Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Once again, Marine Corps Intelligence steps in it

“I’ll take Iraq War for 100, Alex.”

“A carefully considered statement based on the finest intelligence minds in the Marine Corps looking at all available reports filtered through level headed analysis.”

“What is a wild ass guess?”


 9 April 2007 we were treated to this headline in the Washington Post: "Anbar is lost politically!" Marine analyst Col Pete Devlin says. Based on the good Colonel’s extensive experience, keen acumen and supposed level headedness, he came to a conclusion that was instantly hailed by half the blogosphere. Read the apocalyptic language: "We haven't been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically -- and that's where wars are won and lost." “Not only are military operations facing a stalemate, unable to extend and sustain security beyond the perimeters of their bases, but also local governments in the province have collapsed and the weak central government has almost no presence.”

But it turns out, the assessment of the intel weenie was not shared by the operators and decision makers or, for that matter, by the terrorists. It is one thing when the Commandant of the Marine Corps says your analysis is wrong. When asked about Col Devlin’s assessment that Anbar was lost, the Commandant said a couple of days later: "I think Colonel Devlin was wrong."

It is another thing when the Commander in Chief calls you out. Listen to the President on Labor Day from Anbar: “Anbar is a huge province. It was once written off as lost. It is now one of the safest places in Iraq.” Who wrote it off? Marine Intelligence, personified by Col Devlin. Who ignored the “intel” and won in Anbar? Marines. Kind of makes you wonder why Marine intel is in the business of making big sweeping geopolitical pronouncements. And kind of makes you wonder why some still have their jobs.