Those of you that read my blog somewhat regularly know that I rant about the administration’s decision making process… and that I usually do it in the historical context: looking back at what they either knew and ignored, or should have considered before making policy decisions with global consequences.
Well, I thought I’d provide a little background on why I feel “historical criticism” is important.
A democracy functions on the premise of informed consent: we elect representatives/judges/etc., they execute/create/interpret law & policy. After the fact we decide (usually at the next election) if they’ve done a good job. Central to this system is the idea that the governed have good insight into the information that goes into the decision making process. This allows an informed electorate to ask “what would I have done – or like seen done” given a set of circumstances.
Of course, we also give elected officials our trust and allow them to limit access to certain types of information -- supposedly in the best interests of the nation and all of its citizens.
On to this administration.
I believe it’s widely accepted that this is the most secretive and tightly controlled (i.e. - in terms of message) administration in the last century. Why, for instance, was it so important to keep the members of Dick Cheney’s energy task force secret? (And this is just membership in that task force – to say nothing of what those members advocated.) So much has been decided outside of public scrutiny that I do not think our leaders believe in the principle of informed consent: I think Bush said it best himself: “This would be a whole lot easier if I were the dictator”.
A government that loves to keep its inner workings as secret as possible is always a very bad thing… but it especially bad when the policy that comes out of that government is one of preemptive war.
So to keep it short, here we are: 3+ years into a ‘pre-emptive’ war. A war based on faulty intelligence… or so we are told by the
We find that our intelligence agencies doubted the veracity of the information provided by key Iraqi informants – in fact, the most incriminating evidence was provided by “a known fabricator and drunk”; we find that the DOE doubted the aluminum tubes fitness for use in a centrifuge; the list goes on… and on.
All this in addition to those who expressed experienced opinions on the situation but were discounted (like General’s Zinni and Shinseki).
It’s our job to judge our leaders performance. The talking heads that claim “its easy to look back and Monday morning quarterback” simply don’t get it: the job over every citizen in a democracy is to hold their leaders accountable.
The sooner, the better.