Flights of Fancy

In short, the failure of the system goes both ways, if not multiple ways. As a result, it is unfair to single out Jews for the failures of the system in recent years, given the fact that almost 100 percent of executive and leadership positions in the corporate organizations and structures which run our system are occupied by white males. Moreover, Jews have long been used as instruments or political footballs for colonial and imperial policies, as have Muslim women for instance. Thus, the experience of Jews being used as instruments or political footballs for colonial and imperial policies predates the experience of such instrumentalization and politicization which Muslim women have gained in recent times. And mentioning the effect and impact of the instrumentalization and stereotyping which Muslim men had to endure from such policies is another issue. 

Jews, quite frankly, were not the ones to tell Washington to spend billions of dollars a week in Afghanistan for twenty years. As a result, the failure is a failure of intelligence and a lack of intelligence rather than the failure of a particular cultural, racial, or religious group. And arguably, the core issue is the system being converted into a vehicle for “flights of fancy” as well as adventurism and aimless wars, which in turn requires a deeper explanation than mere antisemitic tropes and the pinning of blame on just one group. For years now, various institutions in the American political system have not established full trust in the capabilities of American intelligence, even though the failure of intelligence cannot be fully attributed to American intelligences agencies themselves. And there is a broader, deeper, and teleological explanation for it, as we have evinced up until this point. 

As a result, American intelligence needs reform and innovation, and sooner rather than later. Douglas London, a former CIA analyst, wrote: “The tradecraft innovations required means challenging our beliefs and existing practices with provocative new approaches not restrained by the egos of the CIA’s ruling elite, who since 9/11 only entertained ideas that aligned with their own.” He added:

“It’s time for many such senior officers to move on as the CIA concurrently addresses how better to recruit, develop, and nurture talent. The CIA will have to step back and strategically focus itself in order to align resources and capabilities with its mission based on the hierarchy of threats America faces, and not political rhetoric or partisan pandering.” 

London also rightly argued that diversity and inclusivity as well as public buy-in and public support for the various missions of American intelligence will be a boon rather than a liability for American intelligence. Full-on secrecy can be altered or calibrated at times so that the American public engages with the system and in turn offers their support to the direction and the missions which American intelligence will take up in the future. London also rightly noted that the failure of American intelligence stems largely from a “lack of imagination” to put it simply. Hence, everything from recruitment and resource management to missions and strategy need a reassessment and reevaluation as well as reform and innovation on the part of American intelligence amidst what is now a turning point in American history, given America’s gradual but sure departure from a brief but nevertheless consequential colonial and imperial past to what will most likely be a complex and global future, albeit a future ridden with a certain level of paradox and uncertainty. 

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