More Madness From Bacevich’s Washington Rules
Here is more that confirms the madness that characterizes American politics, by which I mean delusions of a high order that seem to have our “decision makers” in their grip.
“In 1961, the ‘best and the brightest’ [The Kennedy Administration and all those highly intelligent or, rather, highly educated people who worked in that administration] had assumed ownership of [the Washington] consensus. Determined to remove any doubt as to who was in charge, they moved quickly to assert unquestioned control. Dissatisfied with the means available, they sought to devise new and more flexible instruments of power. Beginning in 1965, they put their handiwork to the test in Vietnam, the brush-fire war that, in their own minds, loomed large as a test of American global leadership. To their considerable dismay, they soon discovered that efforts to douse the fire produced the opposite effect. In attempting to snuff out a small war they produced instead a massive conflagration. Determined to demonstrate the efficacy of force employed on a limited scale, they created a fiasco over which they were incapable of exercising any control whatsoever.” [pp. 107-08]
Again, if this is not madness then I don’t know the meaning of the word or it has no meaning. You start with a “brush fire” and, in attempting to put it out, employing strategies specifically adopted for that purpose, you turn the brush fire into a huge fire – well, that is, in a word, insane. Or if you dislike that word, then try “delusional” to describe such behavior. Academics and others can come up with all kinds of explanations for such behavior, such as “group think,” presidential isolation, presidential insecurity, presidential personalities, but these explanations only serve to obscure what actually happened. Intending to assert control by means of distinct strategies, these highly educated and very ambitious people who believed in “being involved” and with trying to make a “contribution,” lost control! That is, they failed and they failed miserably, contributing to the deaths of millions in the process. You might think this would lead other thoughtful people to question the desire to “be involved” and to “make a difference,” but it does not. And so, the madness goes on and on and on, even while the virtues of our political system are trumpeted. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, “So it goes.”