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Deborah Ancona

Deborah Ancona

Deborah Ancona is the Seley Distinguished Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Faculty Director of the MIT Leadership Center.

A Cancer that Can't Be Ignored

President Obama has a lot on his plate by any standard: the economy, health care, energy, and two major wars, not to mention the monumental task of rebuilding the image of the U.S. around the world. Clearly he does not need any more distractions. Simply keeping up with changing developments and understanding the complex problems that he faces is more than a full-time job.

And like any new leader, he needs to set his agenda, create a vision for the future, and figure out how to coalesce a very broad coalition into moving with him. That coalition includes Democrats, Republicans, and members of the military and intelligence communities. The last thing he wants to do is to alienate these communities just when he needs their support to do nothing less than reshape the world.

But just because the initial biopsy did not look so bad does not mean that a cancer isn't developing, and cancer cannot be ignored or put on the back burner. More and more information is coming out that suggests basic ethical and possible legal violations occurred during the Bush administration--perhaps even under Cheney's direction. There are issues of brutal interrogations, domestic eavesdropping, a classified counter-terrorism program that Congress was not told about, and mass killings in Afghanistan.

Much as Obama might want to focus on the future and not the past--might not want the media spotlight and his administration's energy put on these issues--he has run as an ethical leader with a message of accountability and responsibility. If this cancer grows, if the mounting evidence proves wrongdoing, he may need to deal with it now or risk having the malignancy spread. He may simply have no choice. Perhaps he can tie together lessons from the past and new directions for the future. Or perhaps, the world will continue its preoccupation with Michael Jackson and no one will notice.

By Deborah Ancona

 |  July 13, 2009; 3:59 PM ET
Category:  Ethics Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The writer claims that her messiah "has run as an ethical leader with a message of accountability and responsibility."

Ha ha ha ha. The slimeball's from CHICAGO, for crying out loud!

Anyway, nothing would be more entertaining that watching Oboobma cave in to his core base of frothing moonbats because he has nobody else left. Let the metrosexual messiah go mano a mano with VP Cheney. We'd love to see it! Cheney will have his lunch.

Posted by: zjr78xva | July 15, 2009 12:47 AM
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Heheh, yeah, better stop the Bush Administration before it makes more government policy decisions you don't like. Oh wait, the "cancer" can't spread - George Bush is retired and he's drinking iced tea on his front porch in Texas.

I wonder how a "professor at MIT" missed that little detail. Earth to Deborah - GEORGE BUSH IS RETIRED - THE "CANCER" CANNOT SPREAD.

Jeepers, there's a fool born every minute.

Posted by: ZZim | July 14, 2009 1:32 PM
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Absolutely correct. And if Obama doesn't do anything about it, it doesn't matter even if he is successful in cleaning up the messes left for him by Bush Cheney, his failure to do anything and let criminals get away with it will forever tarnish whatever accomplishments he may have had.

Posted by: Patriot3 | July 14, 2009 11:35 AM
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Yes, an investigation of possible abuse by the bush/cheney administration is imperative.
The apparent abuse by the former vp must be investigated.torture,cronyism and contracts,secret energy meeting abuse,refusal to abide by checks and balances.
bush/cheney greatest power-least accountable.

Posted by: jama452 | July 14, 2009 11:20 AM
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