The old cliché that hindsight is 20/20, like most good clichés is because there is some truth to them. Two former White House National Security types who have moved on into the private sector, Richard A. Clarke and R P Eddy offer up the new book Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes in an apparent effort to sound the claxons of impending doom panoply of liberal thought.
It’s pretty easy to look at something in hindsight and make the circumstances or “facts” fit the storyline you are trying to sell. Clarke and Eddy set up the premise of the book by siting examples of what they believe were folks who played the proverbial canary in the coalmine; folks who tried to warn us of pending events of doom who somehow got ignored when they should not have been.
If you’re confused by the title, Greek mythology teaches us that Cassandra had the ability to predict impeding disaster but was cursed to be ignored by the Gods.
I find it more than a bit laughable that the author think that a so-called Cassandra was ignored in the case of the storm damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, as if man could have somehow prevented the damage caused by a natural disaster. But the Katrina case is a great example of how these master of foresight often get ignored because it boils down to politics. Google Ray Nagin (former New Orleans Mayor) and school buses if you need a fine example.
The authors also point to the Middle East ambassador who seemed to foretell the rise of ISIS and the so-called Arab spring, only to be ignored. You won’t need to bother with Google to remember Barack “Red Line” Obama and his utterly failed Middle East/War on Terror policy, which was more concerned with politics and campaign promises than doing what was right to prevent the “JV Team” from over running Syria and Iraq. I also find it a little difficult to take seriously a section on Arab Spring and terror that fails to even mention Benghazi.
For this go around it will be easy to understand why Cassandra will be ignored.