March 10, 2011

Quote of the Day: "What Do You Pay Us For?" Edition

Boy, if I were an intelligence analyst working on North Africa right now, I would be steaming.

Q:  Hey, it's actually Jake
Tapper.  Just, Tom, if you could comment
on -- DNI Clapper on the Hill today was asked a couple questions that raised
eyebrows, one of which was, he said that the -- Libya is a stalemate back and
forth, but I think, over the longer term, the regime will prevail.  ...  And I was
just wondering if you could comment.


MR. DONILON:  Well ... I guess I'd answer -- I would
answer -- I would answer it this way: that if you did a static and
one-dimensional assessment of just looking at order of battle and mercenaries,
right, you came come to various conclusions about the various advantages that
the Gadhafi regime and the opposition has.


But our view is -- my view is -- as the
person who looks at this quite closely every day and advises the president, is
that things in the Middle East right now and things in Libya in particular
right now need to be looked at not through a static, but a dynamic, and not
through a unidimensional but a multidimensional lens.  And if you look at it in that way, beyond a
narrow view, right, on just kind of numbers of weapons and things like that,
you get a very different picture.


The loss of legitimacy matters.  The isolation of the regime matters.  Denying the regime resources matters, and
this can affect the sustainability of their efforts over time.  Motivation matters, and incentives
matter.  The people of Libya are
determined to affect their future.


And indeed, Jake, if you had looked at
this just through a static, unidimensional lens 45 days ago, and you and I had
been discussing whether or not it was possible that the Gadhafi regime would
lose half -- control over half the people in his country, we would say probably
not.  But change is the order of the day
in the Middle East right now.  And again,
you have to look at things fresh, and you have to take into account, as I said,
the dynamics, right, as well as the multidimensional nature of it.


The last thing I'll say is that a
static, unidimensional analysis does not take into account steps that can be
taken in cooperation with the opposition going forward here.  So I understand how -- you know, I do this
every day.  I understand how someone can
do a static analysis, order of battle, numbers of weapons and things like that,
but I don't think that's the most informative analysis, frankly.  I think the analysis needs to be dynamic, and
it needs to be multidimensional.


So I hope that's
responsive, and that -- and, again, based on that analysis, I think that you
could -- you could come to different conclusions about how this is going to go
-- how this is going to go forward.


Last on this, Gadhafi is isolated,
right?  And the isolation is fairly
complete in the world.  He -- his
resources are being cut off. The international community is engaged in an
increasingly deep way with the opposition. 
So I would -- I would just caution that a dynamic in a multidimensional
analysis is more appropriate in the circumstance.