People keep asking me how to "fix" the Iraq mess. Hey! I didn't make it a mess. Those that did should fix it.
Brings to mind the old saw about driving your car off a cliff. "Once you've done it you might as well enjoy the view on the way down."
I opted out of the policy business after Vietnam and refused to take jobs in that field from then on. Policy makers are in the business of trying to create some new reality that they fancy. Intelligence people are in the business of describing reality as it is or as they think it will come to be.
It is very important to keep these two functions separate because if you don't, then the policy guys start making decisions based on what it is they WANT TO SEE in support of their proposed new world.
Now, it is true that some intelligence people get "tapped" as individuals to do things for the government that are more in the nature of covert action, but that is not intelligence. Intelligence is about information.
Since I am interested in information and teaching the teachable. I offer the following two short pieces written by T.E. Lawrence, one on British occupied Mesopotamia and the other on the Revolt in the Desert. There is also a picture of an art deco bronze plaque of him which my wife bought me in Buenos Aires of all places.