How US policy makers unknowingly harm the USA
Regional-USA, Analysis, 12/11/2007
The National Intelligence Council has made public the summary of a report on Iran's intentions regarding nuclear weapons. The report states that Iran had stopped work on the design for nuclear weapons since several years.
Whether true or not, this maybe a pattern revealing the conflict between attempts by US intelligence agencies to provide policy makers with unbiased factual data versus the desire of policy makers to use, and at times misleadingly, intelligence reports for political purposes, as had happened prior to the war in Iraq, when the CIA revealed that "The Central Intelligence Agency has no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the United States in nearly a decade, and the agency is also convinced that President Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda or related terrorist groups" as the New York Times reported (see linked reference), as have the claims made against Iran regarding nuclear weapons capabilities and intentions been misleading the US public.
So two questions become important here: 1. Why would US policy makers knowingly mislead or misstate facts to the American public. 2. And if it is true that they are misleading the public, then is this good or not.
As to why the US policy makers, looking at this report, and previous CIA reports prior to the US invasion of Iraq, it should be fairly certain that policy makers were misleading the public by cherry picking facts in a manner that gives a false picture of entire intelligence reports. So, for example, if an intelligence report says "Iraq is developing nuclear weapons, but they are not likely to succeed, or if they do, it will be in a 100 years," policy makers who have their own hidden or open agenda for attacking Iraq or another country, use such classified intelligence reports by repeating only part of the report to the public by saying "A US intelligence report says 'Iraq is developing nuclear weapons'" leaving out the more important facts of the report, and thus severely misleading the public.
Good intelligence agencies are not supposed to be making policies, and their reports and recommendations are supposed to be secret. Therefore, the intelligence agencies, if they are to be true to their duty, face a serious conflict of interest, that must be demoralizing to some, because, when such agencies hear policy makers use their reports misleadingly, and these intelligence officials are prevented from correcting policy makers, since they are not supposed to interfere with policy making, and worse, they are pledged to secrecy, which policy makers know of, and can abuse, by counting on the fact that intelligence agencies are not allowed to speak publicly on reports to contradict them. Here we can see, where intelligence agency officials, who may feel they are suppose to protect the interest of the country, watch how they are being abused by policy makers, and at the same time, have to stay quite about it. It must be a very difficult situation, and can be called an abuse of not only the intelligence agencies' function, but an abuse of citizens' intelligence. One can only have sympathy to those tempted to leak reports, when such things happen.
The second question is why would policy makers intentionally mislead the public and is this a good thing. When US officials, who are well intended, mislead the public, it can be purely out of ignorance of better ways to solve a problem. They think that it is hard to explain to the US public the complexity of the issue involved, and that short misleading statements is the best way to give the public a summary a particular situation, and at the same time, mobilize public opinion. So, in the example above, a summary statement may be "Iraq is developing nuclear weapons," and therefore, using such misleading statement, it becomes easy to mobilize public opinion against Iraq, in order for the US to achieve success in placing pressure on Iraq. This pressure, the US will use as it sees fit for any other purpose. So here we can see that the goal of the statement by US officials is actually to simply gain an advantage over another country, Iraq, in this case. So clearly, if that is the case, and if US policy makers' goals are to keep the US in a superior position against other countries, than that seems like an excellent goal for the public. After all, that is why they get elected, to supposedly "protect the national interest." And, that is why I describe these policy makers as being well intentioned but highly misguided. They are misguided because the national interest is likely better achieved when truth is told to the American public, and not lies, even if it is for a very good cause. When policy makers lie to the public, it can be harmful on many front: 1. It undermines confidence in the integrity of the system 2. It puts the idea that the goals justify the means. 3. It fails to take the better approach of educating the citizens about important and complex issues, thus missing great opportunity to increasing the intelligence and awareness level of the American public in general. 4. US officials think that the public really does not care how immoral the government is regarding foreign policy as long as the public does not know the details, and if the policy supposedly serves US interests, thus, keeping unethical policies away from the view of the US public because "we, as policy makers, know best."
So, if my analysis of the problem is correct, then, no matter how well intentioned are US policy makers about using such tactics to drive US policy, these tactics are harmful to the US interest because they are not tactics are not of high standards. Thus, such tactics are substandard, and are not the best tactics. As such, they are primitive tactics not befitting the kind of society I think we are, or think we should be. This means, that policy makers must be honest for a society to have good policy, and at the same time, a person should not count on the goodwill and self interest of politicians to do so. The system itself must be set up in such a manner so as to allow the truth to shine. That is transparency. There are many ways of doing so, so that unadulterated facts are brought to the public.
If politicians do not want to educate the public about issues, than that is a separate subject to discuss. Politicians may be faced with the uncomfortable and undiplomatic task of telling the public facts such as: "we have great interest in controlling oil or ensuring its supply for us and others, and for that, we will go to war." Unpleasant as this may sound, it it may be better than lying to the public to create pretense for a war. If we cannot trust the public to understand and make correct decisions, then this reveals either a failure of the educational and social system to bring up good citizens that have the capacity to understand such issues, or reveals that US policy makers are engaged in affairs and methods, that when exposed, the US public would not approve of, which would indicate that the government is not being subservient to the citizens legal or moral wishes. Either way, this is not a good situation.
So the Iran report, in a more complex way, relates to regional power struggles, that relates to international power struggles and interests, that all must be tied back to US interests, and the question of: What is in the USA's best interest, and how do you achieve it.
I hope that I have given some sense that the US policy makers in their intentional or unintentional statements and actions have often harmed US interest rather than helped it. The US is more transparent than many countries in its policies, and clearly, this issue applies to policy makers in other countries as well. I think that the problem I described can be remedied by education. That is why I have published two books about these subjects and in them you will find complete answers for how the US can follow proper policy, and how this is not only beneficial for US citizens, but for others around the world as well. (Write reviews about the books please since sales so far stink).
Author of the book: A Second American Revolution: Creating Rational Government
and the book: A Third American Revolution: A New World Government . A Plan for Liberty, Justice and Peace"
Transparency and liberty
India becoming member of the UN Security Council
UN Security Council is an example of despotism
Iran has full right to pursue full nuclear development
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