On reading Amy Goodman’s interview with the investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, ‘1968, Forty Years Later: My Lai Massacre Remembered by Survivors, Victims’ Families and US War Vets Vets’, Hersh quotes bad intelligence as one of the reasons for the atrocities commited by Charlie Company in My Lai, Vietnam; on March the 16th 1968 the members of Charlie Company arrived in My Lai and opened fire murdering some 500 women and children. They were not under attack but they had expected that they would be engaging the enemy. Having spent some ten weeks on patrol and losing some 20% of the company through sniper fire and mines, they had been told that the vietcong were in My Lai. The intelligence was faulty, there was no vietcong in the village but Charlie Company had been given their orders; on a ‘search and destroy’ mission, nerves frayed, they were ready to kill. The intelligence was just not very intelligent. http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/17/1968_forty_years_later_my_lai
The jury is out on the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade although having read an article in “the Guardian” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1999/oct/17/balkans
, I am more inclined to think that when the intelligence community is intelligent, it can be conveniently ignored and then blamed and used as a scapegoat to serve the needs of its political masters. The evidence would seem to suggest that this happens time and time again. For although the Senate Intelligence Committe published a report in 2004 saying that the CIA overstated the threat from WMDs, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3252000
, this does not indicate that Bush and Blair were misled. Firstly, cajoling and coersion were being used to bring the the intelligence community into line and, secondly, there was in fact enough information available to show that WMDs did not exist. Bush chose not only to ignore that information but indeed tampered with it, http://www.juancole.com/2005/05/secret-british-memo-shows-bush.html
. The evidence would seem to suggest that there is enough incriminating evidence to convict both George W Bush and Tony Blair of war crimes.
In My Lai bad intelligence was partly responsible for the deaths of some five hundred innocent men, women and children. In the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq the intelligence community was used to support government policy and when any real intelligence was provided it was at times ignored, at times abused and, if necessary, disorted. The murder of over a 100,000 people was facilitated.
The picture above is from inside the CIA Headquarters at Langley, Virginia.