A decisive leader who stays the course

Can anyone come up with the greatest recipe for disaster? How about a decisive leader who stays the course… assuming decisions made prove to be wrong. Never mind whether the “error” was by design (conspiracy); or simply the result of bad advice, poor judgment, or both.

Americans are giving Bush great marks for being a decisive leader… and also for being of one mind, for staying the course. Sadly, our judgment seems to be impaired if we are unable to discern between the value of being firm, the danger of being obstinate, and the disastrous consequences of remaining pigheaded… when wrong!

Why are we so impaired? Could it be the diet of distortions, lies, and omissions forced upon us? It is apparent that “someone” has done a great job brainwashing much of our moderate population, even among the bright and educated. The American press has been in great measure the culprit of this created mentality, this populist “group think.”

Multiple forms of mea culpa have appeared for the last two to three months in the mainstream press… but it’s too little, too late; the damage has already been done. The American press never wanted to appear confrontational to the Bush administration or, what seemed worse, to be tainted with the liberal label.

Why this media-phenomenon which would have been a delight to Goebbels, and brings smiles to Karl Rove’s face? I believe the answer to be a no-brainer, one that wipes out, in its entirety, the value of the much-touted freedom of the press. Although I know my rationale is far from unique, or it would cease to be a no-brainer, it seems to have little or no coverage in the media itself for rather obvious reasons, which I translate into a lack of genuineness by denying the public true media self-criticism.

The American press, at the nationally influential level, is quite different from the press of other nations, due perhaps to the scale in which ours operates (audience and power). American news people and political commentators, often indistinguishable to their audiences, are not only celebrities because of their jobs, and the culture of power in which they operate; but also because of their incomes, for most in the top 5%, making them susceptible to socio-economic bias.

At the aftermath of this first presidential debate, the issue of “decisiveness” continued front and center, overshadowing substance as before. It’s not enough that the man, arrogantly and without embarrassment, calls himself decisive; the press must follow… choreographing the word as if that and of itself is the cure-all attribute, the answer to our nation’s ills, the solution to all the problems confronting the world.

This first debate was supposed to have put foreign policy at the forefront. But, did it? Not by a mile! American foreign policy, at its strategy level, has the sub rosa support of both major political parties, and therefore is not a debatable issue, not one to be aired before the masses. Tactics in conducting foreign policy, yes… but not the strategy! End result: the public is purposely kept in the dark and, instead of being made aware of the issues, it is sent back to ponder who is more decisive, Bush or Kerry… irrespective of whether the decisions already made, or those which are to be made, are right or wrong for America .

There is little argument that Bush appears as the more decisive of the two candidates in matters of armed confrontation… promising to stay the course in Iraq, apparently without regard to cost or other consequences.
Perhaps we should review the bottom line costs so far: over 100,000 human casualties, 20,000+ of them deaths (assuming we put American and Iraqi numbers together, their families sharing the realm of pain and suffering); and $400 billion, and counting, in wasted economic resources, adding the cost of conducting the war to Iraq’s infra-structure losses… to be shared by the Iraqis and their descendants; and their American partners in fate, and their descendants.

All courtesy of a decisive American leader… who stayed the course!