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Bush Case Study
Case Study in Decision Making
Onlookers often assume that a man who has a firm mindset, and a strong will does not go through what onlookers would consider a "traditional decision making process" Men with strong minds, and a sense of moral right and wrong often take much more time considering a course of action than other who make decisions based on personal agendas. Men with moral mindsets are simply not easily persuaded once a new decision is firmly made on the basis of what the decision make considers moral grounds. For the moral decision maker, the moral right and wrong of a situation dictate the course of action once the somewhat rigid boundaries are crossed. It is the moral absolutism which the on looking world does not understand.
When George W. Bush decided that the country would go to war against those responsible for the 9-11 attacks on our country, he did not make the decision alone, nor did he make the decision out of a personal agenda. The national media would attempt to spin the events that even now are unfolding. He made the decision on the basis of a moral groundwork which supports going to war when our nation is attacked first. Bob Woodward echoed this sentiment in a recent interview with the Harvard International Review. He said "The Bush administration is clearly different. In neutral terms, it pursues a much more aggressive, assertive foreign policy. It is very clear that many people abroad, including foreign leaders and the public in European and other countries worldwide, perceive it as arrogant. That is a problem that the Bush administration has. It either is arrogant or is strongly perceived as arrogant."
No one would have labeled President Roosevelt's speech regarding our entrance into WWII after Pearl Harbor as an arrogant "reactionary decision based on a personal agenda." With the full support of the congress, President Roosevelt declared war on Japan the day after its attack on the naval base in Hawaii. In the same way, the full support of Congress was signed onto a document issuing to president full support, and the political and legal right to declare war on those who were responsible for attacking buildings in New York, and Our nation's capitol. No one knows the damage that would have been caused in the streets of Washington DC had the 4th plane reached its target.
A comparison which evaluates George Bushes decision making process against the "normal" or "rational" decision making process makes an underlying political assumption. The assumption declares that George Bush did not make a "rational" decision via a rational process. This writer disagrees with this assumption, as does Mr. Woodward. Bob continues in his Harvard interview, "He (Pres. Bush) believes that the United States must lead reluctant countries in what he calls the "flip stream" of U.S. leadership and decisiveness, and he believes that other states will follow." In the evaluation of the president's decision in this matter, this review will make the comparison between a rational process and the actions of our president without the underlying surreptitious assumption. Ultimately, the decision for the actions of our country lies with the president. Although his consultant, advisors, and even his wife have the opportunity to make major influence on the president, Mr. Bush is the only one responsible for the lives of American combat men and women. He alone bears the consequences in the world community for the actions of the nation. This is an important aspect that all leaders know too well, and all arm chair leaders in the halls of Congress and behind reporter desks do not yet understand.
Woodward's virtual wiretap into the White House Situation Room reveals a stunning group portrait of an untested president and his advisers. Three of these men are presidential material themselves. During the 100 days after the 911 attacks, the Bush cabinet is portrayed as a constantly squabbling group whose differences and disagreements are solved by the threat of presidential intervention. No one wants to look bad in front of the MBA in Chief, it seems, and a great deal of energy is apparently allocated to jockeying for position. Is this an aberration of the rational decision making process? If the key managers of a high tech manufacturing plant were called into a product development meeting in order to issue a final yes or know on the launch of a new product, the same level of jockeying for position, and working out details ahead of the final meeting would take place. The difference in this setting is that Mr. Woodward is able to place the preliminary discussions in front of the reader, who expected to see a smooth running government, even in the midst of a national crisis.
The key players in this setting are the president's cabinet, and department chiefs. Vice president Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condolesa Rice, and CIS director George Tenet. These five were responsible to the president to give in put on an impending conflict.
Vice President Dick Cheney, taciturn but hard-line, was one who had the experience of a white house tour of duty prior to his service for the current George Bush. His was a forward looking, effectiveness of the operation approach, and his perspective helped move along the political efforts, such as Powell's. Part of his activeness was a constant pressing for more urgency in Afghanistan and toward Iraq. In one meeting Woodward reports Cheney as saying "Air operations without boots on the ground would look weak." Cheney's observations were in turn balanced buy those responsible for the political and media viewpoints, in that they did want to force our troops into a situation just to do something to look good in a PR opportunity. Cheney was quoted: "Do it because it is smart."
The book indicates that Vice President Cheney made the decision himself to go into an undisclosed location Oct. 29 after Bush went macho when told there was intelligence about a possible dirty bomb-like weapon. While Bush stuck his Texas heels in the ground and declared "Those bastards are going to find me exactly here," Bush said. "And if they get me, they're going to get me right here." VP Cheney erupted: "This isn't about you. This is about our Constitution.... And that's why I'm going to a secure, undisclosed location."
Overall, VP Cheney was one of the less visible contributors to the process of planning the war, but one of the more stabilizing influences by focusing on the structure which was needed to facilitate the government, and the media, and an efficient prosecution of the war efforts
Next in line of the advisors who had a significant role was national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, the ever-present troubleshooter. She surprisingly emerges as perhaps the president's most important adviser. In one typical example, the president described Condi this way. "Sometimes that's the way I am - Fiery. On the other hand, Rice's job is to bear the brunt of some of the fire, so that it takes the edge off it a bit. And She's good at that" It was just in his nature to be fiery, the President said.
Woodward goes on to describe a national security council meeting on Oct. 16 in which Rumsfeld insisted that the military was following the C.I.A.'s strategy in Afghanistan. Oh no, Tenet's deputy, John McLaughlin, said, "our guys work with the CINC" -- that is, the commander in chief in the field, Gen. Tommy R. Franks. "We're supporting the CINC. The CINC is in charge." "No," Rumsfeld countered, "you guys are in charge.... We're going where you tell us to go." After the meeting, according to Woodward, Rice took Rumsfeld aside and said, "Don, this is now a military operation and you really have to be in charge." Condi had the ability to work with people's personalities, and both take the fire off the edge, and put the fire underneath when it needed to be there.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the brainy agitator and media star who led the military through Afghanistan and, he is identified as one of the few who hopes to lead a military effort through Iraq.
Rumsfeld was one of Bush's advisors who, wile not offering as much direct advice to the commander in chief, demanded that information coming into his office was accurate, up-to-date, and complete. He had a penchant for typos on memos, and was known to give multi-star generals an 'ass chewing' if they came to his office unprepared.
Bush at War includes a vivid portrait of CIA director George Tenet, ready and eager for covert action against terrorists in Afghanistan and worldwide. It follows a CIA paramilitary team leader on a covert mission inside Afghanistan to pay off assets and buy friends with millions in U.S. currency carried in giant suitcases. The first Americans on the ground in northern Afghanistan, a team of CIA covert…[continue]
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