by William Polk
Probably like most of you, I am engaged in a daily attempt to make up my mind about President Obama. I was an early supporter.
And as a former Washington “player,” I am aware how difficult is his position. I began to worry when he failed to grasp what I have seen to be the early window of opportunity for a new administration — the first three months — when the government is relatively fluid. As the months have flown by, I have seen that there are many positive things, mainly in his eloquent addresses on world problems, notably his speech at the University of Cairo on world pluralism, but also quite a few negative things. With sadness and alarm I find that my list of the negatives keeps on growing.
Among them are the following:
(1) The commitment to the war in “Af-Pak” which (I believe) will cost America upwards of $6 trillion but perhaps only a few hundred casualties since we are relying increasingly on drone bombing. Just the money costs could derail almost everything Obama's supporters hoped and thought his administration would do.
(2) the choice of personnel is (to me) baffling:
[BULK OF THIS WORK NOT BROUGHT FORWARD–CLICK ON COUNTERPUNCH LOGO TO READ IT ALL.]
I am waiting for the Obama we elected to show up. I hope this drama does not follow Samuel Beckett's script.
William Polk served as the Middle East expert on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff during the Kennedy administration. He is the author of Violent Politics: a History of Insurgency and Terrorism from the American Revolution to Iraq.
+++++++Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment+++++++
The essence of intelligence qua decision-support is “360 degree awareness” as well as historical and cultural depth, and a green-eye shade understanding of “true costs” not only in fiscal terms, but in moral, demogrpahic, environmental, and social terms.
It is our view that President Barack Obama isa good man trapped in a bad system, and that all he needs to do in order to restore America's integrity and fiscal as well as moral health is these two things:
1) Demand of Congress the Electoral Reforn Act of 2009, a copy of which can be seen by clicking on the Frog to the left; and
2) Demand of Congress the Smart Nation Act of 2009, a copy of which can be seen by clicking on the Frog in the middle.
There is nothing wrong with America, or the Earth, that cannot be fixed by restoring the Constitution and the Republic Of, By, and For We the People, the soverign people replete with common sense and public intelligence in the public interest.
There is nothing wrong with the Obama Administration professionally that cannot be fixed by the introduction of a Whole of Government strategic planning, programming, and budgeting process, as well as a transformation of national intelligence to provide all necessary decision support to the President AND everyone else. Click on the Frog to the left for that White Paper, forthcoming in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (Winter 2009-2010).
Electoral Reform is straight-forward. It restores free and open elections in place of the two-party tyranny, and it restores the right to vote across every district. This version does not contain a number of rightwous ideas from the Independent voters who now outnumber BOTH the Democratic and Republican voters.
The Smart Nation Act was devised the Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02), himself a professional intelligence officer and retired Army Colonel. It enables “school-house to White House” decision support against all threats across all policies.
Finally, we have the urgent need to fix the inner workings of the White House and National Intelligence. Many Commissions have reported on this since 1947, most notably and presciently Jim Schlesinger's in the 1970's, and more recently Aspin-Brown (completely ignored by successive Administraitons). America is too complicated to be run by one cabal lacking in global knowledge.