Thanks to the always astute MoA blog for pointing out that for the estimated $72 billion per year the US government spends on intelligence gathering (the actual figure is classified and probably much higher), the US government is flying blind on what is happening in Iraq.
As the Washington Post reports:
In the same briefing, the [senior U.S. intelligence] official [who briefed reporters this week] disclosed that U.S. intelligence did not know who controlled Iraq’s largest oil refinery. And she suggested that one of the biggest sources of intelligence for American analysts is Facebook and Twitter postings.As MoA quips, "That is quite a lot of money for looking at amateur porn and digesting unintelligible short messages."
The U.S. spent nearly $72 billion on intelligence gathering in 2013, ...
Imagine all the $150k-plus per year intelligence analysts sitting in front of our Facebook and Twitter accounts all day long...
So the next time an opportunistic talking head or Congressional devotee of the national security state claims that we need to spend even more on worldwide intelligence collection (much of which seems to be focused inward at us), ask how well they are doing with the $72 billion they already consume.
Despite these enormous gaps in basic intelligence of what is happening on the ground in Iraq, the same neocons who urged the US government into this colossal error in 2003 are demanding a new US attack on the country. That makes sense: "we have no idea what is going on in Iraq, but let's bomb the place anyway!"