From the disinformation that led to the American invasion of Iraq to the intelligence revelations of Edward Snowden, what once might have been trust in a U.S. agency tasked with gathering and interpreting intelligence information has weakened and frayed until now assertions that might once have been credited now compels the question, "Who will verify that this information is not just another self-serving bit of disinformation?"Osama bin Laden was fixated on attacking U.S. targets and pressured al Qaeda groups to heal local rivalries and focus on that cause, according to documents the United States says were seized in his hideout in Pakistan and released on Wednesday.The documents published by U.S. intelligence also contained details of purported negotiations between al Qaeda, its allies in the Pakistani Taliban and representatives of Pakistani intelligence, and what seemed to be an al Qaeda job application.
Losing trust is a pricey business, not least because of the body bags returned to the United States. Integrity is as hard to quantify as it is to win, and yet I sometimes marvel at the willingness to go on crediting and trusting what has proved so fragile and dubious in the past.
Doubting your policy makers is not a nice feeling. It's sort of sour and furry like a tongue after the previous night's carousing. The mediocrity swells like some oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oh well, Lincoln wasn't wrong: "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."