Groupthink: George W. Bush and Central Intelligence Agency

Topics: Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency Pages: 3 (884 words) Published: December 16, 2009
Writing Assignment #1
Groupthink is described as a mode of thinking in which group member’s premature striving for agreement somehow overrides their ability to realistically appraise alternative courses of action. After having watched “Bush’s War” I feel groupthink did in part play a significant role in the decision making process leading up to the war on Iraq. Members of cohesive, like-minded groups that share and cling to the same assumptions and beliefs while disregarding opinions and information to the contrary are more susceptible to groupthink. This kind of group cohesiveness was apparent within the Bush Administration where several key members steadfastly held onto the same assumption and course of action without logically considering different alternatives. The eight symptoms or antecedents of groupthink are: illusion of invulnerability, inherent morality of the group, rationalization, stereotypes of outsiders, self censorship, direct pressure, mind guards and an illusion of unanimity. Given the group dynamic within the Bush Administration I will illustrate how the symptoms of an illusion of invulnerability, self censorship and direct pressure manifested in the decision making process. An illusion of invulnerability occurs when a group feels or begins to feel it is immune from error. Basically the group feels it is invincible and can do no wrong which often leads to excessive optimism and the taking of severe risks. There was evidence of this when the Bush Administration did not weigh out the factors of a postwar Iraq nor draw up any kind of feasible policy in accordance to likely emergence of an insurgency. They believed once the war was over it would just be a matter of a quick hand-off. General Shinseki, the former Army Chief of Staff, had proposed several hundred thousand soldiers. His view was that a significant ground force presence would be required to counter ethnic tensions of postwar Iraq. The expert opinion of General Shinseki was...
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