This first appeared in The Havok Journal on April 1, 2015. This issue of accountability remains current.
“Czarism” is slowly taking over America. A few months back we had an Ebola Czar position crafted out of the whole cloth in order to prepare the American effort for controlling the spread of Ebola. It was a deadly disease so they appointed a lawyer. And he did such a wonderful job.
American bureaucracy is something to behold and bemoan. In the security panic and paranoia of the post 9/11 months a new department of government was created, The Department of Homeland Security, because the separate arms of government could not or would not talk to each other.
22 federal agencies were moved under one umbrella of control and have become a bloated nightmare. They still fight the same bureaucratic fights today that they did before but now they are in the house.
When the Ebola scare occurred, why not pick someone from the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) Countermeasures Program that was already? Immigration, Health Affairs, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, TSA, Customs, and FEMA were all under the control of the Department of Homeland Security and yet an outside “Czar” was appointed. The only thing DHS did not control was the Center for Disease Control. Speaking of the CDC, why weren’t THEY in charge of fighting the disease of Ebola?
The government does dumb things on occasion but as seriously cash strapped as we have become in the budget battles, why outsource when someone inside should have already had the ball and been running with it?
Now the brand new Secretary of Defense is supporting the idea of creating a Czar for Hostage Rescue from places around the world where our citizens run afoul of terror organizations. I guess having a number of our citizens get their heads sawn off in Syria has finally managed to gain some attention in Washington.
But once again, why go outside the Department of Defense or the State Department? Military force or use of special operations might require some involvement at Congressional levels but that is true of the State Department, which has clandestine shooters of its own. Or the CIA could be using personnel for wet work. At any rate, there are already organizations out there that do hostage rescue. Why can’t one of THEM be in charge?
We are once again giving the appearance of action while simultaneously accomplishing nothing. Ebola was not defeated by a czar. It was defeated by simple precautions and the fact that diseases labeled lethal in the third world are not much more than the flu here. The Ebola Czar did not have anything to do with it.
Secretary Carter says “You’re right, we do need a choreographer when that time comes to bring all those pieces together,” which makes me wonder how much of a grasp he has on his job if he is looking outside it. Rep Hunter of California wants a “buck-stops-here person” and I don’t blame him, I want one too and the last time we had one was the same guy who coined the phrase, President Harry Truman.
They go on to mention that a reason for this is the disjointed effort to release PFC Bergdahl (his last official rank was PFC and the justification for those promotions he received while a POW is starting to look pretty damn thin). The interesting part is I thought the government deliberately handled the situation because of the new phrase they use in Washington, “plausible deniability.”
No one in political office wants to be held accountable anymore. They are not there to behave responsibly; they are there for perks and power. Appointing random czars allows them to evade responsibility.
Why do we need a Czar when we have people who are in the positions that are currently responsible now? All it takes is the President to point and say, “take the lead,” and then we have instant agreement and cooperation, right? Oops, I might have just undermined my own argument.
Seriously, if you cannot handle the job, get out of the way. The problem is that they want a mouthpiece who will talk to the press, attend pointless meetings, and give the President someone to blame. We all know that the President takes very little responsibility as it is. Name the scandal and Mr. O puts on the bus driver hat so he can run over one or more members of his staff.
Naming someone outside the channels to be the overseer sounds great but it won’t work. For one thing, how do you oversee that which you don’t have the expertise to understand? I could be assigned to proofread documents in Mandarin. I cannot read Mandarin, but you could pay me to proof your documents.
Who would they pick? You can bet on maybe a veterinarian, ophthalmologist, maybe even a geologist or weatherman but the smart money is on another lawyer. After all, if you put the right person for the job, they might show off and actually accomplish something for which they would get the credit.
There is a real issue. Getting separate military forces to cooperate on even the most basic tasks was daunting. We actually had to give verbal and written orders to get the Marines to co-operate with the plan. The Navy, we did not have to write it down but they sure took a lot of notes for a simple task.
The Air Force always wanted a video conference because they dreaded leaving their air-conditioning, but the bottom line, cooperation was so hard to achieve that we spent at least ten minutes on it. After that it worked out great because we assigned someone to be in charge and get all the blame.
The point is that someone already has authority or responsibility in this area and they should be held accountable to someone. There are interagency squabbles and hidden agendas but the real problem is that no one wants to take the blame for failure. The government has created a scapegoat culture and no one, I mean no one, wants to be the goat.
Why do we need a Czar? Are political commissars next?
Leonard O. Benton is retired from active duty military service with 24 years and two combat deployments to Iraq. He left the Regular Army after 10 years and became a National Guard Recruiter for his first tour in the AGR program followed by over 10 years in Operations as Force Protection, CBRN, and three years as C-IED. He has an Associates degree and is currently working on his Bachelor’s. He is an amateur metal smith and when he is not working or writing he can often be found in his shop pounding away in the attempt to transform a lump of metal into an icon of beauty or function.
His years of operational planning, threat analysis, and a deeply cynical view of our imperfect world leads him to focus on world events and cultural beliefs that tend to cause the most friction and chaos in the world around us. He is a libertarian and he believes in personal freedoms and accountability. The Havok Journal gave him an outlet to express the things he sees wrong in the world and the opportunity to once again provide advice on how to fix it. Leonard can be contacted a firstname.lastname@example.org.