Of leaders who don’t take responsibility

March 2, 2007

There is a story in this mon’s GQ about the abduction and transportation of terror suspect Osama Nasr from the streets of Italy to Egypt. It is a thoroughly extraordinary spy story in which the CIA bungles what ought to be a pretty basic operation, although one of great questionable legality. In success or in failure, they would have raised the ire of the Italian government and their major mistake was in carrying out the operation in such an elementary manner that not the only the organization but the very operatives who carried it out were all readily identifiable by the Italians. Invisible these guys are not.

The story is important in its own right but what particularly got to me was the conclusion. Bob Lady, one of the CIA’s chosen fall guys for this mission talks about a time when ascending leaders would protect their employees as a way of securing their loyalty not only to the leaders themselves but to the organizations they work for. I can only think through the prism of the news that we read daily and the kinds of leaders portrayed in the popular media how in the America of today, such a thing seems to have become taboo. Corporations screw their employees without remorse, no one takes responsibility for anything they don’t have too, when blame is to be apportioned, the most convenient victim is led to the slaughter that everyone else might continue to live fat and pursue their own fucked up goals. You can see this from the way the Bush administration behaves (see the firing of effective workers who apparently weren’t subservient enough) to the endless corporate layoffs by CEO’s taking home paychecks that would cover payroll for several departments and if you’re like me, you can see it even in employers close to you on an every day basis.

I’m not a really big heal the world type person but I think one of the small things that would be really worthy for me or anyone is to correct these things when they fall in their hands. I expect to be a leader some day and many people I know will probably also be in those positions and a simple respect for your followers/staff/employees/whatever is something I’d really like to see return to management booths. Trusting people to take responsibility for their work and fuck ups, taking responsibility for yours, protecting your people when they are threatened for something they did while in your employ; all of these things seem really elementary to me and I don’t understand how it is so many people and organizations have come to abandon these things.

P.S.

I hope the facts are tight and the journalism is sound on this story. The sequence of events is pretty thoroughly laid out and I know there has been a lot more of this story in other news channels but this is the first comprehensive story I’ve read on it.

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