Sunday, October 08, 2006

State of Denial Vs. Learning from Mistakes

Just one more comment about today's politics. One of the greatest accomplishments in Presidential history was the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which President John F. Kennedy was able to keep the military brass at bay to prevent a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. This achievement owes to Kennedy's amazing ability to learn from past mistakes, namely, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, as chronicled in Richard Reeves's President Kennedy: Profile of Power--and I'm sure other places as well. The root of learning from one's mistakes is admitting when one was wrong. Kennedy had it, George W. Bush apparently does not. From what I am reading about Bob Woodward's new book State of Denial, and from what I have seen over the years, Bush wants to feel like he's right even if he is not. This seems to explain why there are so many problems with how the war in Iraq was executed and how it has been managed. If a President is unwilling to admit there are problems with his strategy--and this is inevitable--how can he do his job well?

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