Sunday, January 17, 2010

Don't Blame Me, I Just Work Here

Herewith, a brief note concerning the “blame line” for the “undies bomber” who threatened to out-Grinch the Grinch on Christmas Day. “Intelligence and State Department officials should be disciplined for their roles in a chain of failures”, etc. And, “... some people have to be held accountable”... and those involved “have to be disciplined so that (the mistakes) never happen again.” So... who are the solons who are making these stern pronouncements? Why, none other than Senator Joe Lieberman, Israel's man in Washington, and Senator John McCain – who would have had us nuking Tehran before he dropped in on his first inaugural ball. Yes – these are what pass for the voices of responsibility these days. Plus – aside from the massive hypocrisy, you would think they would know better than to expect any government official – ever, at any time in history – to take responsibility for anything – I mean anything bad. Either these guys are amazingly naïve, or they're just pretending – the way the Republicans pretended to be upset about Harry Reid's comments about Obama. Is it possible that they think the primary task of the intelligence agencies and the State Department is to protect Americans and American interests? Don't we have sufficient proof that this is not – assuming it ever was – the case? No, these are self-contained empires where growth in staffing, power, influence, and especially budgets is Job One – and the stated mission (you know, the reason they were set up in the first place) is... well, it's not even on the map most of the time. The State Department specializes in getting us embroiled in conflicts all over the world, that have no discernible bearing on national security or welfare... and where they can't get us into an actual shooting war, they manage to offend everyone so severely that it amounts to the same thing. And as for the intelligence agencies, well! They basically constitute a parallel government – the difference being, none of the officials is elected or subject to recall by the citizenry, and the term of office is... however long they feel like staying, basically. They play the intelligence “game” -- but when the bottom line spells disaster, they simply shrug and go on about their business, basically daring anyone to try cutting back on their resources. And this is what has happened again, for the umpteenth time, in Undiesbombergate – it was “oops, my bad”, or not even “my bad”, but just “oops” -- and barely that. And there's nothing like a narrowly-averted disaster (even when they did nothing to avert it) to bring out paeans of praise for the “intelligence community” and its “brave and dedicated personnel” from the president and Congress. (Almost makes you think the intel types “have something” on all these clowns, doesn't it? Well, they do.) So yeah – no one is going to go in and clean house. As a European diplomat once said, “Never explain; never apologize”. Of all the advice ever to come down the pike, this is the one that has been taken to heart the most by the intel and State types. Never explain – because the unwashed wouldn't understand – and never apologize – because that just weakens your position, and what do we want, to have to apologize every time something goes wrong? Forget it! So the wagons get circled, the wall of silence goes up, and goofballs like Lieberman and McCain are left scratching their wrinkled heads. But at least McCain showed a bit of insight when he called the ploy “we're all responsible therefore no one is responsible”. Yeah, John – it's called “the government”. Get used to it; you wanted to run it, remember?

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