"Or think of it this way: The reason the world's only superpower is stuck in the mud in Iraq is the same reason Xerox got into trouble with accounting, why Wall Street analysts and investment bankers didn't blow the whistle on WorldCom and Enron, and why much of the magic has gone out of Disney's Magic Kingdom.I think the
Such generalizations are dangerous. But over the years I've noticed that companies that get into trouble, or lose their edge, have many of the same characteristics at the top: an overemphasis on hierarchy and orderliness; a penchant for secrecy and keeping decisions closely held; an instinct to discount information or dismiss views that don't comport with the company line; a habit of pronouncing rather than engaging intellectually with those outside the inner circle; an unhealthy arrogance and sense of entitlement.
When something goes wrong, the all-too-typical corporate response is to downplay its importance or bury it in bureaucratic processes. And if that doesn't work, the next line of defense is to pin it all on a few 'bad apples' and move aggressively to 'put the issue behind us,' without ever really admitting serious error.
That should sound familiar to anyone who has watched Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Snow on C-SPAN, or read Paul O'Neill's account of his ill-fated attempts to warn of the budgetary fallout from a second tax cut, or heard what Richard Clarke told the 9/11 commission about warnings of terrorist attacks that fell on deaf ears. It also describes to a T the process by which the administration has dealt with Iraq, from the original decision to go to war to the handling of the prison scandal.
Here's a little test: You are president of the United States and revelations about abuse of Iraqi prisoners has created the biggest crisis since Sept. 11, inflaming the Arab world, undercutting support at home and undermining our moral authority in the world. How do you spend the weekend?
If you answered "spend it at Camp David as planned, then drop in at the Pentagon on Monday to praise the defense secretary for doing a superb job," you just flunked, along with George W. Bush."
"Well, I say that it is time to tell President Bush and his entire entourage:Which, I guess is a different way to frame the same point, but I think it lacks my stridency. Well, he has more to say on the subject.
Respectfully, you have had more than enough on-the-job training. Regretfully, this noble experiment simply didn't work - your learning curve has been nothing but disappointment - and now we need to put somebody in place who can plan and execute without having his staff spend the majority of their time cleaning up the President's messes."