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Saturday, July 31, 2004

9/11 Commission Recommendations: WEAK

William S. Lind has it right when he says this about the 9/11 Commission Report:

When bureaucracies fail, one of their favorite ways to deflect demands for reform is to offer reorganization instead. That appears to be what has happened in the report of the 9/11 commission and Washington’s response to that report. Worse, the reorganization envisioned is to further centralize intelligence by establishing a national intelligence director and creating a counterterrorism center. One is tempted to ask, if centralization improves performance, why didn’t the Soviet Union (“democratic centralism”) win the Cold War?

What American military and national intelligence really require is that bureaucratic anathema, reform. And reform in turn means not centralization and unification, but de-centralization and internal competition. What did us in both on 9/11 and in the run-up to the Iraq war was an intelligence process that valued committee consensus and internal harmony above the open rough-and-tumble disagreements that surface new ways of looking at things....
He concludes by saying:

At the heart of our inability to reform instead of merely reorganize and further centralize our national intelligence is the crisis of the state itself. The state cannot reform because reform endangers the money and power of the New Class, which controls the state and feeds richly off its decay. As we will see in Washington’s response to the 9/11 commission report, the public is decoyed by puppet shows while the old games continue. And non-state, Fourth Generation enemies, who unlike the New Class really believe in something beyond themselves, will hit us again and again.

Remember, government bureaucracies don’t get more money and more power when they succeed, but when they fail. With an incentive system like that, it is fairly obvious what the rest of us are going to get more of: the consequences of intelligence failures.
The 9/11 Commission Report: Reorganization, Not Reform [Lind]

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