Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Dogma versus evidence in leadership

James K. Galbraith has an interesting critique of GW Bush in salon.com (http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/10/18/disillusioned_republicans/index.html)

"You can't run the world on faith"

Some Reagan conservatives decry Bush's "Messianic" approach and preference for dogma over evidence.



Here's how it goes. It seems that GW Bush has no doubt about his leadership, even in the face of clear and completely credible evidence that the invasion of Iraq was a drastically bad mistake. The question is, why? He's not an idiot.

Galbraith quotes three different Reagan-era Republicans of note with their theories:

  • He's driven by blind faith in a mission given to him by God. Basically: "kill them all and let God sort it out"
  • The demand to not fail at war creates an ultimate demand for lock-step consensus with whatever Bush says
  • He's 'woefully misinformed'

The last is especially interesting because it's well known that Bush in particular does not directly read newspapers or watch the news. And, it seems it's not just GW Bush, but also Donald Rumsfeld

http://www.princeton.edu/~paw/archive_new/PAW04-05/02-1006/features2.html

This article is from the Princeton Alumni Weekly and gives a capsule summary of Rummie's life at Princeton. It's interesting to mull what's said about him from that time, and compare with what is happening now:

“With Rummy, right was always right,” says Somers Steelman ’54, explaining his ex-roommate’s sense of morality. “He was a great one for ‘What works?’” Steelman adds. “There was no esoteric thinking about ‘What could be?’”

[He was a champion wrestler]: He was characteristically preemptive, refusing to wait for a chance to exploit an opponent’s weaknesses, preferring instead to initiate the action and make his opponent react to him.

Stevens recalls Rumsfeld chiding his friends for wasting their time reading a daily newspaper. Just read the Sunday paper and a good weekly news magazine and you’ll get all the information on world affairs you need, he told them.

Whatever the issue, it's not just Bush but the whole team. Here in these quotes about Rumsfeld we see echos of todays Administration actions.