Monday, February 09, 2009
Wretchard postulates two impediments to effective counter-intelligence,
1) Organizational, with bureaucrats focused on turf battles rather than their oath of office,
2) Political, with foreign agents covered by morally corrupt partisan interests.
May I suggest that the problem might be deeper than that? The political cover has metastasized to the point that it is no longer passive enabling but actual collaboration. For example consider the Iraqi WMD fiasco. Wretchard presumes that the Intel agencies mistakenly passed on a report that Iraq had WMD because a lack of Humint assets prevented us from knowing the error in the original British report. It is possible for the sake of argument to consider that the wilder rumors regarding the WMD could be correct. What if Saddam did have stocks of chemical weapons that were shipped to Syria during the months long period gained for him by French deceit and Democratic intransigence? What in fact if the WMD not only existed but was known to exist with physical evidence being located and personnel questioned? Given the pervasive information lockdown on anything that contradicted the party line "Bush lied, children died" only a dysfunctional fringe would pay attention to the information. Alternative considerations of sensitive subjects are rapidly confined to the tin foil hat ghetto inhabited by 9-11 Troofers, UFO enthusiasts, Illuminati or Masonic or Zionist conspiracy theorists, believers in the guilt of Alger Hiss, questioners of Obama's qualification for his office and doubters of the efficacy of the New Deal. Some of these are fantasies of the deranged and some are simply wrong and one or two may be accurate. Without a healthy information distribution and testing culture it becomes hard to know.
Totalitarian cultures, like the Soviets or the Academic society of Politically Correct speech codes can be highly effective at controlling the flow of information and convincing atomized individuals of the correctness of a predetermined position. Everyone can be made to believe that Bush lied or Obama is a brilliant achiever or there is no difference between men and women or raising the minimum wage will reduce poverty. What the cultural apparatus cannot do is eliminate the effects of people acting on these erroneous beliefs. If you act on a faulty belief, even one that is generally accepted, then the result will be failure. The costs of that failure can range from poverty to a holocaust.