putting Walt Whitman High versus the Redskins. I watched poor GS-13s and –14s [middle-level analysts] subjected to ridicule by Pipes and Nitze. They were browbeating the poor analysts. Team B was not constructive” (qtd. in Cahn, 1998, p. 158).3 According to former Director of Central Intelligence Stansfield Turner, the ideological bent of Team B members was a key factor that contributed to eventual failure of the competitive analysis exercise:


Team B was composed of outsiders with a right-wing ideological bent. The intention was to promote competition by polarizing the teams. It failed. The CIA teams, knowing that the outsiders on B would take extreme views, tended to do the same in self-defense. When B felt frustrated over its inability to prevail, one of its members leaked much of the secret material of the proceedings to the press. (Turner, 1985, p. 251)


Richard Lehman, former Deputy to the Director of Central Intelligence for National Intelligence, comments that Team B members “were leaking all over the place, as I say, putting together this inflammatory document” (qtd. in Kovar, 2000). Such leaks had palpable and lasting effects on public opinion and US Cold War policy. According to Senator Gary Hart (D-CO), “The Pro-B Team leak and public attack on the conclusions of the NIE represent but one element in a series of leaks and other statements which have been aimed as fostering a ‘worst case’ view for the public of the Soviet threat. In turn, this view of the Soviet threat is used to justify new weapons systems” (1978, p. 8). In the wake of the leaks, The Committee on Present Danger emerged re-energized from its Vietnam-era doldrums to intimidate advocates of superpower détente into submission and the stage was set for Ronald Reagan’s massive military buildup (Cahn, 1998; Warnke, 1999). As Hart (1978) reflected, the Team A-Team B exercise “did not promote dissent. To the contrary, it intimidated and stifled the expression of more balanced estimates of the Soviet threat” (p. 7). All of this took place while Team B’s alarmist prognostications about Soviet backfire bomber production, antimissile research and military spending were being disproved on the ground: “Neither Team B nor the multibillion dollar intelligence agencies could see that the Soviet Union was dissolving from within” (Cahn & Prados, 1993).


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. (Zakaria 2003).


Team B returns: The Office of Special Plans


After the fall of the Berlin wall, conservative commentators wrote glowingly about the Team B episode and periodically called for follow-on exercises in competitive intelligence assessment during the Clinton administration. Frank Gaffney, director of the Center for Security Policy, opined that “Now is the time for a new Team B and a clear-eyed assessment of the abiding Soviet (and other) challenges that dictate a continued, robust U.S. defense posture” (1990, p. F2). Similarly, columnist William Safire urged that “a prestigious Team B” be formed “to suggest an alternative Russia policy to Mr. Clinton” (1994, p. 25). From his academic post at Johns Hopkins University in 1996, Wolfowitz restated the rationale for using competitive argumentation and debate as tools of intelligence assessment: “The idea that somehow you are saving work for the policymaker by eliminating serious debate is wrong. Why not aim, instead, at a document that actually says there are two strongly argued positions on the issue? Here are the facts and evidence supporting one position, and here are the facts and evidence supporting the other, even though that might leave the poor policymakers to make a judgment as to which one they think is correct” (qtd. in Davis, 1996). Original Team B players Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz soon found themselves empowered to act on such suggestions when they returned to national office as part of President George W. Bush’s cabinet in January 2001.

Shortly after the September 11, 2001 airline attacks on the United States, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz set up a group of intelligence analysts in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) and ordered them to sift through information on Al Qaeda terrorist activity. The director of the OSP operation, Abram Shulsky, was familiar with competitive intelligence analysis, since he had worked on the staff of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee that reviewed the original Team B exercise during the Cold War. Following Wolfowitz’s lead in emphasizing regime change in Iraq as a key pillar in the U.S. war on terror, Shulsky’s group quickly set out to gather and analyze classified and unclassified data on Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, Iraqi opposition groups, and U.S. invasion strategies.

Meanwhile, the established intelligence agencies at the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon continued to produce assessments on Iraq for the White House, but these assessments placed greater stock in “hard” data and were more conservative regarding the Iraqi threat, while much of the OSP’s intelligence was “softer” hearsay evidence supplied by defectors, especially Iraqi National Congress chief Ahmad Chalabi. By the fall of 2002, “the White House had virtually dismissed all of the intelligence on Iraq provided by the CIA, which failed to find any evidence of Iraq’s weapons programs, in favor of the more critical information provided to the Bush administration by the Office of Special Plans” (Leopold, 2003). One Pentagon advisor who worked with OSP explained this development as the natural result of the superior arguing done by OSP officials in competitive debates against their counterparts from the established intelligence agencies: “Shulsky and Luti won the policy debate,” the adviser said. “They beat ‘em—they cleaned up against State and the C.I.A. There’s no mystery why they won—because they were more effective in making their argument. Luti is smarter than the opposition. Wolfowitz is smarter. They out-argued them. It was a fair fight” (qtd. in Hersh, 2003).

Where Cold War debates between Team B and the CIA/DIA turned on disputes regarding Soviet military spending patterns and nuclear strategy, the Iraq contests focused on arguments such as whether intelligence data proved that Saddam Hussein was attempting to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program. For example, Wolfowitz and OSP analysts urged President Bush’s speechwriters to insert the claim that Iraq had recently attempted to acquire 500 tons of uranium from Niger into an October 7, 2002 address at Cincinnati, Ohio. When CIA Director George Tenet objected to Deputy National Security Advisor Steven Hadley that the data supporting such a claim was not reliable, Hadley struck the reference from the speech.4 Yet OSP persisted in attempts to publicize the claim that Iraq sought uranium from Africa and eventually succeeded in getting similar language included in President Bush’s State of the Union Address in November 2002.

As the prewar public argument intensified, OSP’s size and influence grew. Shulsky hired “scores” of temporary “consultants” to help handle the surging workload.5 OSP’s role in the intelligence community also began to change. Rather than functioning as a Team B-type organization tasked to debate with existing intelligence services, OSP set up exclusive channels of communication designed to funnel intelligence directly to Vice President Cheney, his Chief of Staff Lewis Libby, and Hadley. According to congressperson David Obey (D-WI):


That office [OSP] was charged with collecting, vetting and disseminating intelligence completely outside of the normal intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears that information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the national security council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than political appointees. (qtd. in Borger, 2003)


OSP’s breakaway from the established intelligence community jettisoned the dialectical checks built into the competitive intelligence assessment process and shut down constructive dialogue within the intelligence community. As New York Times columnist Bill Keller (2003) observed, “When Team B seems to have the blessing of the boss, it goes from being a source of useful dissent to being an implement of intimidation.” In this more partisan role, OSP officials “leaked some of the claims to the press, and used others as a stick with which to beat the CIA and the state department analysts, demanding they investigate the OSP leads” (Borger, 2003; see also Boehlert, 2003). This exclude-and-intimidate strategy not only colored Bush administration public arguments regarding Iraqi threat assessments; it also left a clear mark on official plans for postwar reconstruction in Iraq. OSP data, procured from Chalabi, suggested that American troops would be hailed as liberators after invading Iraq, and that the bulk of reconstruction duties could be turned over quickly to a new Iraqi government. Top Bush planners accepted this data enthusiastically and signed off on OSP’s reconstruction plan, effectively cutting out of the policy-making loop CIA and State Department analysts who questioned Chalabi’s rosy assessments.6 Concomitantly, OSP leaks were used in public spheres of deliberation to discredit officials such as Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, then-Army chief of staff, who told Congress he thought several hundred thousand U.S. soldiers would be needed for the reconstruction job. Wolfowitz subsequently pilloried Shinseki in public, calling his testimony “wildly off the mark” and using the OSP analysis to argue that far fewer U.S. troops would be needed to win the peace (Schmitt, 2003, p. A1).7 Wolfowitz has since acknowledged that the assumptions driving his criticisms of Shinseki “turned out to underestimate the problem” (Slevin & Priest, 2003, p. A1).


Preventive war and Team B intelligence - a volatile mix


The fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad’s Firdos square on April 9, 2003 was hailed widely as evidence validating the wisdom and effectiveness of the Bush administration’s new doctrine of preventive war. Under the terms of this doctrine, spelled out in the November, 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS), “we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country” (US White House Office of Homeland Security, 2002).8 While some commentators describe the NSS as a watershed policy instrument comparable in significance to NSC-68, Bush administration officials are keen to play down the “newness” of their emergent defense posture.9 As National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice (2002) observed recently, “Preemption is not a new concept.” Indeed, Article 51 of the UN Charter recognizes a national right to “anticipatory self-defense,” one that has been invoked numerous times by nations facing imminent attack. A frequently cited example is Israel’s preemptive strike to open the 1967 Six-Day War. That case, however, differs from the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, because Egypt’s massive deployment of troops in the Sinai and closure of the Straits of Tiran presented clear evidence of an impending Arab intervention of Israel, whereas no evidence of imminent Iraqi attack on the United States was proffered by American officials to justify Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Bush administration’s new doctrine goes beyond traditional military preemption by asserting an American prerogative to strike first even if “uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack” (US White House Office of Homeland Security, 2002). It is one thing to mount aggressive self-defense against an enemy force that constitutes a clear and present danger. It is another matter to strike a potential enemy who is suspected of plotting an attack at some unspecified location and time. The latter case is more accurately described as preventive – not preemptive – war.10

Preventive warfare not only strains the boundaries of international law; it also magnifies the danger that faulty intelligence assessments can trigger accidental military first-strikes, since the threat threshold for preventive intervention is much lower than the traditional “imminent threat” standard for preemption. Seen in this light, the Bush administration’s initial moves after 9/11 to maximize the rigor of U.S. intelligence analysis by reviving Team B-style competitive assessments seems prudent. However, as in the case of the 1976 Team B study on Soviet strategic objectives, the 2002-2003 exercise in competitive intelligence assessment failed to live up to its potential as a constructive debating tool. Instead of sharpening the quality of intelligence analysis throughout the government by promoting challenging inter-agency argumentation, the Office of Special Plans compartmentalized itself and set up private channels of communication to the White House, thereby excluding traditional intelligence agencies from foreign policy decision-making on Iraq. In turn, White House officials selectively leaked questionable OSP data to undermine mainstream intelligence analysis and discredit war skeptics who interfered with the inexorable march toward an American military first strike. With productive debate stifled both within government circles and in public spheres, the cloistered OSP parroted Ahmad Chalabi’s biased predictions and convinced top Bush officials and citizens alike that U.S. soldiers would be greeted as liberators when they rolled into Iraq. The steady stream of American casualties from the unexpected guerilla war that ensued is perhaps the most vivid evidence to date of how Team B intelligence failures can magnify the preventive war doctrine’s most dangerous aspects. But this may just be the tip of the iceberg – there are other pitfalls lurking down the road in a world where the volatile combination of Team B intelligence and preventive war persists in its current form. One potential pitfall involves the policy consequences flowing from the delegitimation of non-military approaches to WMD prevention, while a second possible trap relates to security complications stemming from world-wide modeling of America’s coupling of preventive warfare with Team B intelligence strategies.

Political scientists Keir Lieber and Robert Lieber (2002) are right to point out, contra many left-leaning critics, that the Bush NSS does not necessarily represent “unabashed unilateralism befitting a Texas Lone Ranger” since part of the Bush strategy aims to stem the tide of terrorism and shore up political legitimacy for non-military preventive security approaches, by bolstering multilateral arms control regimes and winning the hearts and minds of allies and foreign publics. In this sense the Bush approach echoes Cato analyst Ivan Eland’s (1998) view that the most promising anti-terrorism measures aim to counter resentments that motivate terror and use multilateral cooperation to stanch the flow of materiél enabling terrorists to use weapons of mass destruction (see also Nye 2003, p. 47). Preventive measures such as public diplomacy, export controls, reassurance, cooperative oversight, and intelligence sharing have great potential in this regard.

Yet after Operation Iraqi Freedom, there is now a strong historical record of Team B intelligence exercises undercutting precisely these non-military approaches that the Bush NSS says are so important. During the Cold War, Team B leaks underwrote the Committee on Present Danger’s successful campaign to scuttle superpower arms control talks and kibosh cooperative threat reduction exercises with the Soviet Union. What goes around comes around. In the latest Team B episode, OSP systematically undermined efforts by international organizations such as the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency to contain and prevent the Iraqi threat through non-military means such as international arms inspections and export controls. In large part this rhetorical campaign received momentum from OSP leaks that purported to establish new and fresh evidence of Iraqi efforts to reconstitute its nuclear program. This evidence, including data that Iraq recently sought to buy uranium from Africa and had recently imported aluminum tubes for the purpose of uranium enrichment, served an enthymematic function by leading audiences to conclude that existing non-military forms of preventive nonproliferation were not working, leaving military force as the only viable option of last resort. It now turns out that this allegedly fresh and new evidence of an Iraqi weapons buildup, like much of OSP’s data (as well as 1976 Team B’s evidence on Soviet strategic objectives) was highly questionable, and that IAEA inspections were in fact working much more effectively than portrayed by Bush administration officials (see Cortright, et al., 2003).

Should this pattern become ingrained through habit or deliberate policy, Pentagon options for dealing with the dangers of WMD proliferation will narrow precipitously in the future. The space for international cooperation and diplomacy will shrink. Military force, long thought to be a strategy of last resort, will become an option of first necessity in a world where alternate approaches of prevention are discounted as politically infeasible. Such policy outcomes may seem benign in the blush of victory after Operation Iraqi Freedom, which many commentators laud as an exemplar of how dominant American military power can make up for political shortfalls in U.S. diplomacy. However, such a sanguine view overlooks the fact that the most challenging security threats on the horizon cannot be addressed effectively with overwhelming military force. Seen in this light, “Pre-emptive [military] actions are the result of policy failures, not the triumph of superior virtue or strategic reason” (Steinbruner 2003).

Biological weaponry serves a chilling case in point. As Steinbruner (2003) explains, “Under prevailing circumstances of access, it would be impossible to identify and disable all dedicated terrorists and rogues before they have accomplished nefarious deeds, and it would be foolish to attempt to do so by national military operations. A campaign of that sort conducted by the United States under the doctrine of coercive pre-emption is more likely to stimulate the destructive application of biotechnology than to prevent it.” Steinbruner’s point deserves repeating: preventive military interventions launched to counter biological weapons are likely to stimulate, not neutralize, the biological weapons programs of U.S. adversaries.11

Such a long-term view of the 2002 Bush administration NSS elucidates other dimensions of the strategy that warrant concern. If the U.S. begins to rely on preventive warfare as a preferred policy instrument, other nations are likely to model American behavior and invoke the Bush NSS precedent to legitimize their own military interventions. Brookings analysts Ivo Daalder, James Lindsay and James Steinberg (2002) note that the dangers of this modeling effect could be pronounced by the fact that the Bush NSS does not lay out a clear set of criteria for determining what constitutes legitimate uses of preventive military force, as well as the perception that Team B intelligence practices in the U.S. serves as a green light for others around the world to manufacture dubious pretexts for aggression.


The Strategy’s silence on the circumstances that justify preemption raises another and more likely danger: countries will embrace the preemption argument as a cover for settling their own national security scores, as Russia has already hinted at with Georgia. As Henry Kissinger has argued, “It cannot be either the American national interest or the world’s interest to develop principles that grant every nation an unfettered right of preemption against its own definition of threats to its security.” The Strategy recognizes this problem by warning nations not to “use preemption as a pretext for aggression.” But until the administration can define the line separating justifiable preemption from unlawful aggression in ways that will gain widespread adherence abroad, it risks seeing its words used to justify ends it opposes.


President Bush (2003) recently gave some ground on the State of the Union Address controversy, acknowledging that he should be held accountable for flawed intelligence data in the speech: “I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course. Absolutely.” Yet in the next breath, he minimized this concession by standing by the quality of intelligence used to justify Operation Iraqi Freedom: “I analyzed a thorough body of intelligence – good, solid, sound intelligence – that led me to come to the conclusion that it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power” (Bush 2003). This latter statement does not sound like it comes from a leader who recognizes that structural flaws in the prevailing competitive intelligence assessment process warrant careful review. Indeed, it appears that the Bush administration hopes that evidence of Iraqi WMD will be discovered soon so the intelligence data issue can be moved off the public agenda. While such a development would certainly provide a needed credibility boost for a president facing pointed questions about his trustworthiness, long-term U.S. national security interests could suffer if a spectacular revelation of hidden weaponry in Iraq serves as an excuse not to address seriously the calamitous potential built into a preventive war doctrine that is driven by Team B approaches to intelligence gathering and assessment.




(1) Portions of this essay grew out of a concept paper for a Working Group on Preemptive and Preventive Military Intervention, coordinated by William W. Keller and Gordon R. Mitchell at the Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, housed at the University of Pittsburgh.

(2) Gordon R. Mitchell is an Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh, CL 1117, 4200 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, (412) 624-8531,

(3) As Robert Reich explains, “when the two teams met again in early November to critique each other’s report, heated arguments ensued. According to almost all involved, this meeting was a debacle for the CIA. . . . The Washington Post reported that another team B participant said, ‘We licked them on a great number of points.’ And the New York Times quoted a CIA officer as saying, ‘It was an absolute disaster for the CIA’” (Reich 1989, p. 391).

(4) The White House has since acknowledged that the intelligence data proving the Iraq-Niger uranium link was based on forged documents, and that the claim of such a link should not have been included in President Bush’s State of the Union Address (Fleischer 2003). For discussion of how the Niger data was used in public appearances by other administration officials and how the White House admission of error points to a need for further investigation see Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity 2003; Waxman 2003.

(5) “They including like-minded lawyers, congressional staffers, and policy wonks from the numerous rightwing thinktanks in the US capital. Few had experience in intelligence” (Borger, 2003). Borger also quotes an unnamed intelligence source as saying that at one time, OSP had “over 100” of such employees on its payroll, working “off the books, on personal service contracts” (Borger, 2003).

(6) “The small circle of senior civilians in the Defense Department who dominated planning for postwar Iraq failed to prepare for the setbacks that have erupted over the past two months. The officials didn’t develop any real postwar plans because they believed that Iraqis would welcome U.S. troops with open arms and Washington could install a favored Iraqi exile leader as the country’s leader. The Pentagon civilians ignored CIA and State Department experts who disputed them, resisted White House pressure to back off from their favored exile leader and when their scenario collapsed amid increasing violence and disorder, they had no backup plan” (Landay & Strobel, 2003).

(7) According to Robert Dreyfuss (2003), Rumsfeld’s parallel criticism of Shinseki was also supported by OSP data: “‘The same unit [the Office of Special Plans] that fed Chalabi’s intelligence on WMD to Rumsfeld was also feeding him Chalabi’s stuff on the prospects for postwar Iraq,’ said a leading US government expert on the Middle East. . . . Rumsfeld’s willingness to accept that view led him to contradict the Chief of Staff of the US Army [Shinseki], who predicted that it would take hundreds of thousands of troops to control Iraq after the fall of Baghdad, a view that seems prescient today.”

(8) See also United States, Department of Defense (2002). Precursors to the key Bush National Security Strategy documents include a 2000 private think-tank report and a 1992 Pentagon Defense Planning Guidance document On the Defense Planning Guidance document see Tyler, 1992. The influential think-tank article published by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) is Donnelly, et al. (2000). Close examination of this paper trail elucidates how Wolfowitz’s role as co-author of both key planning documents establishes his prominence as a creative patron of preventive war. As historian John Lewis Gaddis chronicles, the National Security Strategy implements the very strategic concepts that Wolfowitz has been propounding for more than a decade (Gaddis, 2002). On the link between the PNAC report and current Bush policy, see Bookman (2002). For a reply from a PNAC report author that questions Bookman’s account and highlights the role of 9/11 in driving Bush administration security thinking, see Kagan (2002).

(9) For discussion comparing the 2002 National Security Strategy with NSC-68, see Gaddis (2002). On NSC-68 generally see Gaddis (1982) and Newman (2000).

(10) Francois Heisbourg (2003) argues that maintaining a clear distinction between preemptive and preventive war is one of the most crucial challenges in implementing successfully a post-9/11 security strategy: “[M]isusing the two terms is to confuse the public debate in the international arena, inviting a confluence of strategic worst-case analysis and political anti-U.S. sentiment by both U.S. allies and adversaries. Such confusion can undermine mutual confidence and trust among U.S. allies and partners while also increasing the domestic and international margin for political maneuvering by U.S. adversaries when contemplating radical countermeasures, thus easing the way for all states with which the United States interacts to make dangerous and destabilizing decisions” (p. 79).

(11) John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt (1999) make a similar point regarding information security and cyberwarfare.


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