Monday, December 12, 2005

Who Cares When You Can Throw It All Away?

Kentuckians aren’t the only people who dump trash; the military does as well and now they are cleaning up the public mess. Recent discussion of innovations in military weapons systems, strategies, and technology prompted a reciprocal question: what happens to the old toys? Beyond selling them (secondhand goods by now) to other countries, a recent article on the AP reported that some 64 million pounds of chemical weapons were dumped between WWI and 1970 off U.S. coastlines (dump). In my previous presentation, you may recall that the measly 532 tons of chemical weapons stored at the Bluegrass Army Depot is currently a big deal. In fact, not only do dumping sites currently circle the U.S. mainland, but U.S. sites also exist in 16 other counties-most dumped after WWII.

However, other dimensions add interest to this issue-secrecy and destroyed evidence. Apparently the dumping practice-which seems so routine was kept secret until earlier this year when the Army released classified materials revealing the enormity of the weapons dumped. Furthermore, much of the paperwork detailing where the dumping had occurred has been destroyed. The Army only knows where half of the dumps are. Now, the military is seeking information from fishermen and victims of poisoning on where the missing locations may be. Some 200 serious injuries have occurred due to the leakage of chemicals from canisters worn apart after decades of the ocean’s salty abrasion (Daily Press).

These actions make one wonder what exactly was going on where classified materials had to be destroyed. Sure, sensitive materials are for selected eyes only, but why would the military want to purposely forget where it laid weapons? The Russians may have this trouble, but it is not the conduct of the U.S. Secondly, what should be done now? The U.S. is not liable for cleaning up the hazardous materials because a 1975 treaty banning the dumping of chemical weapons does not apply to pre-1975 dumping. Furthermore, those dumps in international waters carry increased complexity. Yet, fishermen and environmentalist believe it should be done for obvious reasons. Leaking mustard and nerve gas kills everything it touches in the water, and experts believe that even the WWI canisters pose serious threats for hundreds of years. In an era of billion dollar bombers and high tech revolutions, one should expect environmental cleanup to be an affordable higher priority of today’s mediocre EPA standards.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Heeeres.....Peter Gabriel?!?

This guy won a contest for: taking a movie and making a new trailer for it which gives the movie a totally different meaning. It's worth checking out... I can't stop watching it.

Blog, blog, blog, all day long

blog, blog, blog, the blogging song.

Second Verse?

Some Poor Bastard v. Tenet


It had to happen sooner or later: the CIA kidnapped and "interrogated" the wrong guy. This poor bastard's name is Khaled al-Masri. According to the lawsuit he filed against the CIA, al-Masri, a German of Lebanese descent, was leaving Germany for a New Year holiday in Macedonia when he was stopped at the border and arrested. He claims he was held for 23 days and then flown to Afghanistan (quite the vacation hotspot, I hear) where he was subjected to "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" at the hands of the CIA for five months. Eventually, the CIA confirmed his identity and decided they had the wrong guy ("Sorry about that, our bad") and then flew him to Albania of all places. Clearly, we don't know what happened in Afghanistan or what he considers "torture", but I'm pretty sure he wasn't given nightly back-rubs and gentle words of encouragement.

Obviously, this is one case, and I don't think policy should be decided on what may or may not have happened to one person. But this incident must surely give one pause. Even if you don't consider the morality of this policy to be a problem, there could be pragmatic implications: Are these renditions providing enough actionable intelligence to justify such terrible publicity? Could this policy cause our European allies to rethink their commitment to assist us in other intelligence gathering operations in their own countries? It's not outside the realm of possibility: The Europeans certainly aren't required to assist us, and in general, they feel far less threatened by Islamic terrorism than we do. Just food for thought.

Maybe RMA won't guarantee us victory this time

President Bush spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday regarding the administration’s National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. During his speech his discussed several examples of successful use of our military forces in establishing stability in Iraq with the assistance of Iraqi forces. Much of what he discusses are basic approaches by utilizing manpower and boots on the ground, not technology and precision weapons. President Bush’s description of successful initiatives in Iraq support what Dr. Kier argued in her paper that RMA is not providing any support to the stability or counter-insurgency operations in Iraq. While important in war, they have been relatively ineffective in establishing peace. Bush likewise discusses the success of embedding US military personnel with Iraqis to ensure that they can effectively maintain areas that have been secured. He has again support Dr. Kier’s point that working personal interaction with the Iraqis, as practiced by the British, is most effective in maintaining security, stability, and cooperation. Bush’s speech seems to indicate a change from the rather Rumsfeldian notion that our military superiority and advanced technology, much of which is provided through RMA, are enough to win the conflict in Iraq. Perhaps this acknowledgement of past mistakes, which the Bush administration has been more willing to make of late, will likewise provide for a slight change in RMA or at least the faith put in its ability to guarantee absolute victory. RMA or not there was never any doubt we could defeat the Iraqi army, but clearly RMA is no longer playing a role in whether we can help the Iraqis bring stability to their war torn country. RMA is important and should continue to be pursued, but we cannot allow belief in a RMA-guaranteed victory to blind us to the fact that some operations, such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, will still need extremely large troop deployments to guarantee success no matter how many cool new toys we get.

Evan is the coolest, but not parmeaneidies+

In the article “Change and Transformation in Military Affairs”, Elliot Cohen argues that transformation from the bottom-up has been the most evident throughout military history.

Cohen believes that the greatest changes in war are brought about by spontaneous innovation in reaction to tactical problems. Obviously, this spontaneous innovation is a result of the soldiers on the ground fighting the war, rather than the political thinkers in Washington. We discussed at the beginning of the semester how the failure of junior officers to think on their feet have plagued militaries such as Egypt, but the flexibility of junior officers has typically been a strength in the US military.

Cohen goes on to state that the ability for soldiers to be innovative is linked to their culture, and is therefore the root of American soldiers success. “…Societies that do not see occasional failure as calamitous, that allows juniors to overcome or contradict seniors, and that do not value ‘face’ or reputation excessively are likely to transform themselves.”

However, it seems as though in some aspects American culture is not supporting these "cultural necessities" for innovation or transformation as it has in the past. First, the occasional failure that US troops have met with in Iraq have been seen as calamitous and has been met with demands of withdraw. On Cohen's second point, ( and someone please correct me if I am wrong ) I thought that American officers do stick strictly to their rank and that there is a strong emphasis placed on obeying orders from the officers above you. And finally, in terms of the importance of not relying on reputation excessively, it seems as though with the war in Iraq that there are many people who would have rather not gone at all if it meant a suffering of the US reputation.

Is American culture changing, so that in the future, it will not be as conducive to innovative thinking from its ground soldiers, those who are arguably the most important link in US military transformation?

Isn't that a Nietzsche niche?

Krepinevich argues that even in countries that cannot overcome the cost barriers to threaten the United States, they could become "formidable niche competitors."” Countries could concentrate their abilities in a particular area in order to prevent U.S. power projection. His assertion has considerable merit. Mountain tactics in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not been easy for the U.S. to combat. Asymmetric urban combat in Baghdad has shown to be a difficult tactic to deal with. The navy has realized that littoral combat in the Taiwan Strait may present a serious problem to the U.S. accomplishing its goals. Are we ready for a cyber attack?

As AmericaƂ’s relative military power increases versus other countries, their incentive to specialize will increase as well. To deal with specialization, the U.S. could use a threats based approach. If the number of countries that specialize is small, the U.S. can create plans to deal with each one without too much effort. But what happens if there are many small, specialized threats? The threats based approach will be very expensive and difficult to pursue. And a capabilities approach would certainly be less effective against a specialized enemy.

Is the revolution in military affairs, an impotent military?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

American Conservative on China

With all the talk of warring against China from the hawks in the class, one might wonder how that would turn out. The answer comes to us from the American Conservative. No, I don't mean that one guy in class who is always blathering about this or that from the right-wing of the class. I mean the magazine.

Here are a few excerpts to entice you to go read this dozen-page treatise:
The history of the United States is the history of confrontation, even conflict, with the other great powers of the earth. At the dawn of the 19th century, the young Republic found itself confronted with the two great powers of that world, Britain and France... [In] the 20th century... the U.S. soon found itself in wars hot and cold, against Germany, then Japan, then Russia. Now, in the 21st century, the looming great powers are China and India.
If that wasn't inspiringly bold enough for you, try this one on for size:
In the years since, the neocons have gotten themselves right where they want to be: tangled up in the Middle East. Yet some seem eager to open up a “second front”; the ever-belligerent Max Boot, for example, agitated in the pages of—where else?—The Weekly Standard for a policy of “internal subversion” against China. The goal, he crowed, waving the reddest possible flag, was to “Taiwanize” the People’s Republic. Some might be tempted to minimize the political weight of a mere scribbler, but after Operation Iraqi Freedom, is there any doubt that noisy neocons have the capacity to translate their warlike op-eds into war itself?

By the way, ignore the Toms--Friedman and Barnett--telling us that a war with China won't happen because of doux commerce (sweet commerce), the article explains the fallacies of their argument.

I better hurry, if I'm posting on the inevitabilty of great power conflict, I'd better get it posted before December 7 is over.

Two armies are better than one.

So we've got the Army developing RMA. That will give us the ability to bombard anything we see back into the Stone Age. That's fine and dandy, as long as our opponents stay out in the open. However, as Iraq and Afghanistan are proving, our enemies are rarely this courteous. They hide among innocent civilians, which means we can't really blow them to kingdom come without making the situation even worse. The solution proposed by the readings obviously encourages more infantry-based doctrine. Dismounted infantry are better at peacekeeping, counterinsurgency, and urban warfare. That would enable us to better fight the battles we seem to be facing now.

However, if we moved to a primarily infantry-based army, we would likely lose our advantage in high-intensity warfare. If we did that, China, North Korea, Iran, and others might take the opportunity to challenge American dominance in their region.

So what's a superpower to do? My solution is to split the Army in half. Light units could remain light units, specializing in counterinsurgency, urban warfare, and peacekeeping. Heavy units could continue to develop RMA. After all, heavy units are the most effective at delivering overwhelming firepower anyway; why not allow them to improve at this? I can't speak for medium units. I simply don't know enough about their primary functions to speculate on where they fit in.

The military will, of course, resist having half of its units reconfigured for low-intensity warfare. The Army doesn't like those kinds of fights. That's why it may be necessary to split the Army in half. By forming a new branch of the army, it might be possible to form a service that prefers those types of conflicts.

As a superpower, the US has to develop an array of capabilities. If it focuses narrowly on one area (high intensity warfare), its opponents will focus on other areas. Therefore, the US has to be at least competent in all areas. To do otherwise leaves the US open to attacks on its weakest areas.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Crisis Iran

There is a discussion of military options in Iran (or lack thereof) over at The Officers Club--a blog run by three graduates of the finest military school this country has ever seen. All three are now serving as junior officers (hence the name). Go give it a look.

Recruiting on Federally Funded Campuses

Returning to military recruiting tactics, the US Government is trying to establish its recruiting tactics onto college campuses that disagree with some of the ideals behind the functioning of the military. Many cite the Pentagon’s policy toward homosexuals as their point of contention. The article can be found at

The schools that are trying to continue denying recruiting on their campuses may face the withdrawal of federal funding for their school. In the same way that many private companies donate to schools and receive certain privileges for their donations, the government would like to have the benefit of using the campus to recruit.

As we talked about in class, recruitment efforts for the military need more outlets. With the need for more military personnel to continue the War on Terror, it would be beneficial to have recruiters in as many locations as possible, and able to reach as many students as they can.

Right now, the debate is whether or not the funding should require the schools to allow recruitment. I can understand the feelings of the government. It is paying to provide education for the students of the school, but is not necessarily able to reap any of the benefits of its investment. Without being allowed to recruit on the campus, they do not have access to as many individuals as they do by sitting in their recruiting offices in town.

As far as the schools are concerned, their problem is that they don’t allow organizations with discriminatory policies on campus, which would include the “don’t’ ask, don’t tell” policy of the military. They believe that the integrity of the school would be damaged if they were to being to allow recruiting. I think that if they are able to overlook this policy to accept federal money, they should be able to overlook it to allow recruiting on campus.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Have a coke and a chinook

How do you think decisions about billions of taxpayers dollars are being made? Would you believe major companies like Lockheed-Martin are relying not only on pricy bid proposals to the government, but also more economical radio adds complete with celebrities and sports references? Not exactly the intellectual argument that I had pictured.

This Washington Post article describes how Lockheed-Martin in an attempt to sway important defense officials to buy into their 10 billion federal law enforecment communications system, is buying up radio advertising not to reach the mass public, but about 50 employees in the Treasury, Justice, and Homeland Security departments. Lockheed Martin is not alone in this endeavor, as government contractors have surpassed the auto industry as the top revenue category for one popular Washington news-based radio station.

"And while there may be only a few dozen officials involved in the final decision on a contract, Calkins added, those people can be influenced by others -- like co-workers and bosses -- who might encounter an ad."

What? I realize that decisions about defense procurement are based on a variety of things including the much more fact based bid proposals. The idea that decisions could even be slightly affected by "peer-pressure" from co-workers who heard their favorite football player on the radio is fine for tennis shoes, but ridiculous for defense procurement. What is next- television adds with blondes in bikinis posting up against the Millennium Falcon?

Does anyone else find this as crazy as I do?

Am I having deja vu all over again?

Britain and the US are trying to get the rest of the permanent members of the UN Security Council to agree that Iran is in fact actively attempting to develop a nuclear weapons program. The hopes of this latest diplomatic initiative is to get Iran brought to the Security Council and to ensure that action will be taken against Iran by the UNSC. Convincing China and Russia of Iran's intentions are key as they would be the most likely to veto action by the Security Council against Iran.

My thoughts on this are that we're simply seeing history repeat itself as it did prior to the US invasion of Iraq. I'm not saying that the US is preparing to lead the charge into Iran, I would hope that logical reasoning and look at Iraq and domestic pressures would show that's not a viable option. What I am saying is that even if this does get taken to the Security Council, I wonder if some type of action be taken. No one argued that Iraq needed to comply with the UN and weapons inspectors, the trouble came in determining what to do and when to do it. When the UN didn't agree, the US, UK, and its "coalition of the willing" (don't forget about Poland) went their own way with it and invaded. There are greatly diverging views on how to deal with perceived threats to international security, and it doesn't seem clear that the UNSC will be able to be anymore decisive than it was leading up to the Iraq invasion. Can the UNSC tackle another major crisis over WMD and again run the risk of appearing irrelevant? Will squabbling be the end result of what to do with Iran? Once again the US is attempting to convince other states of the intelligence it and the UK possesses indicating a weapons program. Questionable intelligence will likely result in a divided response as it did with Iraq. Clearly the divide over Iraq still exists, and it seems unlikely that it will be bridged in the immediate future to the liking of all parties involved. Ultimately I believe that Iran will eventually be brought to the Security Council, but I question how effective a response will be enacted once the time comes.

Justify My Gov

This week we're reading about transformation within the military. Since 9/11, it is sad how little we have transformed. Just this week the 9/11 Commission gave the grade of a "D" on reform,

But let's focus on the military's problems: Washington still has multiple layers of rank heavy bureaucracy, there is the insertion of large cumbersome task forces in to every place; an over-emphasis on technology; and a lack of appreciation for the urgency of providing security, food, water, and electricity IMMEDIATELY so as to start the cycle of counter-insurgency information collection from locals.

Our bureaucracy has failed to provide the crucial linguistic skills, four years after 9/11, that are far more important to transformation than any weapons system. For example, the road to the Bagdad Airport, AKA Route Irish, suffers fewer attacks today, because Iraqis man the checkpoints. Reportedly, in Afghanistan even our translators don't have a firm hold on Pashtun, several years in. There are still too many delays in approving operations in the field that are associated with layered bureaucracies that come with joint task forces. The result is detrimental to fast moving tactical success at ground level.

If we really want to have a RMA, we need to work more on "people skills" then new technology. We need to learn difficult languages, allow the men on the ground to have more leeway in making decisions, rid ourselves of bureaucracy. One need only look at how the Special Forces and C.I.A. were allowed to operate in Afghanistan before and at the beginning of that war. Sure, the brass at the Pentagon didn't like seeing pictures of SFs with mangy beards riding horses, but they got the job done superbly; and their beards and horses were part of the reasons why.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Burritos are Better Protected than Military Secrets

Technological innovation due to military wants and the fat contracts that support otherwise uneconomical research may receive well deserved criticism, but there are numerous, often unrealized benefits that the public enjoys due to declassification and spin-off technologies-even right here in Kentucky. Innovations such as the internet (I thought Al Gore invented this?) and the global positioning system (GPS) were once closely guarded military secrets that were later integrated into the tech markets. WD-40 became and still is a wildly successful lubricant after it was invented for NASA applications. Modern conveniences related to the internet are taken for granted today, and companies such as OnStar and the slew of GPS receiving devices such as electronic driving maps are products of declassification. Although there usually is a considerable time lag between military/contractor invention and potential public use, these technologies would probably have taken longer to achieve if the research was done outside of government/DOD initiatives. Who else could have supported the 30+ satellites used for GPS today back in the mid-1980’s during its creation?

The effects of defense supported innovations via contractors being released for public use also raises internal security concerns. If the same technology that the military uses is available on the market, then just about anybody could obtain the otherwise disclosed materials with the intention of sabotage. Sure, sharing WD-40 with the world may not be a direct security risk today, but what about more sophisticated innovations?

One instance that illustrates this concern and spurred publicity occurred right here in Kentucky. In the late 1990’s, Lexington based contractor Mas-Hamilton produced locks for defense purposes (Locks). These same locks, used for doors and safes, were sold to the Pentagon, other defense contractors, and to Taco Bells (based in Louisville) across the nation. When a study revealed that a majority of the locks in the Pentagon were vulnerable to high-tech thieves using computer-based devices, the DOD requested updating their locks with a newer, electronic lock produced by Mas-Hamilton…the same locks that Taco Bell uses to protect its burritos. Along with this request came the demand that other defense contractors update their locks. However, many refused citing that if the locks could be available to fast-food workers, then the security tech is just as vulnerable as the old locks. In response, Kentucky Senators McConnell and Bunning sought to increase defense funding to retrofit all locks used to secure military information, including contractors (Bunning). As discussed in class, this move may have been more about the protection of local, defense-related jobs than security interests as Mas-Hamilton publicly expressed the intention of lay-offs if sales didn’t increase.

Nevertheless, the cycle of political protection of local defense contractors to force military spending is a reality-even here in Lexington. However, with the average U.S. defense contractor CEO salary rising 79% in just one year (2002), there is a clear concern that fat contracts for military procurement and innovation be revisited (CEO). Is there something wrong if defense CEO’s make 45% more than other U.S. company CEO’s? Yet when it comes to the public benefits produced with spin off applications after declassification, perhaps these fat contracts are well worth the money spent and the burritos’ saved.

Putting Politics Back Into Warfare

“All warfare is political.” In regards to Iraq, the British, according to Elizabeth Kier, have this right. The Americans do not. To use a line from Black Hawk Down—sorry, Dittosfan—“The moment the bullets start flying politics goes out the window.” This illuminates the American military’s attitude towards war. Completely decimate your enemy.

But, as Ms. Kier aptly shows, this attitude is antithetical to securing the peace. (Kryptos and Watson both comment on this in earlier posts.) In fact, not only is the Army’s approach antithetical, it is adversely affecting the outcome by creating greater sympathies for the insurgents (or whatever they are called now—‘displeased persons’ or ‘persons with complaints’).

“It’s a war the Army can’t win,” state the claimants. Why can’t it be won? Because it’s not the type of war the Army is used to fighting successfully. Congressman Murtha—the widely respected ex-Marine and Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania -- recently created an uproar with his calls for the establishment of a timetable for the removal of troops. Our presence is, he states, making matters worse. And this is true—sort of. It’s erroneous to confuse our presence as what is causing the dismal peace dividends with the methods we are using to secure peace. And while I don’t agree that we should have invaded Iraq in the first place, I think pulling our troops out has drastic consequences, especially for our credibility. A state’s power comes not just from military and economic capabilities, but from the strength of its national will. As much for future conflicts (military and otherwise) as for the sake of the Middle East, we need to remain in Iraq until we have ensured the creation of a stable and viable state.

So what’s a SecDef to do? If the Army is making matters worse but withdrawal is damaging to the vital and strategic interests of the United States, how do we accomplish our goals? I think our potential to create a new service, as Kier advocates as one possible future option, is unrealistic in the immediate future. However, I do agree that we could train particular branches within the Army or Marines (perhaps with British assistance). I also agree that reliance on high technology could further serve to undermine our interests. There is something inherently distasteful to people about a big brother approach to security (such as the use of drones or pgms, which may actually minimize civilian casualties) that may spur even further collusion with/support for the enemy.

The answer therefore lies in a military force whose primary responsibility is to protect and interact with civilians. (Much as cops are now returning to street walk in the most degraded neighborhoods, building bonds with residents.) It is not simply the security that is provided, but the relationships that are built with the civilian population that will undercut support for the insurgents. This will undoubtedly result in a temporarily (I use that term with uncertainty) higher body count. However, it’s the only way we will ever achieve success, secure our interests, and enhance our credibility.

The case for the status quo

So I went into class thinking that we should close down the excess production capacity in the US arms industry. After all, it seemed like the major reason those plants were still open was because of political patronage. After listening to the arguments in favor of keeping the situation unchanged, I went home and thought about it some more. I reread my notes. And you know what?

I don't see any real alternative to keeping the plants open. Yeah, it's wasteful, but given the alternatives, I don't really see another option. It's painful. I don't like it. I hate spending money (ANYBODY's money), but like I said, what other options do we have?

A case for Guantanamo Bay

The New York Times published an article today detailing an escape by four detainees from the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan in July of this year. Two of the men, Omar al-Faruq and Muhammad Jafar Jamal al-Kahtani, are considered former high level al-Qaeda operatives. Apparently:
According to military officials familiar with the episode, the suspects are believed to have picked the lock on their cell, changed out of their bright orange uniforms and made their way through a heavily guarded military base under the cover of night. They then crawled over a faulty wall where a getaway vehicle was apparently waiting for them, the officials said.
More disturbingly:
One American intelligence official said the prisoners also took advantage of "a perfect storm" of mistakes by the military guards.
A theory also exists "that American intelligence officers had once proposed staging an escape to release a detainee whom they wanted to act a double agent against Al Qaeda." But, this theory has been denied by American officials.

The question remains about how this could happen. I realize that this detention facility is not Alcatraz, but how does the military allow high level al-Qaeda members escape from one of its prisons? Shouldn't keeping terrorists detained be something our military takes seriously in this War on Terror/Global Struggle Against Extremism?

Although I am not in the military and would never claim I could do better, I hope we would all expect better security than this. Maybe putting them on an island isn't such a bad idea.

Update: I didn't see Dr. Farley's post on this at LGM until after I posted this one.

Friday, December 02, 2005

It's time to get drunk!

We are done!

Let's do the damn thing!

Here we go...t-minus 25 minutes and counting. Who am I kidding? I'm gonna fail.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'm Turning Japanese (I really think so)

Koizumi is looking to call a spade a spade. Japan will finally be able to call its military a military and use it. (for peacekeeping that is) If they can change the constitution, no easy task. Koizumi's more proactive stance on the Japanese military has consistently increased over time. He sent troops to Iraq and even though a Japanese hostage was recently executed, he is leaving them there. Although Japan continues to be a staunch ally of the U.S., will this constitutional change affect other areas of Japanese foreign policy? Todd believes a resurgent Japan will join with Europe and Russia to balance the U.S. Is that the real reason for a change in Japan's military identity or is it the fear of China injecting large amounts of money into its military? I think I know the answer.

Flaming Stamos

I read Doris Goodwin's new tome, "Team of Rivals" over the Thanksgiving holiday (I have a strong dislike for my immediate family) and it was really good. It is basically the story of how Abe Lincoln appointed to his cabinet men he had run against to become the President. I had no idea that Abe rolled like that.

These men (William Seward, Salmon Chase, and Edward Bates) were all nationally known and presidential. These accomplished men were extremely angry at being beaten by a relatively unknown. Yet Lincoln not only convinced them to join his administration--Seward as secretary of state, Chase as secretary of the treasury, and Bates as attorney general--he ultimately gained their respect as well.

It's an incredible story because Abe was able to forge alliances with these men to win the most important war this country has ever fought. Abe could have picked campaign contributors or partisans, but instead he picked the men who deserved the job the most. Abe transcended personal bitterness in order to run a country.

As we all know, this isn't the case anymore. I'm not going to use my penultimate post to bash the Bush adminstration-because we all know about former heads of Arabian Horseman Federation becoming FEMA Directors- instead our entire society needs to be examined. When did we start to sacrifice the best route of managing a country for helping out the few? There seems to be little honor in political appointees anymore. Would the U.S. have been able to wage war in Iraq or the Balkans with a more diversified cabinet? I definitely don't believe that groupthink would have been as prevalent in the run up to the Iraq war.

I'm not advocating a constitutional amendment addressing the issue of political appointees, but government would benefit so much more if the right men/women were picked for the job over the most convenient.