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Groupthink
It is amazing to me that President Bush continues to claim the accuracy of his decision to go to war in Iraq last year, inspite of the obvious lack of any imminent threat, the completely asinine handling of the post war situation and the worsening of the country's image everywhere from old faithful friends to avowed foes. As he barnstorms across the states, the President is selling the notion that America is today safer than it was roughly seventeen months ago, a hard sell to any reasonably minded person, surely, for when you consider the ill will generated by the war, not just amongst old allies but so also in every Islamic country and society. The Washington Post today, in a yeah-we-too-screwed-up article by Howard Kurtz says of the the groupthink leading up to the war,
Days before the Iraq war began, veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus put together a story questioning whether the Bush administration had proof that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

But he ran into resistance from the paper's editors, and his piece ran only after assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, who was researching a book about the drive toward war, "helped sell the story," Pincus recalled. "Without him, it would have had a tough time getting into the paper." Even so, the article was relegated to Page A17.
The assertion that the war on terrorism is merely a conflict between self defined perceptions of Good and Evil is missing the motivation of Islamic radicalism, it reduces a larger, complex issue to black and white which Bush has been wont to do. Though I can't claim to even begin to fathom what could possibly drive those nineteen men to try and kill as many Americans as their plans would let them, I'm quite certain they did it with as much belief in their being right as President Bush does in his going to war with Iraq. I have little doubt the Al Qaeda continues to plot acts of terrorism and is bound to strike sooner rather than later, but perhaps not in the US, they seem to be focussing on softer targets including American interests and citizens in other countries. Had the war on terror spent more effort and resources, both financial as well as intellectual, in rooting out Al Qaeda cells in Europe, Saudi Arabia and other hotbeds, it would have been far more effective in protecting America and American interests, than the current strategy has been. To, however, pull out of Iraq now, would be an even graver mistake than going in was, we can only hope that the American troops along with Iraqi forces get the security situation in that country under control through a prudent and determined use of their situational advantages and superior numbers.


groupthink is a powerful phenomenon which has led many a thinktank astray. Even venerable institutions like Washington post does not seem immune from it. The Washington post admitting it carried bush administrations "justification" for the war on the front pages while relegating its own reporters version questioning the war to the less high profile pages.
 

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