Groupthink and 9/11
Group decision making can be very helpful in getting different thoughts and opinions out of discussion, but also can be dangerous because of groupthink. Groupthink occurs when people avoid individually testing, analyzing, and evaluating facts in order to avoid upsetting the consensus of a group. In effect a conflict occurs whereby some topics are okay to discuss while others are closed often without the group being consciously aware of it. Those who violate the unspoken rules often find themselves being ostracized, alienated and ultimately expelled from the group. 9/11 is a good example of groupthink.
Rejection of expert opinion is a classic symptom of groupthink. About a week before Bush’s inauguration, then chief intelligence expert, George Tenet, told Bush, Cheney and Rice claimed that bin Laden was one of the three top threats facing the U.S. Shortly after the inauguration, Richard Clarke, al-Qaeda expert, briefed Rice on the urgent need to act against al-Qaeda, and requested an early meeting with the National Security Council to review the threat. He wrote “Either al-Qaeda is a threat worth acting against or it is not. CIA leadership has to decide which it is and cease these bipolar mood swings.” His “destroy al-Qaeda” plan was ready for action. Unfortunately, Rice downgraded Clarke’s position and the NSC meeting was delayed. CIA informed that Laden is interested in using commercial pilots as terrorists. Federal aviation administration issued a bulletin to airlines warning of possible hijacking plot by Islamic terrorists. There was threaten to all the government agencies warning “High probability of imminent spectacular terrorist attack by al-Qaeda”. Major warning was directly given to the president with the headline “Bin Laden determined to strike in US.” But no action was taken Richard Clarke asked to get reassigned and Bush finally approved Clarke’s nine-month-old plan on Oct. 25, too late to avert 9/11. Only 10...
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