Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Pick Me! Pick Me!

David Brooks makes the case for politicizing the intelligence investigation commission. Science and analysis aren’t good enough, according to him; you have to have people who understand crazy people…and think like them. In other words,

When it comes to understanding the world’s thugs and menaces, I’d trust the first 40 names in James Carville’s P.D.A. faster than I’d trust a conference-load of game theorists or risk-assessment officers. I’d trust politicians, who, whatever their faults, have finely tuned antennae for the flow of events. I’d trust Mafia bosses, studio heads and anybody who has read a Dostoyevsky novel during the past five years.

Which, according to Lambert over at corrente, would include Saddam Hussein.

Most of all, I’d trust individuals over organizations. Individuals can use intuition, experience and a feel for the landscape of reality. When you read an individual’s essay, you know you’re reading one person’s best guess, not a falsely authoritative scientific finding.

So when the president names the members of intelligence review commission, I hope he won’t just select people who are products of the old methodology. I hope he’ll pick people who will fundamentally rethink intelligence. And I hope he’ll throw in a few political hacks, just for a little reality.

It sounds to me as if Brooks is angling for a spot on the commission himself. When it comes to political hacks, he’s the first hog to the trough.