Chowder, oil, and group think
And on a different note and in connection with my obsession with peak oil and the impending collapes of the American economy, my friend Erik, who has worked in and around the oil industry for many years, forwarded these links. I haven't had time to investigate them all extensively, but suffice it to say that what I've read so far paints a somber picture.
And just so I can feel like this is somebody else's fault, here's an interesting link to excerpts from an article from The New Yorker discussing the substantial ways in which Brent Scowcroft disagrees with George W. Bush. For those of us like myself with short memories it helps to be reminded that Scowcroft was Bush Sr.'s most important advisor on foreign affairs, particularly related to the Middle East. He was against an invasion and occupation of Iraq during the first Gulf War and was against it during the second. Obviously, one Bush listened and another didn't. And lest you think that this is an instance of an obsolete elder statesman attempting to butt in where he isn't wanted, pay particular attention to this excerpt:
"Scowcroft's colleagues told me that he would have preferred to deliver his analysis privately to the White House. But Scowcroft, the apotheosis of a Washington insider, was by then definitively on the outside, and there was no one in the White House who would listen to him. On the face of it, this is remarkable: Scowcroft's best friend's son is the President; his friend Dick Cheney is the Vice-President; Condoleezza Rice, who was the national-security adviser, and is now the Secretary of State, was once a Scowcroft protege; and the current national-security adviser, Stephen Hadley, is another protege and a former principal at the Scowcroft Group."
If Brent Scowcroft, friend of Bush Sr., friend of Cheney, and mentor of Rice and Hadley can't get the message across, who can?
When I was doing my undergrad degree in psychology, I took a class on social psychology. Among other things, we studied the phenomenon of group think, the tendency of pressurized groups to close ranks around the dominant idea as backed by the most powerful figure and discourage lateral or divergent thoughts. The classic case study is the Bay of Pigs fiasco. It's beyond sad to think that measures haven't been taken to prevent history from repeating itself, but it seems more and more demonstrable that our country is being run by a cadre incapable of listening to any idea that doesn't affirm its current worldview. I can think of few things worse to say about a President.