GIGO is a technical acronym for Garbage In Garbage Out. It's purpose is to remind computer programmers that quality software and input data are required to meaningful information to be output by a computer. Poor programming, like poor thinking, leads to mistakes. However, the result of bad input is misinformation no matter how good the programming may be. Bad information always leads to bad decisions.
This provides a new paradigm for examining the current administration. Let's suppose the thinking of the Bush administration is the computer software. This isn't a big leap since computer programs represent the "thinking" part of a computer system. Then let's consider the information the White House receives as input data. That part is easy.
Now let's supposed our program decides that it doesn't want to see particular kinds of input data. CNN reported "U.S. intelligence officials had several warnings that terrorists might attack the United States on its home soil -- even using airplanes as weapons -- well before the September 11, 2001 attacks," By now we all know the White chose to ignore warning of the 9/11 attack.
The official warning was presented to the White House 30 days before the attack but he wasn't interested. Nearly 3,000 people died because the Bush administration chose to ignore the report. Bush later denied ever receiving any warning of a possible attack. Yes United Press International reported "The document, declassified and made public under pressure from the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, is titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.' It lists a variety of intelligence reporting about the threat from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network." Condie Rice later testified that the title of the report didn't convey any danger. What do you think?
Ignoring information is bad enough to cause an information system to be considered a failure but things get worse than that at the White House. They are cherry-picking was input they wish to receive. For instance, when trying to justify their plan to invade Iraq they specifically sought information that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and a connection to al Qaida and Osama bin Laden. They refused to consider reports to the contrary. All this is revealed in the Downing Street memo. The Sunday Times reported "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Of course the Bush administration denies it. What would you expect?
And that's not all. They are cherry-picking scientific research too!
The Union of Concerned Scientists officially contends that "the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented." This violates the very integrety of research findings. Consider that the Diabetics Association recently stated that the consumption of sugar is unrelated to diabetes. Consider that the official stand of the Department of Health is the fast food and junk food do not cause obesity. These findings contradict common sense while presenting the misinformation that corporations want us to accept as truth. UCS President Kurt Gottfried said "We're not taking issue with administration policies. We're taking issue with the administration's distortion ... of the science related to some of its policies." I would hope so!
What can the average American do about this? Vote!
You can also visit the Union of Concerned Scientists web site by clicking on the title of this article.
Copyright 2005 by Mark Leon Winegar