You may have read in today's New York Times (or via Atrios) that people who are paid out of your tax dollars to keep you safe from harm are listening to presentations made by certifiable loons -- and claim to have no idea beforehand what those loons are going to say:
Two weeks ago, a group of senior intelligence officials in the Defense Department sat for an hour listening to a briefing by a writer who claims — I am not making this up — that messages encoded in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament provide clues to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. One of the officials told me that they had agreed to meet the writer, Michael Drosnin, author of a Nostradamus-style best seller, without understanding that he was promoting Biblical prophecy. Still, rather than shoo him away, they listened politely as he consumed several man-hours of valuable intelligence-crunching time.
This is strikingly similar to what we heard last year when the ex-Larouchenik Laurent Murawiec made that scarily imperialistic presentation to the Defense Policy Board, the one that said, "Iraq is the tactical pivot / Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot / Egypt the prize." According to Slate's second article on the Murawiec presentation,
[Richard] Perle, who had invited Murawiec to speak to the Defense Policy Board, told Time magazine he didn't know what Murawiec was going to say before the talk.
So which is it? Is the Bush defense establishment deliberately turning to nutjobs for enlightenment? Or is it running foreign policy, in part, by conducting a series of open-mike nights?