IT’S A PECULIAR FACT—BUT, AGAIN AND AGAIN, CALIBER LOSES OUT TO CAREERISM
A GREAT DEAL OF WHAT IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING REGARDING TERRORISM WAS BOTH PREDICTABLE AND PREDICTED.
Why were the warnings not listened to?
‘Caliber,’ in this context is being used to indicate people of knowledge, experience, character, commitment, and integrity, who really know what they are talking about—and who are dedicated to the task at hand. Such people are the exception, rather than the rule.
‘Careerism,’ is shorthand for a pattern of self-serving, opportunistic behavior, where personal advancement is the dominant motivation—and where the mission is decidedly secondary.
Careerism is incompatible with integrity. Expediency rules.
Where careerism is concerned, a classic pattern of behavior involves doing whatever is necessary to please those above while demanding much the same from those below. You tell your superiors whatever is most likely to please them—regardless of whether it is true or not—and you avoid making as many decisions as possible, because some of them might be wrong. You block change because who knows where that may lead. You fight to preserve the status quo because you know how to game that to your advantage—and you know it will please your superiors, because any system that promoted them must be the right one—and preserved at all costs..
The conflict between caliber and careerism has doubtless been going on since the beginning of time—but it is a particular feature of U.S. culture because careerism thrives so well in an environment where unfettered corporatism is allowed to rule the roost—such corporatism being as much a feature of the political and military worlds as the nominally commercial.
These days it is hard to distinguish one from another—and, of course, the U.S. MICC (Military Industrial Congressional Complex) is a perfect greed-driven manifestation of this. The description of this pattern of behavior that is beginning to evolve into general use is ‘crony capitalism’—a form of capitalism without a moral code where only an elite—and those who serve them—benefit.
Crony capitalists—being careerists—will do anything for self-advancement. They have no time for concepts such as National Security or ‘the public good,’ and neither do they have any interest in the truth, as such. The only things that matters, as far as they are concerned, are the answers to two questions: “Is there a profit in it for me?” and: “Is the status quo, which serves me so well, threatened in any way.”
The point to appreciate here is that although careerists may be mendacious in many ways, they are very far from stupid. As a consequence, the issue was not that they were not warned of the ever increasing threat of Islamic extremism, but whether it suited them to do anything of substance about it.
The brutal truth is that an ongoing climate of fear, combined with vast military and security expenditure, and the ineffective conduct of a whole series of wars and other conflicts—suits them just fine. Better yet, this brutal mess looks like continuing indefinitely.
Islamic extremism is a good thing if you are a crony capitalist. It is a profit opportunity. It boosts the money flow that is the driving force behind the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. The terrorists and the MICC are complicit.
Once you see matters in this light, a great deal of the seemingly inexplicable makes sense. It is now obvious, for instance, why Saudi Arabia, which actively supports Islamic extremism, is allowed to get away with it. It becomes clear why so little effective action has taken place to resolve the chaos in Syria.
Follow the money—and ask yourself: Who gains?
I am not writing about this from a position of no knowledge. As stated elsewhere, I have studied small wars, irregular warfare, and terrorism for over six decades—and have written a series of books featuring terrorism. I have also lived with terrorism for several decades—and have been in harm’s way on a number of occasions.
Even more to the point is the fact that I have had long relationships with a number of people and organizations who are specialists in this area—and who have an impressive track record of forecasting, with considerable accuracy, what will happen.
In some cases, I have been involved with attempting to communicate the research to those who were in a position to take preventative action. I had access at an extremely high level to both Congress and the Pentagon—yet I was rarely successful. Careerists no interest in evidence—and eternal conflict serves them well.
I was up against closed minds, vested interests, personal fiefdoms—and, invariably, careerism. A further factor is a culture of laziness. Becoming familiar with this arcane world takes a great deal of time and work—and relatively few are willing to make that kind of commitment. As a consequence, their other motives apart, they rarely have the knowledge to evaluate the evidence they are supplied with—so find it easier to do nothing (regardless of their other motivations).
It is hard to explain just how bad the situation is. On the fact of it, you would think that since it has been 14 years since 9/11 the U.S. would be overflowing with relevant expertise and experience—yet if the results are anything to go by, such is not the case.
In fact, one wrong policy or decision follows another. The recent fiasco involving $500 million and the abortive training of a mere handful of Syrian ‘moderates’ is just one such example. The one constant is that careerism and corruption are rife.
It is tempting to think that defeating ISIS will resolve the most serious issue. They certainly need to be defeated—and almost certainly will be. But, even if ISIS is wiped off the face of the earth, the level of threat will continue if not increase.
Why so? Because ISIS is a symptom of a much deeper problem—and not the cause.
The real enemy is within.