Friday, August 15, 2008

The bin Laden Doctrine

I just started watching Yes, Minister (Banana: It's really funny). "Open Government," the first episode, is about the co-opting of a new minister that comes in on a reformist platform.1

In one scene two permanent undersecretaries (the highest ranking civil servant) are educating one of the juniors:

PUS1: You can be open, or you can have government
Jr: But surely the citizens of a democracy have a right to know.
PUS2: No, they have a right to be ignorant. Knowledge only means complicity and guilt, ignorance has a certain dignity.


This reminded me of The bin Laden Doctrine:
p1) In wartime, the command and control of an enemy is a fair target.
p2) In a democracy, control of the government ultimately rests on the public.
c1) Therefore in wartime, the population of democracy is a fair target.

The only answer I can come up with is that the populace exercises weak control in the day-to-day functioning of the military, and only occasionally exerts real power, but this would seem to warrant attacks around election time, probably the worst time for them to happen. How shall I puzzle my way out of these dark thoughts?

1. It shows why Gov't departments should have a few ranks of political appointees loyal to the president at their top. The Goodling incident of late shows this can go too far, but one or two men thrown in a hostile department are already on the plane to Stockholm.

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