Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

American Century: Can it survive, much less prevail?

Leadership means standing up and solving problems.

The ones who blame aren't leaders. And they don't solve problems.

Here's some inspiration to learn how to stand up to bullies. The Barbarians fighting the Roman Empire exposed the flaws. There's nothing like an inconvenient messenger.

Today's battle against "the enemy of the week" [whoever that is] is simply exploiting the flaws in the American cultural model. These flaws, despite the catalyst of 9-11 and the government bungling, continue.

The question is not whether the US can win; but whether the US can survive as a viable entity before its self-evident flaws are exploited.

The government's solution is to simply shoot the messengers. Just as we saw in Enron-Andersen how the auditors will get into bed with the corporate governors, so too are the auditors and media getting into bed with government and law enforcement.

Symbiotic relationship

Auditors, law enforcement, media, and government once formed a nice adversaries relationship. Today, they have combined forces.

Auditors routinely state they look into management issues. They have state-level statues mandating performance audits. Yet, they refuse this non-financial information.

Despite clear and specific information about malfeasance given to auditors and law enforcement, cases are not only dismissed, but those reporting the information are targeted for special attention. Not only is the initial information rebuffed, but the auditors and law enforcement are more likely to believe their brethren in government than the whistle blowers.

On top of this is the Bush Administration's policy of requiring DoJ to negotiate [at most] consent decrees, rather than court orders, where there are cases of mal/misfeasance or police corruption. DoJ is reticent to find criminal liability, as we saw in Goose Creek, SC.

The media when it came to the prison scandal was slow to embrace the news. Rather, it was more likely to chime, "Because they had not heard anything, anyone speaking out must be a prisoner, therefore questionable credibility." Small problem: The photos were overwhelming; and the "open court system" proved to be a fiction. Despite many abuses in the jails, the burden of proof was generally so high, prisoners were not given credible platforms to advocate for change. Prisoners are denied the right to have their editorials published in the news papers.

Government and law enforcement

The symbiotic relationship between government and law enforcement goes like this. Government, because it is ineffectual, invokes public outrage; and law enforcement, seeking more budget authority, tells government to give it a call "when they see something suspicious."

Presto chango. Public citizens speak out against government abuse and malfeasance; and government, fearing accountability, calls in the SWAT team to put pressure on those who would otherwise hold the government accountable. At the same time, law enforcement shows up with threats of detention in order to gather intelligence, and "prove" that there are bad guys out there, therefore, government staffers should continue to call law enforcement for assistance.

What does this do to solve the problem of government accountability and responsiveness to the real problems? Absolutely nothing. Which is exactly what the government wants: No accountability, thus no basis for "outsiders" to say, "Government is wrong."

This is the heart of the debate in America today. Will America modernize and embrace real leadership; or will it simply fall into the trap of making those "who dare speak out" the target of attacks.

To date, I see no evidence the post-9-11 world has changed. The government arrogance, abuse, misconduct, cover-ups, and blaming continue. This is the same non-sense that drove the government to do nothing about the previous reports prior to 9-11 about the failed FAA audits.

This time, the stakes are higher. Those out there in the real world know that this government, rather than reform, would rather abuse and mistreat those who dare speak out.

The test is going to be: Can this government modernize, reform, and remedy the inherent flaws of failed leadership, and then move forward to solve the real problems? Of course not. This is what is behind the Pentagon's recent statements: To simply deny problems, shift attention, and make the bad news "good news."

Our enemy knows we have not reformed, and the unremedied defects are the greatest flaw to exploit. Leadership, accountability, and command authority have broken down.

The media, law enforcement, auditors, and feedback mechanisms have holes and prove
ineffectual. Rather than fix what is broken, this government chooses to put great effort and energy into pretending to investigate, modernize, or repair problems. The illusions do not solve the self-evident flaws which others continue to exploit.

America needs to realize the seriousness of the flaws. The system of leadership, checks and balances, and ineffectual analysis which we saw in the Challlenger and Columbia incidents; are the same failed systems which proved to cause disasters in re Sibel Edmonds, 9-11, and the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo abuse scandals.

Nice Pentagon speeches clearly do not address reality. Rather, the Pentagon is merely doing more of what hasn't worked and is doomed to fail.

The Barbarians at the gates continue to send a message: That things are not right. The country did not listen before or after 9-11; and the fundamental problems behind 9-11 continue unremedied.

The New American Century will prove to be an illusion when the only "solution" is to engage in the abuses of the enemy we once fought during the Cold War. It is absurd we spent that much money to fight the USSR-turned-Russians, only to decide this late in the game that "maybe they had it right" and "secrecy, police states, and arrogance" are the way to go.

The former British and French colonies around the globe fought off abusive colonial masters. Some left freely; others had to be abused. Yet, it was the free flow of ideas in WWII that precipitated the change.

Auditors, law enforcement, government staff workers, and the media are no longer part of the solution, but symptoms of a problem. The Barbarians challenged the Roman Empire; Rome fell. So too is the United States in a tenuous position. It is time to wake up before there is another rude wake-up call. American have yet to understand the scope of their leadership problem and systemic failures.

The Pentagon is simply hoping to avoid accountability for failed leadership. The Military did not save Caesar from his own failing. So too will America find that an entrenched culture bent on blaming is doomed to fail. America's days are numbered, and the Pentagon simply wants to embrace the illusion that there is no problem. America, your cancerous leadership knows no end to keep you from the truth.