There are times when someone spells out issues plainly and simply. This op-ed by Peter Neumann
put the issues Richard Clarke's book and testimony have raised into what I believe is the real
concern: the degree to which the Bush Administration doesn't understand the world we live in today.
Here's the key quote:
But the Washington hawks failed to see what was happening. The world around them had changed, but their paradigm hadn't. For them, states continued to be the only real movers and shakers in the international system, and any serious "strategic" threat to America's security could only come from an established nation.
Condi, Rummy, Cheney and the like have been operating with a set of assumptions and an understanding of the world that doesn't take into account the changed circumstances of the world in the post-Soviet era. This is the true difference between an intellectual and an ideologue: the intellectual is interested in the conditions s/he is studying and will embrace new information and incorporate it into the "theory"; the ideologue holds fast to the answers s/he knows best.
What we need are intelligent leaders informed by intellectuals who know that the state of knowledge is always changing, that nothing is ever completely "known" and therefore the possibility of adaptation is part of one's expertise. The true expert knows when to adapt, when it is time to change our models.
Rather than frame our criticisms as purely partisan politics that concentrates on the "neglect" of this Administration, we might do better to concentrate on this dimension: it is BushCo's intellectual incuriosity and ignorance that puts us in danger.
We need smart leaders not stubborn ones, as this affiliction affects the Bush Administration in many policy areas, not simply foreign policy. Its just that the dangers are most accute and most visible in the foreign policy arena.