Porter Goss has this to say:
AT the Central Intelligence Agency, we are more than holding our own in the global war on terrorism, but we are at risk of losing a key battle: the battle to protect our classified information.
Judge Laurence Silberman, a chairman of President Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said he was "stunned" by the damage done to our critical intelligence assets by leaked information. The commission reported last March that in monetary terms, unauthorized disclosures have cost America hundreds of millions of dollars; in security terms, of course, the cost has been much higher. Part of the problem is that the term "whistleblower" has been misappropriated. The sharp distinction between a whistleblower and someone who breaks the law by willfully compromising classified information has been muddied.
As a member of Congress in 1998, I sponsored the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act to ensure that current or former employees could petition Congress, after raising concerns within their respective agency, consistent with the need to protect classified information.
Exercising one's rights under this act is an appropriate and responsible way to bring questionable practices to the attention of those in Congress charged with oversight of intelligence agencies. And it works. Government employees have used statutory procedures — including internal channels at their agencies — on countless occasions to correct abuses without risk of retribution and while protecting information critical to our national defense.
On the other hand, those who choose to bypass the law and go straight to the press are not noble, honorable or patriotic. Nor are they whistleblowers. Instead they are committing a criminal act that potentially places American lives at risk. It is unconscionable to compromise national security information and then seek protection as a whistleblower to forestall punishment.
Today America is confronting an enemy intent on brutal murder. Without the capacity to gain intelligence on terrorist organizations through clandestine sources and methods, we and our allies are left vulnerable to the horrors of homicidal fanaticism.
Hillary thinks such fears are being deliberately exaggerated and had some harsh words for Bush (what else is new--this is all that the Democrats are capable of doing is criticizing. Where is their plan except to oppose whatever Bush does--theirs is the "antiplan"?)
Ignoring GOP criticism that she's too angry for prime time, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton Wednesday walloped Karl Rove and President George W. Bush for "playing the fear card" on terrorism and for failing to kill "the tallest man in Afghanistan," Osama bin Laden.
In a previous post where I discussed the psychological defense mechanism of anticipation , I made the following comment about a lefty blogger whoalso claimed that Bush was using fear to manipulate the population:
Let's discuss this from a psychiatric and psychological perspective since these are the terms used in the quote above.
This blogger is essentially arguing that-- instead of using a healthy and appropriate psychological defense called anticipation against terrorism and the Islamofascists (who most certainly want to kill us and destroy our society)--we should instead switch to a psychotic one, denial; and maintain that the only thing we have to fear is...President Bush. The latter is a defense mechanism called displacement that I have already discussed in an earlier post.
In fact, there is a strong element of paranoia here too. And a noticeable touch of hysteria--though he thinks he can use it to describe normal people justifiably afraid of irrational fanatics not amenable to reason. The implication is that the only purpose such "fears" (judged "inappropriate" by Greenwald's) are being manipulated must be to "justify illegal actions."
The basic tenor of his fear is easy to deduce: while we are fighting this illusory enemy, Bushitler has been amassing power and will soon set himself up as a dictator and destroy our freedom. I will let you decide who we have to fear more--the President of the United States or the religious fanatics of Islam who want to obtain a nuclear weapon? Who do we have to fear more: those who are trying to prevent another 9/11 or those who would like nothing better than to do something even worse in our country?
Anticipation is the realistic anticipation of or planning for future discomfort. This defense mechanism includes goal-directed and even overly careful planning or worrying--depending on the situation. Anticipating realistic events such as death or illness or separation and loss; and then consciously utilizing personal insight and self awareness to mitigate the worse effects, if possible is the height of maturity and healthy psychological functioning.
I don't know about you, but I am afraid of terrorism and what the Islamic jihadists want to do to the world. In fact, I think it is extremely reasonable to be afraid. We are not dealing with people with whom you can sit down and negotiate a reasonable settlement of disagreements.
Bin Laden, Zawahiri, Zarqawi et al want to either forcibly convert us, enslave us , or kill us. They have repeated these objectives clearly many times. I happen to find none of their options particularly attractive. Nor do I find the "moderate" course in dealing with such fundamental irrationality particularly helpful as an overall strategy (although supporting moderate voices within Islam may be a useful tactic in appropriate circumstances). The moderates of the left and right mean well when they argue for moderation and tolerance; but in reality, they are enabling the first two of the Islamists' objective's as a compromise and because they do not want open conflict. Eventually, however, the moderates will have to give into the third one, too--unless they are finally willing to make a stand.
What, then, is the best way to cope with the reasonable fear that a reasonable person should be experiencing about this unreasonable brand of Islam that is sweeping the world? It doesn't take a psychiatrist note that radical Islam is pushing any moderates into impotent bystanders on the sidelines--much in the same way I imagine the rise of National Socialism in Germany did to some of the more moderate Germans in the 30's.
One thing I know. DENIAL of the threat won't work, except to give our enemies time and space to do what they are intent on doing. DISPLACEMENT won't work, except to facilitate denial and tie the hands of those who are doing their best to deal with the threat. PARANOIA (and its little brother PROJECTION) only work against those who really are out to get you. It is not a helpful survival strategy if you give into your suspicions and turn your gun on the colleague standing next to you when the raging bull is bearing down on the two of you.
The psychologically healthiest way to cope with fear is ANTICIPATION, which allows you to realistically plan for an identified danger. SUBLIMATION, which allows you to transform otherwise negative emotions into positive actions; HUMOR, which allows you to identify the danger without being overwhelmed by it; SUPPRESSION, which allows you to put aside irrelevant (yet perhaps important down the road) activities or feelings that might interfere in dealing with the immediate danger; and ALTRUISM, that allows you to provide service to others in a way that is both positive and pleasurable.
Of course, none of these defense mechanisms can be deliberately or consciously used--unless a person is open to insight, self-awareness; and is able to stand outside themselves and identify when an immature and problematic defense is being used instead of a healthier mature one. A person has got to be able to observe his or her own behavior and appreciate what drives that behavior; and hence be willing to change it if necessary.
Let me make this clear. ALL defenses --healthy or not--are involuntary and unconscious attempts to deal with dangerous , overwhelming or unbearable situations. I am not making a moral judgement about the use of denial, paranoia, projection, displacement or other psychotic or neurotic defenses to cope.
I AM MAKING A MORAL JUDGEMENT ABOUT THE DYSFUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR THAT IS A CONSEQUENCE OF THOSE PROCESSES.
The ability to control behavior is absolutely necessary to living in any kind of a civilized society. When our unconscious motivations and fears determine that behavior, we lose control over it. Only by self-reflection and developing insight into why we do the things we do, and say the things we say is it possible to make the unconscious conscious; and thus exert some control over behavior.
It is not easy to look at one's own behavior and recognize it to be dysfunctional and counterproductive--or even morally reprehensible. Yet doing so is essential to optimally cope with reality and survive (and thrive under) life's challenges.
Immature defenses primarily exist to accommodate an immature/developing neurological system (that is why children are the heaviest users of these kind of defenses); and when adults resort to them it is because such defenses might be helpful to cope over the short-term; and may provide transient relief from overwhelming, dangerous and unbearable situations. But as long-term coping strategies, they will inevitably lead to unhappiness, mental illness, and even the death of the individual who uses them regularly and consistently.
When such immature coping strategies are used by political leaders like Clinton and Rockefeller for short-term political gain, then they place the entire nation at risk.
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer gets it exactly right when he says, "God save us from the voices of reason" regarding the cartoon jihad--because they only appear reasonable:
What passes for moderation in the Islamic community -- "I share your rage but don't torch that embassy" -- is nothing of the sort. It is simply a cynical way to endorse the goals of the mob without endorsing its means. It is fraudulent because, while pretending to uphold the principle of religious sensitivity, it is interested only in this instance of religious insensitivity.
Have any of these "moderates" ever protested the grotesque caricatures of Christians and, most especially, Jews that are broadcast throughout the Middle East on a daily basis? The sermons on Palestinian TV that refer to Jews as the sons of pigs and monkeys? The Syrian prime-time TV series that shows rabbis slaughtering a gentile boy to ritually consume his blood? The 41-part (!) series on Egyptian TV based on that anti-Semitic czarist forgery (and inspiration of the Nazis), "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," showing the Jews to be engaged in a century-old conspiracy to control the world?
A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West.
And these "moderates" are aided and abetted by Western "moderates" who publish pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung and celebrate the "Piss Christ" (a crucifix sitting in a jar of urine) as art deserving public subsidy, but who are seized with a sudden religious sensitivity when the subject is Muhammad.
In this case, "moderation" is just another word for appeasement and enabling--as I said earlier in this post.