LIVE STREAM: Can Washington’s National Security Bureaucracy Work?


How can Washington avoid merely moving from one crisis to the next and instead engage in forward looking, strategic policy-making?
To address this question, the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program is hosting an event TODAY from 12:15pm – 1:45pm with James Locher, President & CEO of the Project on National Security Reform.
Locher will discuss the importance of reforming the national security bureaucracy and the recommendations of a new report, Turning Ideas Into Action.
Steve Clemons will moderate the event, which will STREAM LIVE here at The Washington Note.
— Ben Katcher


11 comments on “LIVE STREAM: Can Washington’s National Security Bureaucracy Work?

  1. samuelburke says:

    By George F. Will
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009
    “Actress Cate Blanchett, who has played Queen Elizabeth I, is performing here, portraying someone less than regal — flurried, anxious Blanche DuBois, in Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.” If Obama administration officials involved in formulating Afghanistan policy see her, they should wince when she speaks DuBois’s signature line: “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
    The U.S. mission — whatever it is; stay tuned — in that fractured semi-nation depends on substantially increased competence and radically reduced corruption among the strangers governing in, if not much beyond, Kabul. One stranger is Afghanistan’s president. We are getting to know him well.
    On Jan. 29, 2002, just 114 days after the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan began, President George W. Bush, during his State of the Union address, introduced to a joint session of Congress and to a national television audience a man in the gallery of the House chamber — “the distinguished interim leader of a liberated Afghanistan, Chairman Hamid Karzai.” Interim no more, he has won — or at least secured — another five years in office. Abdullah Abdullah, whom Karzai defeated in Aug. 20’s ruinous election — fraudulent ballots, bogus polling places, one-third of Karzai’s votes disallowed — has decided not to participate in a runoff, partly because it was to be conducted by those who supervised the first election. When it was reported that Abdullah was thinking about withdrawing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response was inane: “We see that happen in our own country where, for whatever combination of reasons, one of the candidates decides not to go forward. I don’t think it has anything to do with the legitimacy of the election.” So, Afghanistan is just like America — candidates decide “not to go forward.”
    After hearing that Abdullah would withdraw, Clinton said, “I do not think it affects the legitimacy. . . . When President Karzai accepted [the runoff] without knowing what the consequences and outcome would be, that bestowed legitimacy from that moment forward.” So, the U.S. government chooses to believe that legitimacy descends upon Karzai simply because he agreed to another election controlled by his operatives. Such desperate sophistry is dismaying evidence of the mentality of the Obama administration as it contemplates the military’s request for a substantial increase of U.S. forces, just eight months after the latest increase.
    Remember the reason given for that one? In March President Obama increased U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In September he said: “I did order 21,000 additional troops there to make sure that we could secure the election, because I thought that was important.” The election was indeed important.
    Last Sunday, on “This Week,” Valerie Jarrett, one of the president’s confidants, was asked whether Karzai’s demolition of the process that was supposed to legitimize him will “cast a cloud over President Karzai and make it more difficult . . . to implement [the president’s] strategy.”
    Jarrett replied: “We don’t think that it’s going to add a complication to the strategy. . . . We’re going to work with the leader of the Afghan government and hopefully that’s going to improve the state of conditions for the people in Afghanistan, and also help us as we try to bring this war to a close.”
    Hopefully? Talk about the audacity of hope. Jarrett perhaps signaled the goal that the president’s strategy, which is a work in progress, is to serve — bringing the war “to a close.” Barack Obama has no intention of being a war president.
    Already the annual cost of America’s errand in Afghanistan is larger than that country’s GDP. U.S. success depends on Afghans perceiving the central government as legitimate, which they will not do for at least five more years. Americans, led by a commander in chief whose heart is not in it, will not sustain the years of casualties and other costs necessary to create self-sufficient Afghan security forces beneath a corrupt regime.
    On July 24, 2008, in Berlin, Obama stressed the need to “defeat the Taliban.” Then, however, he spoke as a “citizen of the world,” not as president. Now he is being presidential by reconsidering some implications of the politically calculated rhetoric that helped make him president. He is rightly ignoring those who cannot distinguish thinking from dithering.
    President Woodrow Wilson, looking censoriously at some nations to America’s south, reportedly vowed, “We will teach them to elect good men.” Whatever strategy Obama adopts, its success cannot depend on America teaching Afghans to do that. If he is looking for a strategy that depends on legitimacy in Kabul, he is looking for a unicorn.”


  2. samuelburke says:

    “X Street further recognizes that the actions of various foreign national lobbies operating with relative freedom in the United States have corrupted our congress and media and have skewed our policies. X Street demands that all agents of foreign countries or representatives of foreign country interests should be registered, strictly monitored, and have their funding and disbursements made public record. There will be no exceptions to foreign lobby registration.
    X Street believes that nation building and democracy promotion by the United States have been little more than CIA covert actions by another name that have harmed America’s reputation and international standing. Neither should be a component of US foreign policy and the United States should further clearly state its intention not to interfere in the internal politics of any sovereign nation. The National Endowment for Democracy should be abolished immediately.
    X Street calls for the elimination of all foreign aid programs. Such programs bring no benefit to the United States and no benefit to the recipients who frequently rely on the aid to shore up failing economies, enabling them to defer having to initiate needed economic and political reforms. Often the aid goes directly into the pockets of corrupt officials.
    X Street recognizes that the poor reputation that the US enjoys internationally is largely deserved. It demands that Congress and the President immediately close Guantánamo Prison and any other secret or semi-secret prisons maintained by the Defense Department or CIA to hold foreign or American prisoners without the due process guaranteed by the US constitution and bill of rights. No one shall be detained by the United States in any jurisdiction without the protections afforded by the constitution.
    X Street recognizes that torture committed by any government official is, has been, and should be illegal under both international agreements and US law. Anyone who either engages or has engaged in torture or authorizes the same should be investigated by the Attorney General and Justice Department and charged with a crime. Any government official who knew that torture was taking place and did not report it should be similarly charged.
    X Street realizes that there are powerful constituencies that will resist every measure proposed above but every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It is time to return power to the American people and also time to begin disarming the United States and restoring some measure of accountability to the US political and foreign policy process. It is also time to hold the Obama Administration’s feet to the fire on the policies that it is embracing. They do not serve the national interest and differ little from those of George W. Bush.”


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Bulldoze anyone and everyone regardless of culpability just because you can”
    Oh no, not “just because you can”. With Nadine, it has more to do with their skin color and religion.


  4. Neo Controll says:

    “War is a test of will, and Obama has been broadcasting indecisiveness”
    Spoken like a true Israeli/neocon who can think of war as the only metaphor of policy. Bulldoze anyone and everyone regardless of culpability just because you can.


  5. nadiine says:

    I just hope Obama ends his Hamlet act on Afghanistan quickly. War is a test of will, and Obama has been broadcasting indecisiveness.


  6. erichwwk says:

    From M K Bhadrakumar’s latest post at
    “The Afghan crisis is most certainly prompting a shift in geopolitical templates. What if the Chinese side has its own “Obama List”? Beijing will be justified in asking: How could China possibly cooperate in the security sphere with the US and the Western alliance in Afghanistan when the West maintains a 20-year-old arms embargo on China?”


  7. erichwwk says:

    Where are we with a “bug-free” site?
    What is the algorithm for rejecting comments, especially as it pertains to hot links?
    Perhaps the top menu bar could have a tab directing the reader to comment policy?


  8. erichwwk says:

    A good beginning, but not nearly enough.
    What is the difference between overt slavery, by the use of force, and covert slavery, by control over the monetary system, paying people whatever it takes to produce identical results.
    To get a sense of whether or not the financial sector “earns” its compensation, try reconciling whatever position one takes with the graph here:
    More at the James Crotty “working paper” link.
    And at the McClatchey newspaper site here:
    I trust you are not accepting “blood money” for the trophy houses you build? 😉


  9. erichwwk says:

    A good beginning, but not nearly enough.
    We all need to share our wealth with those less fortunate, who see military enlistment as their best choice, and refuse to accept money from those who “earned” it in the military industrial complex.
    What is the point of bemoaning the corruption in our government, courts, and economy without offering some doable options for making things better?
    What is the difference between slavery by the use of force, and slavery by privileged access to money, to enable elitists to “pay” whatever it takes to produce identical results?
    I hope that those trophy housed you build are free of blood money. 😉
    Take a look at the into graph at:
    And then try the McClatchey version:
    paying attention to the data at the sidebar.


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And BTW, Ben…..
    Its pretty amazing watching you foreign policy wonks give Reid and Hoyer a free pass on their disastrous mutiny against any constructive policy movement in the ME. These two pieces of shit, (with the willing complicity of 3/4s of Congress), are spearheading the future deaths of thousands, and are completely DEMOLISHING any prospects for a two state solution. They are drenched in Muslim blood. And our media, INCLUDING the think tank bloggers, are equally as bloodstained, for failing to bring the American public up to speed with THE TRUTH.


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “How can Washington avoid merely moving from one crisis to the next and instead engage in forward looking, strategic policy-making?”
    Give Hillary Clinton her walking papers, register AIPAC as a foreign agency, and place solid conditons on the blood money we piss away to Israel.
    And fumigate Congress, it is infested with maggots and cockroaches, and they are busily consuming everything we once stood for.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *