I just read this rather disturbing special report summarising the findings of the British Butler report and the report of the Senate committee on the secret services blunders in the current edition of The Economist. It is not necessary to go into the details - they are sufficiently well known and widely discussed.
Why do I post this, then - especially since I don't hide the fact that I have been and still am supporting the removal by force of the former Iraqi regime? I do it because to me, what is most disturbing and disappointing in both reports' results is the apparent lack of professionalism, a.k.a. dilettantism in the preparation of the operation and its aftermath. And it is a nice fit with yesterday's post in which I posted the link to a German interview with German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk who puts this so much better than I could. Hence, for the benefit of the English speaking community, I'll just translate the most important passages dealing with the subject matter of this post.
"Dilettantism is probably the worst thing that you can say about politicians like Donald Rumsfeld subscribing to the views of Realpolitik.
The term Realpolitik has been introduced in the late 19th century to tie professionalism with political craftsmanship ...
... you are alluding to Bismarck ...
... who had his advisers prepare about twelve different alternatives for him in every critical situation. After detailed studies, he then chose the most appropriate among them. Realpolitik along Bismarck's lines means that for reasons immanent to the subject matter of politics, politicians need to emancipate themselves from the imperatives of conventional moral common sense. Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and their neo-conservative think tanks however managed to make professionalism entirely subservient to dilettantism. They pulled all the strings in military technology, media manipulation, administration and justice to make their dilettantish position appear professional.
But where does this fundamental dilettantism come from? Those people are not dumb in the conventional meaning of the word. Not even George W. Bush can be as dumb as he is often portraied.
The foundation of dilettantism is grounded in the idea of being the Chosen one. You are not on stage because of your capabilities, but rather because you believe to have a vision which legitimates your every action. Vision in a manner of speaking is the working hypothesis of the Chosen. In the case of the USA, this appears so much more absurd because the Bush administration has not come to power thanks to its visions, but rather thanks to a more or less obvious, hence dilettantish electoral fraud."
Mind you, Sloterdijk's political standpoint is a long way from mine, but the nice thing in differentiated argumentation is that you can sometimes agree with your political opponent and yet arrive at different conclusions, most likely based on different values.