Posted by: quiscus | November 22, 2012

November 22, 2012

1. “How Washington Makes Love for War

What Paula Broadwell teaches us about the foreign-policy elite.

Consider the C.V. of Paula Broadwell. As a piece by the Post’s Greg Jaffe and Anne Gearan points out, she was “a rising star who seemed destined for a sparkling career in foreign policy.” The question is why. She had no academic accomplishment to speak of, and was bounced from Harvard’s public policy school to a doctoral program in England, which itself is now reconsidering her status because of ethical concerns. According to an unnamed professor of hers at Harvard, “She was not someone you would think of as a critical thinker. I don’t remember anything about her as a student. I remember her as a personality.”

So why is it that this sort of person looks to be a rising star, someone destined for greatness? Simple: She was an effective self-promoter and networker and, most important, she never stopped to question the conventional wisdom. Broadwell’s ascent to prominence was a stepwise progression. The essential first step for Broadwell was allying herself with the emerging conventional wisdom that population-centric counterinsurgency was the missing tool in America’s defense arsenal and that General Petraeus could use it to fix America’s wars. But the crucial step Broadwell took was to use her status as a promoter of the conventional wisdom to attain access to power: in this case, General Petraeus. It was this proximity to power that made her a boldfaced name and won gushing blurbs for her mash-note book about Petraeus from an array of pundits and think tankers, whose imprimatur then signaled that Broadwell was a part of the establishment with wisdom to be heard.

In a biting piece at the New Republic, Noam Scheiber described Broadwell as “a flatterer in a community of flatterers, a networker among networkers, a credentialist embedded with the credential-obsessed.” While it’s worth pushing back from the table to consider the case, it’s also worth asking what the case says about the Washington foreign-policy elite in general. Paula Broadwell supplied a service that is in high demand in Washington: flashy promotion of the conventional wisdom. If members of the Washington media/think tank establishment want to complain or snicker that someone like her rose to such prominence, they ought to look in a mirror. While it might cause more social friction in fancy Georgetown salons, the country would benefit from elevating people who promise a bit less consensus and a bit more debate about foreign policy.”

2. “US: we initiate terrorism to create terrorists to overthrow governments

Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander NATO, testifies in this 2-minute video that the US planned to overthrow seven countries after 9/11: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

The Pentagon admitted a strategy to do so (here, here, here):

the US conducts acts of terrorism in nations they want to control,
the US continues terrorism to provoke an act of reprisal,
the US labels the reprisal “terrorism” to justify covert and overt military operations to overthrow targeted governments.

Therefore, the US caused the “war on terror” as a policy choice; 9/11 was pretense and not the cause.”


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