latetotheparty


Guide to life: We are all prisoners of our experience
October 7, 2006, 2:28 am
Filed under: guide to life, Uncategorized

I am liking Peggy Noonan these days. And not just because she’s confirming one of my central principles of decisionmaking: we are all prisoners of our own experience. She illustrates this twice in one column (in today’s WSJ), two sides of the Bushies’ coin: they had no combat experience, but did have experience listening to State Dept. drones:

“…I have come to give greater credence to the importance, in the age of terror, among our leaders, of having served in the military. For you need personal experience that you absorbed deep down in your bones, or a kind of imaginative wisdom that tells you even though you were never there what war is like, what invasion is…”

(snip)

“…Here I add something I have been thinking about the past year. It is about the young guys at the table in the Reagan era. The young, midlevel guys who came to Washington in the Reagan years were always at the table in the meeting with the career State Department guy. And the man from State, timid in all ways except bureaucratic warfare, was always going “Ooh, aah, you can’t do that, the Soviet Union is so big, Galbraith told us how strong their economy is, the Sandinistas have the passionate support of the people, there’s nothing we can do, stop with your evil empire and your Grenada invasion, it’s needlessly aggressive!” Those guys from State — they were almost always wrong. Their caution was timorousness, their prudence a way to evade responsibility. The young Reagan guys at the table grew up to be the heavyweights of the Bush era. They walked into the White House knowing who’d been wrong at the table 20 years before. And so when State and others came in and said, “The intelligence doesn’t support it, we see no WMDs,” the Bush men knew who not to believe.

History is human.”

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