Archive for August, 2004
ZENPUNDIT’S DERELICTION OF DUTY
Posting has been light due to personal matters and a need to grab the last bit of summer with the kids (the mighty Firstborn starts kindergarten next week). However I have a number of posts in the works and I should be able to get some of them up tomorrow. Many subjects I’d like to touch on – including strategy ( a nice link from JB at riting on the wall), PNM, the chronic cowardliness of Islamism’s clerical command and control and -if I’m particularly energetic – the effects of NCLB.
WARNING ! EXTREME CUTENESS !
Congratulations are in order for Mr. and Mrs. Barnett !
SWAN SONG OF AN INCOMPETENT MONOPOLIST
Walter Cronkite, formerly the most trusted man in America, at age 87 has formally closed his career as a journalist.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Cronkite prospered as the genial face of conformist, corporate, liberalism in a day when three networks and an FCC imposed ” fairness doctrine ” shut out dissenting opinions, particularly conservative ones, from the airwaves. On the most important story of his career, the Tet Offensive, he had the analysis completely wrong and substituted his own anti-war opinion for the facts on the ground, which were that the Viet Cong had been destroyed as an effective fighting force. Walter Cronkite’s report did not singlehandedly finish off America’s will to prosecute the war but it was, in my view, the greatest propaganda coup of the war for the North Vietnamese. It devastated the morale of the home front, particularly that of the liberal elite Cronkite himself represented.
After his forced retirement as an anchorman, Cronkite has become well-known as a curmudgeon, attacking the decline in broadcast standards, the proliferation of consumer choices in television news, the airing of conservative opinions before national audiences which never would have been permitted in his day, the internet and the bad language of Howard Stern. In truth, if Cronkite was working today as a young journalist in a hypercompetitive market he’d be damned lucky to even have a slot on CNN or National Public Radio.
Like many monopolists lamenting the advent of a free market he thinks having pranced in an artificially small arena made him a throroughbred.
MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR GOSS AS DCI
Despite an outburst of partisan snarkiness from the left-wing of the blogosphere, including from the normally mild-mannered Kevin Drum, Porter Goss has moved solidly ahead for confirmation as DCI, even among Congressional Democrats.
The complaints about the potential of Porter Goss being too ” political ” to render objective advice is specious. Anyone who knows anything about Washington politics is fully aware that successful exercise of high level administrative office in a Federal bureaucracy requires exceptional political skills. Whether an appointee was formerly elected to office has nothing to do with that. It’s hard to make the argument that his predecessors at DCI like Tenet, Casey and Dulles did not have political awareness – in fact I’m hard pressed to think of a more inane, counterproductive, characteristic in an intelligence chief than an obtuse disinterest in political realities. What in the hell do these critics think an intelligence agency is about ? Or what constitutes ” intelligence ” ?
The question of whether or not a DCI can be ” political ” and still give the president objective advice begs the question of how good the DCI’s political judgement is if they intentionally give the president the bad advice. In the desire to prevent a DCI as courtier we forget that access to the president – and the political power that flows from that proximity – is the only way the DCI can remediate the shortcomings of the CIA, much less the Intelligence Community.