On Deaf Ears

Picture this: A president, working partly through a political appointee at CIA headquarters, presses the intelligence community to come up with the “right” intelligence that this president needs to justify his actions.  The president has singled out a particular foreign leader for demonization, has convinced himself that this leader is the embodiment of evil, and will not listen to dissenting opinions.  The president lives in isolation in his Oval Office bubble.  He is cut off from the rest of the country, surrounded by like-minded people, and derides his critics and opponents as beneath contempt.  The careerist CIA hierarchy and the political appointee on the “seventh floor” at Langley are inclined to “serve” the president (that is, give him what he wants, not what he might need to make informed decisions) and choose selectively from the information they have at hand (often using dubious sources) spinning that information to give the president what he needs to justify his views and his decisions—especially when things begin to go wrong.  Nevertheless, the president’s plans come to naught, and his policies fail.  Yet his arrogance and self-satisfaction are such that he stubbornly clings to his version of reality, impervious to reason or evidence.  This president is incapable of introspection or self-criticism.

The president is Barack Obama; the political...

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