Ten Books to Help Us Win (9): Americans Need to Be Able to Trust Their Government
Intelligence and war are the most imperfect of human endeavors.
By Henry A. Crumpton
Best Defense guest columnist
- Trust. Intelligence and war are the most imperfect of human endeavors. Witness the horrific surprise of the 9/11 attacks followed by the deeply flawed invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 and created a huge trust gap between the United States and its citizens. Examine the San Bernardino attacks, with minimal signals for intelligence professionals to see or recognize, which rattled the public’s trust in the government’s ability to protect.
Intelligence will be more necessary and more imperfect in a world of growing complexity populated with smaller but more lethal enemies exploiting asymmetric faults in power-shifting societies, as explained by Moises Naim in his brilliant The End of Power. In his insightful study of the nature of power, the author emphasizes the need to restore trust in this new environment. Our country will suffer more attacks, from intimate on-line subversion to public deaths. Leaders and citizens should not default to intrusive defense, such as more surveillance and more searches, especially those that undermine our liberties, reinforce a brittle status quo, and erode trust of citizens.
We should all promote a civil society of networked liberal institutions, mutual respect, community vigilance, vibrant resilience, dynamic adaption, and valorous common purpose to defeat ISIS and their evil kind. In all this, trust will be the most important currency. No external enemy can defeat us, but like Rome, we can bring defeat upon ourselves.
Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, who led the CIA’s Afghanistan campaign 2001-02,
retired from government service in 2007. He is the author of The Art of Intelligence.
(To be continued)
Photo credit: ANDREW BURTON/Getty Images
1Erdogan Is Failing Economics 101 431 Shares
2Putin's Endgame in Syria Has Arrived 560 Shares
4Italy Needed a Government. It Got a Circus. 356 Shares
5Trump Has No Idea How Diplomatic Deals Work 1033 Shares
6How to Steal an Election in Broad Daylight 811 Shares
8The Making of a Chechen Hitman 303 Shares
9Regime Change for Dummies 2783 Shares
10Erdogan’s Flying Carpet 361 Shares