It's the day after the Super Bowl. The Pats won in a Thriller. The nation is abuzz with talk about Janet Jackson's exposed breast. (Bravo to Arthur for putting all of this in perspective!) And it's Groundhog Day, and we have 6 more weeks of winter ahead!
It's also a day on which President Bush is apparently green-lighting an inquiry into the intelligence-WMD fiasco; it will be interesting to see just how cooperative the administration will be in this endeavor. How many pages will be blotted out from how many documents? How many restrictions will be placed on access to classified material? How many guidelines will be issued on the timing of the release of this material after Election Day?
In any event, as we ponder today's intelligence gaps, it is interesting to read a bit about the intelligence efforts during the Cold War. As a postscript to yesterday's Randian point that"authoritarian states enshrined the rule of mediocrity and incompetence, surviving as parasites on freer nations," here's an interesting article by William Safire on"The Farewell Dossier." Whatever your views of CIA sabotage, the story makes one point very clear: The Soviets needed to engage in systematic stealing in order to get"the radar, machine tools and semiconductors to keep ... nearly competitive with U.S. military-industrial strength ..." (On the general impotence of the Soviet Union, see another fine Silber post, here.)
So much for innovation and creativity under communism.
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