Sunday, January 18, 2004

Secrecy by Daniel Patrick Moynihan

An interesting little read that explains the culture of secrecy that has permeated the U.S. government since World War I and blames it for a lot that has gone wrong with our foreign policy over the years. The most damning accusation is the misguided path administration after administration took trying to beat the Soviets during the Cold War that ballooned deficits and obscenely increased the number of nuclear weapons that must now be disarmed or otherwise dealt with, all based on faulty information provided by “experts” about how the Soviet economy was growing by leaps and bounds over the American and about the need for America to speed up to eliminate the predicted “missile gap.” The information was dead wrong, 180 degrees wrong, but nobody dared question it and nobody could double check it because all the sources were classified. Moynihan argues that a society in which nearly everything is open is much better able to deal with reality because it provides itself with discussion and debate on the real issues, not the worried imaginings of what the government is keeping secret. As Moynihan says, a government that hoards secrets breeds a society that hoards conspiracies, and that, at least, seems like a pretty accurate description of the times we live in.

No comments:

Post a Comment