The absence of accountability

Andrew Sullivan asked the other day, “Now that DADT is over, can the hysterics who warned it would destroy the military concede they were wrong?”

Thomas Ricks noted a major on active duty who raised the same point.

At what point in time should journalists, bloggers, etc … hold those who made wildly inaccurate predications on the lifting of the ban accountable? All the retired generals and officers (LTG Mixon, Merrill A. McPeak and Col. Dave Bedey for example) who predicted that soldiers would leave the military by the thousands, or John McCain and other politicians describing how it would affect us as a fighting force?

At some point I feel that the public should be reminded of their predictions so the next time they make predictions that are way off the mark, fewer people will give them credence.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Granted, the official end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” only happened last month, and I suppose it’s still possible that God will punish the United States for this transgression with a series of meteors, but it’s not too soon to say the right’s anti-gay critics, led in large part by John McCain, had no idea what they were talking about. The dire predictions that said thousands of active-duty soldiers would quit the armed forces and recruiting would become nearly impossible were, we now know, entirely wrong.

But the notion that there might be some accountability for this is, alas, fanciful. The political world just doesn’t seem to operate this way. McCain will continue to enjoy his standing as a leading voice on military affairs because the establishment says so.

If ridiculous predictions had any bearing on credibility, conservative Republicans would never be able to utter a word about economic policy in public again without being laughed at. We’re talking about a group of folks who said Reagan’s tax increases would be a disaster, Clinton’s agenda would cause an economic collapse, Bush’s policies would work wonders, and Obama’s agenda would make the 2008 crash even worse.

“At some point I feel that the public should be reminded of their predictions so the next time they make predictions that are way off the mark, fewer people will give them credence.” We should be so lucky.