An op-ed from the Houston Chronicle that’s been pointed out by a lot of other blogs already, but hey, one more won’t hurt:

After eight years of Bill Clinton, many military officers breathed a sigh of relief when George W. Bush was named president. I was in that plurality. At one time, I would have believed the administration’s accusations of anti-Americanism against anyone who questioned the integrity and good faith of President Bush, Vice President Cheney or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

However, while working from May 2002 through February 2003 in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Near East South Asia and Special Plans (USDP/NESA and SP) in the Pentagon, I observed the environment in which decisions about post-war Iraq were made.

Those observations changed everything.

What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of “intelligence” found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense. I can identify three prevailing themes.

Thre three themes the author goes on to identify and expand upon are:

— Functional isolation of the professional corps;
— Cross-agency cliques; and
— Groupthink.

In other words, the same factors at play in any office environment in any business in the world can also be found in the highest levels of government. Actually I’m not sure why this would come as a surprise to anyone with any familiarity with basic human nature, but somehow, it always seems to.