The leaden blanket of national security lies like a miasma across our traditional institutions that groan beneath its weight. This is as it should be because the intricate and interwoven fantasies that make up our national security are beyond the ken of the average citizen and are best handled by a priesthood of “wise men” adept at spinning the steel threads that make up its warp and woof.
In his book, The Limits of Power, Andrew Bacevich says that, “…one of the fundamental assumptions on which the national security elite bases it claim of authority [is that] public opinion is suspect; when it comes to national security, the public’s anointed role is to defer.”
In other words, democracy has no place in war and peace. The only role the public is allowed to play is to be prepared to get shot up in a war that advances one of the wise men’s policies.
The wise men are a real rip. They are living proof of Samuel Beckett’s dictum that, “Habit is a great deadener.”
The mind of an insider, when he is inside for too long, morphs over time from pragmatism to a fossilized ideology. The novice wise man begins by assessing his version of reality. From that assessment he spins a policy that is followed by another policy improving upon the original policy that yields a policy that improves upon the improvement of the original policy that soon produces an amended policy to compensate for the shortcomings of the corrected policy. In the meantime, the reality upon which the original policy was based is no more, which results in a jarring disconnect between the amended, amended, amended policy and the actual, living situation to which it is to be applied.
The personification of the intellectually arthritic wise man is Zbigniew Brezinsky. Here is an individual so locked into a Cold War mentality that he thinks it is 1960 and that Khrushchev is still threatening to bury capitalism. His vaunted understanding of how the world works is grounded in an obsolete worldview. How else do you explain his scheme to break Russia into three separate regions?
What a wonderful way to start the ultimate global war.
All I can say is, thank God for the dustup over the maternity of Sarah Palin’s child/grandchild. It is burning issues like these that guarantee there will never be a debate over the role of our wise men in getting us into one useless war after another.