Not enough people read this last summer ... here's another chance -- it's important

From the Journal of the Middle East Policy Council, Volume XI, Summer 2004, Number 2

Drinking the Kool-Aid

W. Patrick Lang

Throughout my long service life in the Department of Defense, first as an army officer and then as a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, there was a phrase in common usage: "I will fall on my sword over that." It meant that the speaker had reached a point of internal commitment with regard to something that his superiors wanted him to do and that he intended to refuse even though this would be career suicide. The speaker preferred career death to the loss of personal honor.

This phrase is no longer widely in use. What has taken its place is far more sinister in its meaning and implications. "I drank the Kool-Aid" is what is now said. Those old enough to remember the Jonestown tragedy know this phrase all too well. Jim Jones ... built a village (in Guyana), isolated from the world ... controlled all news, regulated all discourse and expression of opinion, and shaped behavior to his taste. After a time, his paranoia grew unmanageable ...

He called together his followers in the town square ... then invited all present to drink from vats of Kool-Aid* containing lethal doses of poison. Nearly all did so, without physical coercion. Parents gave their children the poison and then drank it themselves. Finally Jones drank. Many hundreds died with him.

What does drinking the Kool-Aid mean today? It signifies that the person in question has given up personal integrity and has succumbed to the prevailing group-think that typifies policymaking today. This person has become "part of the problem, not part of the solution."

You need to read the rest of this article here.

(My thanks to Blondesense for directing us to this article and informing us that The author, W. Patrick Lang, was on the panel this week at the hearing regarding Public Disclosure of Covert Agents. If you don't know their blog, check it out.)

*OK -- it was Flav-r-Ade, not Kool-Aid (sic), but hey, even marketing people deserve a break from time to time. And it was most likely Jones was a CIA asset. And to be fair, the story went, when they did the autopsy, his brain was almost gone, some kind of black fungal mold having eaten a great deal of it. But none of that invalidates this article.


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