The Corner

Investigate What, Exactly?

The military historian John Keegan–Sir John Keegan, mind you–has a fascinating piece in the “Daily Telegraph” today (click here). Having just completed a study of the uses of intelligence in warfare, Keegan wonders just what an investigation of the intelligence that Tony Blair received could possibly reveal. Which of course leads one to wonder just what an investigation of the intelligence that George Bush received could possibly reveal. Intelligence, Keegan argues, is always open to interpretation. During the Second World War, for example, the British received good intelligence that the Germans were developing a pilotless rocket. Churchill set up a committee to examine the intelligence. The committee decided it must be flawed. Why? Because a pilotless rocket was simply…impossible. As Keegan writes:

“More than 1,500 V2s landed on London, killing thousands, at a time when Hitler was also trying to develop a nuclear warhead. The whole pilotless weapons episode demonstrates that, even under threat of a supreme national crisis, and in the face of copious and convincing warnings, intelligence officers can disagree completely about the facts and some can be 100 per cent wrong.”

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