The Pillar

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
If you haven't seen the name Paul Pillar popping up around the blogoshpere over the past few hours you will notice it soon enough. I noticed the name at American Thinker which pointed to Dinocrat and Malkin (as well as an earlier piece by their own Clarice Feldman) which pointed to Stop the NY Times and Powerline which pointed to older notices of the man at The Weekly Standard and Thomas Joscelyn.

You'll find links to WaPo and NYTimes articles as well as Mr. Pillar's book first published in 1999 and re-released in 2004. I expect Paul Pillar will be getting some attention over the next day or two so I went and googled him all for my little self. He get's around. A one man, inexhaustable advocate team for the Kerryesque (or perhaps the Pillar of the Kerryesque) idea of using the the domestic and international criminal justice system for "fighting" terrorism.

He's a Visiting Professor at the Georgetown Center for Peace and Security Studies, according to ZNET he "managed the writing of all NIEs on Iran from 2000 to 2005" and apparently charges that the Fear of U.S. Drove Iran's Nuclear Policy. He authored an article in Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Policy,and the War in Iraq, defending the Intelligence Community as the victims of the Bush administration's subltle pressures. You can find his recent book described at the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College and reviews, at Foreign Affairs, of his books Terrorism and US Foreign Policy and Negotiating Peace: War Termination as a Bargaining Process. He's no fan of using military forces for counterterrorism operations although he does acknowledge the effectiveness of doing so in Afghanistan which, he claims, was rather a unique situation.

The most interesting bit I found from the simple googling was the Statement of Paul R. Pillar to the Joint Inquiry of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence 8 October 2002. It is a minor masterpiece. Read it (and weep) for yourself. Dr. Pillar spends eight pages telling the SSCI about the various difficulties when it comes to collecting and analysing intelligence, the various failures over the years, the various bureaucratic changes and even breakthroughs, his "belief" that those have saved lives and matter a great deal despite the painful failures, the importance of acting against terrorists rather than getting too hung up on terrorists tactics and foiling operations and how we should all be very careful about making additional changes or putting too much blame on the intelligence community.

No doubt he's a very smart man. The seditionist Presse Ancienne just loves him like a cuddly ol' teddy bear they've been snuggling with for years and years.


CF said...

You have to admire him. Despite being consistently wrong, he has the nerve to assert that the mandarinate, not the elected executive, should determine foreign policy.

Knucklehead said...


I'm lovin' it! The ZNET article, in its essence, basically says the US shouldn't make Iran nervous and jerky. No matter that they've been a lunatic regime since '79 chanting "Death to the Great Satan" at every opportunity and taking any action they could concieve of to make us miserable. I spent a portion of my end time in the service on lock down alerts and practicing loading M60's onto C5s 'cause those assholes had siezed the soveriegn territory of our embassy. I'll pass on giving the bastards a pass.

In Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq Pillar opens with:

The most serious problem with U.S. intelligence today is that its relationship with the policymaking process is broken and badly needs repair.

Exactly, Doctor. You work for our elected officials. They make the policy, not you.

It just goes on and on. These over-educated, bureaucracy addicts honestly believe they own the nation and a president that doesn't do what they want should be run out of town on a rail.

Knucklehead said...

This Pillar guy is a memebot for the tranzis. It's like it never dawned on him that he works in and for the US, not the EU or the UN. Astonishing! (not really)

Skookumchuk said...


I know a woman who once worked for the CIA. She described it as half backstabbing faculty lounge, half Post Office.

No wonder she quit.

Rick Ballard said...


Good post. The CIA is a drainfield from the same septic tank that feeds State. Ivy Leaguers with an affinity for advancement based upon Gramscian connections rather than anything so mundane as intelligence or capability.

It's a shame there's not a good product similiar to Weed N' Feed that could be used on the government.

Luther McLeod said...

"It's a shame there's not a good product similiar to Weed N' Feed that could be used on the government"

And another reason why the Civil Service bureaucracy should be overhauled from stem to stern. It is a slow poison on the health of our country.

terrye said...

The other day Mike Pense {R} was on a radio talk show with a guy from Beford In who was a guest of the Ayatollah for 446 days. He said the minute he saw the new Iranian president he remembered the bastard. Not a pleasant experience for the man.

CF said...

Do nothing--everything will be fine and damned idiot elected officials just leave us alone:

Pillar actually published a book in April 2001 (by Brookings) that said that terrorism was not a major issue, essentially a problem to be managed, rather than solved.

chuck said...

And another reason why the Civil Service bureaucracy should be overhauled from stem to stern.

And one of the reasons I oppose term limits. Them that stays around end up running the joint. If elected officials all go home after a few years we are left with the lifetime bureaucrats. Shudder.

Knucklehead said...


I'd prefer we use Roundup rather than Weed 'N Feed.