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I am not sure that Jed Babbin isn’t a bit too hard on the record of the CIA. My understanding is that it was the most right, or the least wrong, government agency on Vietnam and that it had considerable success in the early Reagan years pursuing the strategy of liberating eastern Europe and fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan (although the latter may have assisted in the creation of our current problems with Islamic radicalism).
That said, his main point is correct. It is a peculiarity of bureaucracies that they are invincibly obtuse about their failures. I think of this as the “French general staff effect.”
After the failure of the French general staff in World War II, which didn’t just result in defeat, but in the transfer of the country to one of history’s more depraved regimes, was their a housecleaning? No. Was there an agonizing reappraisal on the part of leading French generals, such that they resigned due to their failure to their country? No. They all decamped to Vichy and the next thing on the agenda was lunch. In fact, they were affronted that de Gaulle wanted to continue the war and put a death sentence on his head.
So also with the CIA currently. George Bush did not want to cripple our government with finger pointing after 9/11. But he paid a high price for it because there is no such thing as becoming modesty on the part of bureaucrats for their failures. If they are not removed, they are just as arrogant after a failure of mission as they were before.
Anyone with a sense of propriety would not dream of complaining about Rumsfeld setting up an analysis section on intelligence in the Pentagon after the incredible nonfeasance of the CIA on 9/11. Since the CIA failed at its mission, it followed that leaders would want a second opinion. But noooo, as John Belushi used to say.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?