by Milo Clark
(Swans - February 12, 2007) Harvard Business School is famous for its case method of teaching. Given reality-based data and context, aspirants apply reasonable and rational analyses to develop action recommendations.
Many classes open when the instructor calls on a student to present the case assigned. The student will then lay out the data, discuss the relevance of the context, and make recommendations appropriate to the situation. The rest of the period will revolve around critique of that presentation.
George W. Bush, I am embarrassed to say, is class of 1975 at Harvard Business School.
Harvard Business School uses a pass/no pass grading system. The top grade is high pass and the lowest is an unsatisfactory. From a reasonable/rational perspective, the Iraq quagmire and now escalation in Iraq gets an unsat, no pass.
George W. Bush is also in thrall to the neoconservatives and describes himself as a born-again Christian with direct channels to his God.
Leo Strauss is often described as the guru of the neocons (see my Swans commentary from 2004). In Straussian logic, to survive, democracies must be willing to use force against evil as defined by Strauss or a Straussian leader, aka The Decider.
Strauss had no tolerance for the great masses so easily seduced by other demagogues, advertisers, and spin doctors. In Platonic terms, a philosopher-king is better. The p-k is assumed by Strauss to be a benign autocrat with Machiavellian tendencies, lying and conniving, devious and cunning, all for the greater good of society, civilization, democracy.
Tiring of Trotsky and various Internationals, Irving Kristol and, later his son, William (Bill), spun 180 degrees and took up the Straussian cudgels in the 1960s. Irving's first publishing effort was The Public Interest begun in 1965, which has now morphed into The Weekly Standard under Bill. A major milestone was takeover of the once respectable American Enterprise Institute.
A full coterie of neocons came bundled with Ronald Reagan in 1980. Iran-Contra emerged as a classic neocon operation. Finance war against Nicaragua by selling arms to the abominable Khomeni's Iran, perfect by Straussian logics. Reagan's blank memory under testimony is very Straussian.
The list of neocons from Reagan's days now arrayed around George W. Bush includes, but is not limited to: Dick Cheney (now vice president), Donald Rumsfeld (formerly secretary of defense), Paul Wolfowitz (now president of the World Bank), Douglas Feith (formerly undersecretary of defense, who orchestrated the Iraq obfuscations), John Bolton (formerly ambassador to the UN), Zalmay Khalilzad (formerly ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and member of the National Security Council now nominated to succeed Bolton at the UN), Elliot Abrams (formerly undersecretary of state, who was pardoned by G. H. W. Bush for perjury in his Iran-Contra testimony), Richard Perle (who has held many top jobs over the years), and others too numerous to catalog.
The core neocon agenda can be boiled down to two points: secure oil and protect Israel.
To secure oil and to protect Israel, George W. Bush risks Armageddon, tempts apocalypse, and courts rapture. Perfect neocon/born-again reasoning.
George W. Bush in his NeoCon/Born Again mode is above and beyond criticism. See why I am embarrassed by his HBS degree?
I am curious to note that the punditry and talking heads seem to have missed this point.
If you find our work valuable, please considerfinancially.