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Groupthink Unchained

By       Message Doug Rogers     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 12/4/08

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"One of the dangers in the White House, based on my reading of history, is that you get wrapped up in groupthink and everybody agrees with everything and there's no discussion and there are no dissenting views.  So I'm going to be welcoming a vigorous debate inside the White House."-Barack Obama, December 1st, 2008  


             (Some time in 2009)


BARACK OBAMA:  Well, it's clear we're being tested by those dark forces out there who would seek to harm us.


JOE BIDEN:  I said we would be.

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BO:  Yes, Joe.  Thank you for preparing the American people on that.  Who would have thought that such a cowardly attack, the total cyber annihilation of the facebook webpage, would come from the displaced tribes of Diego Garcia?


HILLARY CLINTON:  Displaced is clearly the wrong word.  I prefer to call that sort of thing a perpetual cruise.


BO:  Ladies and gentlemen, I'm expecting a vigorous, spirited debate on this.  I'd like to hear from each of you on how you think we should proceed.  Bob.

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ROBERT GATES:  Well Mr. President, I think it's worth pointing out that Diego Garcia is a very, very small country.


HC:  Well that settles it.  We'll take 'em out!


JB:  You don't want to appear weak Mr. President.  That's going to be the number one concern of the American people- whether or not you appear weak.


JANET NAPOLITANO:   They'll call you "appeaser-in-chief"-.


BO:  Ouch!


ERIC HOLDER:  And it's never too soon to start thinking about the next election. 

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JB:  That's right!  I mean you don't want to come right out and say it of course...


HC:  Oh no.


JB:  But let's be honest.  That's what those bastards in the Republican Party are thinking about right now.  Sorry Bob, no offense.


RG:  None taken.


JAMES JONES:  I take none either.


JB:  Oh.  Right.


BO:  So is this the consensus then?  A strong show of military force to demonstrate that no aggression against the United States will go unpunished?


ALL:  Absolutely!  No choice.  Our credibility is at stake.


JJ:  There's just one problem that I can see.


BO:  What's that?


JJ:  We already own Diego Garcia.


JB:  I didn't know that.


JJ:  Yes we lease it from the Brits.  We have several major naval and air force bases there.


HC:  Did I land there under fire once?


BO:  Then how do we go after these bloodthirsty Diego Garcians?


SUSAN RICE:  Actually the Diego Garcians were forcibly removed...


HC:  Can we stop using that term?


SR:  ...from the island in 1971.  They now live mostly on the islands of Mauritius, but could conceivably be anywhere in the world.


BO:  That's going to make it tricky then.  How do we know where to hit and how do we justify it?


SR:  Justification is easy.  Clearly the fate of the Diego Garcians is a humanitarian crisis.  What happened to them was cruel and completely unjustified. Therefore the use of force on whichever country we decide to bomb can be considered humanitarian intervention.


HC:  I say we take out Mauritius then.


JB:  I'm good with that.


JN:  As long as I don't have refugees to worry about.


EH:  It seems like a no-brainer to me Mr. President.


BO:  Good.  Bob, can you prepare a plan of attack for us?


RG:  Your wish is my command sahib.  I think the Nebraska National Guard is free this weekend.


BO:  Are we all in agreement then?


ALL:  Definitely!  Without reservation.  The only legitimate course.


JJ:  If I could just expand our scope a little bit, sir.


BO:  Ah, now here's the kind of incisive layered thinking that I was expecting when I assembled this team.


JJ:  As you know I did a little work for the Chamber of Commerce.


JN:  A great organization.


JJ:  I worked in their Institute for 21st Century Energy.  And it just seems to me that we ought to be looking at the bigger picture.


BO:  Yes?


JJ:  Well, the island of Mauritius doesn't really have any energy reserves.


BO:  I see what you're saying.


JJ:  And if the Diego Garcian threat is really global then wouldn't it be in our best interests to at least consider our 21st Century energy needs?


BO:  Meaning?


JJ:  Well, Azerbaijan has lots of energy resources.  If we're going to take up the banner of the war on terrorism it might as well lead us to where it will do us the most good.


BO:  But isn't that the Russians' turf?


JB:  Exactly!  You want people saying you're afraid of the Russians?


HC:  It seems like we might be able to tie it in with the whole Georgian thing.


EH:  It's a pretty tidy narrative.  This could see us right through to 2012.


JN:  They won't be calling you a socialist after this.


BO:  Okay.  That's all good.  Is it doable?


RG:  Sure.  Anything's doable.  You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.


HC:  Consult with the allies.  Let's not make the same mistake as you-know-who.  This time we'll soft soap the Europeans but good.  You've got tons of capital with them.


BO:  Alright then.  Do we all feel confident with this course of action?


ALL:  Yes!  This time for sure.  A stroke of genius.


JJ:  Rest assured Mr. President.  The best minds and most experienced leaders are with you on this.


BO:  Very good then.  Let's start drawing up the orders.  You know, I just had one thought though... Ow!!


                        (He clutches his chest in pain.)


JN:  Mr. President, are you alright?


BO:  No, I'm fine.  But it suddenly occurred to me, what might all of those voters who were expecting things to be different in my administration think of this policy?   Aieeh!!


                        (He doubles over)


EH:  What is it, Mr. President?


BO:  No, it's nothing.  It's just my scar.


JB:  Your scar?!


JJ:  You mean... the conscience removal operation didn't work?


RG:  I've never heard of there being a problem with any other president.


HC:  I know with Bill it was no worse than having a hang-nail removed.


JJ:  Yet there is a slight chance of error in the procedure.


BO:  No, I'm sure I'm still capable of continuing the meeting.


RG:  I seriously doubt that.  Call Walter Reade.  Joe.  You might have to be ready to step in.


JB:  Really?


BO:  No wait.  I want everyone to sit down for a minute.  Let's just go over this situation one more time.  Isn't it quite likely that a military response to this attack will destabilize the region and lead to the loss of thousands of innocent lives?


                        (They all grimace and look at their shoes.)


ALL:  Well... theoretically... if you wanted to look at a worst case scenario...


BO:  And wouldn't it make sense to consider removing our bases from Diego Garcia?  Give it back to its native inhabitants?  Let it become the beautiful island paradise that it once was?


                        (They stare blankly at him, dumbfounded.)


JJ:  Mr. President, do you realize that our bases on Diego Garcia are vital to all of our interests in that part of the world?  That our bombing campaigns in the first Persian Gulf War were launched from Diego Garcia?


RG:  Hell we wouldn't have been able to conquer Afghanistan without those bases.  We wouldn't be able to maintain the occupation in Iraq without them.  Or have a quick strike anti-terrorism task force in the region.


EH:  Let's not forget intelligence.  Those bases have played an incredibly vital role in intelligence gathering and in... all those activities that we have chosen not to prosecute anyone for.


HC:  Call the medical team.  I think it's safe to declare him incapacitated. 


JB:  That means I'm the acting president?


HC:  Just for a couple of hours Joe.  Don't wet yourself. 


BO:  Alright.  I'll go and get this taken care of.  That's why I chose you as my team.  I knew I could count on you.  But I want to get back to work as soon as possible.  I'm expecting a wild back and forth with my economics team at three.


                        (They lead him out of the room.)


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Doug Rogers is a composer and playwright and for many years designed ladies' sweaters. He is now a student again at Empire State College in Buffalo NY.

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