Sunday, August 03, 2003

When self-certainty becomes self-delusion

A clear picture of the Bush administration's governing style is starting to emerge from inside the halls of power, and it isn't pretty. This is from a recently retired, conservative-Republican high-level Pentagon official:

The Pentagon has some explaining to do
The result of groupthink has been extensively studied in the history of American foreign policy, and it will have a prominent role when the history of the Bush administration is written. Groupthink, in this most recent case leading to invasion and occupation of Iraq, will be found, I believe, to have caused a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress.

I am now retired. Shortly before my retirement I was allowed to return to my primary office of assignment, having served in NESA as a desk officer backfill for 10 months. The transfer was something I had sought, but my wish was granted only after I made a particular comment to my superior, in response to my reading of a February Secretary of State cable answering a long list of questions from a Middle Eastern country regarding U.S. planning for the aftermath in Iraq. The answers had been heavily crafted by the Pentagon, and to me, they were remarkably inadequate, given the late stage of the game. I suggested to my boss that if this was as good as it got, some folks on the Pentagon's E-ring may be sitting beside Saddam Hussein in the war crimes tribunals.

In other words: Bush and Co. are operating a large circle-jerk that utterly believes its own bullshit. And that is a very dangerous trait for the people who are supposed to be keeping us secure -- as well as waging a war in our name.

Or, as someone wrote recently:
"In a rarified environment like the White House, I don't think you can afford to surround yourself with people whose temperaments and views are always in synch. The meetings might run on schedule, but easy consensus can lead over time to poor decisions."

Indeed -- and as the record around the events leading up to 9/11 are examined further, the same trend becomes self-evident. Bush couldn't be bothered with international terrorism because Bill Clinton was.

No comments: