Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Clusterfuck Watch: Delusional Republicans 

From Board of Directors, the MEPC (Middle East Policy Council) seem to be about as mainstream and establishment a think-tank as you can get: Lotta guys from Boeing, George McGovern balanced by Frank C. Carlucci, Yankel Ginzburg balanced by Fuad A. Rihani....

And what did they go and do? They published an article in their quarterly journal that reads like it was written by one of those nasty left-wing bloggers! Let 'er rip!

From W. Patrick Lang, formerly of the DIA:

Drinking the Kool-Aid
hroughout my long service life in the Department of Defense, first as an army officer and then as a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, there was a phrase in common usage: "I will fall on my sword over that." It meant that the speaker had reached a point of internal commitment with regard to something that his superiors wanted him to do and that he intended to refuse even though this would be career suicide. The speaker preferred career death to the loss of personal honor.

This phrase is no longer widely in use. What has taken its place is far more sinister in its meaning and implications. "I drank the Kool-Aid" is what is now said. Those old enough to remember the Jonestown tragedy know this phrase all too well.

What does drinking the Kool-Aid mean today? It signifies that the person in question has given up personal integrity and has succumbed to the prevailing group-think that typifies policymaking today. This person has become "part of the problem, not part of the solution."

What was the "problem"? The sincerely held beliefs of a small group of people who think they are the "bearers" of a uniquely correct view of the world, sought to dominate the foreign policy of the United States in the Bush 43 administration, and succeeded in doing so through a practice of excluding all who disagreed with them. Those they could not drive from government they bullied and undermined until they, too, had drunk from the vat.

The recent PBS special on Frontline concerning Iraq mentioned that senior military officers had said of General Franks, "He had drunk the Kool-Aid." Many intelligence officers have told the author that they too drank the Kool-Aid and as a result consider themselves to be among the "walking dead," waiting only for retirement and praying for an early release that will allow them to go away and try to forget their dishonor and the damage they have done to the intelligence services and therefore to the republic.

What we have now is a highly corrupted system of intelligence and policymaking, one twisted to serve specific group goals, ends and beliefs held to the point of religious faith. Is this different from the situation in previous administrations? Yes.

Instead of including such veterans in the planning process, the Bush team opted for amateurs brought in from outside the Executive Branch who tended to share the views of many of President Bush's earliest foreign-policy advisors and mentors. [T]his created an environment in which any shared belief could become sacrosanct and unchallengeable. A situation like this is, in essence, a war waiting for an excuse to happen. If there is no "imminent threat," one can be invented, not as a matter of deliberate deception, but rather as an artifact of group self-delusion. In normal circumstances, there is a flow of new talent into the government that melds with the old timers in a process both dynamic and creative. This does not seem to have happened in the Bush 43 administration. Instead, the newcomers behaved as though they had seized control of the government in a silent coup.
(via Middle East Policy Journal)

Hmm... "Seized control of the government in a silent coup..." I wonder why that would have been?

An alert reader pointed me to this article (can't remember which alert reader; let me know so I can give you a shout-out) and when I read it, I thought, it's all over for Bush. The establishment has finally turned against him....

Then I re-read the date of the article—Summer 2004.


I guess what the article does show is:

(1) We were right all along. The entire process by which we went to war was foully corrupt. We called it then, and we were right.

(2) The Bush administration seem to be (we can only hope, seems to have been) uniquely virulent in modern politics. In previous administrations, these guys would have been the "wise men" ushering Johnson or Nixon out of office, telling them gently that it was all over. No such luck.

(3) The entire Rove-ian saga—especially the continuous drip, drip, drip of leaks about the run-up to the war—is coming either from those who have drunk the KoolAid and repented, or those who saw formerly respected colleagues become like "the living dead."

(4) Deprogramming the remaining Bush loyalists is going to be very difficult. I can still remember Republicans raising their arms and swearing a personal oath of fealty to Bush. Once you've drunk the KoolAid that deep, it's going to be very hard ever to get clean.

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