I was raised in a very small town in Indiana Covington, situated near the Illinois border and with a population of around 2400 people. My entire county held less than eighteen thousand people. Indiana is an interesting state it has a few large population centers (Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Gary, and Evansville) and then some larger towns (Bloomington, Terre Haute, Lafayette, and others). It other words, its a fairly small state, and it acts like one.
The Indiana Legislature still meets part time they have a simple criminal code and I enjoyed the simplicity of life there. I prefer where I live today, mind you, but I enjoyed living in Indiana as well it was a great place to grow up and I learned much while living there.
One of the principles that I learned from Indiana as well as my parents was accountability. One should be held responsible for their actions.
This was played out in my home in the same way that it is in millions of homes around the world when I did something that I should not have done, I was punished. I learned quite quickly that for all actions there were consequences.
I saw this close-up and personal in dealing with my fathers family with the exception of my father and I believe one of his half-brothers his entire family was in and out of the criminal justice system for much of their lives. I saw what happened when one went astray.
Indeed, small town justice was played out as well in the local courts. Being my county was so small, we had one judge, who was highly respected around town. He gave one many chances, but was unafraid to drop the hammer on someone when needed and those stories reverberated around the county rapidly.
It wasnt just in the criminal justice system though that things were played out. For all that people talk about the directness of folks who live in the Northeast you havent seen direct until youve been on the receiving end of feedback from someone from the midwest who realizes that some things just need to be said.
My employer as well encourages an environment of accountability were held strictly accountable for our results, leadership, and behaviors, and I would have it no other way. It encourages an environment of meritocracy of directness and of performance and I love them for it.
Which brings me to my point.
Ive long been a supporter of President Bush. I did not vote for him in the 2000 elections havent supported the Libertarian Candidate Harry Browne. But 9/11 changed all of that and I saw a strong leader emerge and he did exactly what I would hope I would have the courage to do in his shoes.
I was a supporter as well of our efforts in Iraq. I fully buy into the theories advanced by Victor Davis Hanson and others that we must confront evil wherever it may be and Iraq was certainly evil no need to repeat those crimes here.
And I believed that they had or were working on the capabilities to have Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
And then we found that they did not or at least that seems to be the conventional wisdom in the world right now.
I still believe we did the right thing but theres a huge piece to this that troubles me.
Someone fucked up.
If the President acted in good faith and received bad intelligence then theres a serious problem with the intelligence community or staffers that sexed up the intelligence but clearly theres someone or many people at fault.
I can understand this. I often make to make decisions based upon a few seconds of information from someone in the thick of a crisis and I have to trust them explicitly and the decisions that I make based on what they tell me could cost me my job. If I can trust someone, they cant be on my team just for this reason.
So I ask wheres the accountability.
If the President acted in good faith and the intelligence was wrong then George Tenet needs to be fired.
Not asked to resign fired.
If someone else was at fault or many people then they need to be fired too.
This is truly the highest stakes poker game in the world theres no room to hang a curveball but thats exactly what has happened here. And there has to be accountability.
In my world, when a leader fails to hold their team accountable when they need to do so, then the leader becomes the performance problem. This situation is no different.
Without accountability, I will not vote for George Bush in 2004. I wont vote for John Kerry either, mind you, but Im not going to support the President.
Hold someone accountable or be held accountable.