Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mr. Dilbert goes to Washington
Gene Lyons
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So now they tell us. With the Bush administration spiraling into
political free fall, conservative elder statesmen have suddenly begun
speaking publicly about the regime’s manifest failures. Meanwhile,
aides whisper to reporters that the president’s losing it, pitching temper
tantrums, lashing out at junior staffers and blaming everybody in the
White House for his problems except himself. “This is not some manager
at Mc-Donald’s chewing out the help,” a source close to George W. Bush
told the New York Daily News. “This is the president of the United
States, and it’s not a pleasant sight.” No, I don’t reckon it is.
Naturally, Bush, like Richard Nixon before him, also gives the press a
“big share “ of the blame. Backstairs gossip aside, however, the most
powerful indictment of the administration’s malign incompetence is
coming from former insiders. Col. Larry Wilkerson was Secretary of
State Colin Powell’s chief of staff throughout Bush’s first term. A career
soldier, he’s also served as director of the U. S. Marine Corps War
College. In short, he’s anything but a fuzzyminded pacifist.

Last week, Wilkerson gave a speech at the New American Foundation in
Washington blaming a secretive “ cabal between the vice president of
the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald
Rumsfeld,” for seizing power from an ignorant, intellectually lazy
president. They were aided, he said, by “an extremely weak national
security adviser” (Condoleezza Rice ), who told Bush whatever he wanted
to hear “to build her intimacy with the president.”

It sounds like a comic strip : President Dilbert.

Except it ain’t funny. To Wilkerson, the results have been
catastrophic, dragging the U. S. into an ill-conceived war in Iraq,
and making policy in so secretive and slapdash a manner that those
charged with executing it had no clear idea what they were supposed
to do, much less how. In a Los Angeles Times commentary this week,
Wilkerson called it the kind of “decision-making one would associate
more with a dictatorship than a democracy,” hence a military and
political failure.

In his speech last week, Wilkerson stressed that his former boss,
Powell, evidently clinging to the shards of his own reputation,
disagreed with his going public.

“If something comes along that is truly serious... like a nuclear
weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a
major pandemic,” Wilkerson warned, “you are going to see the
ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to
the Declaration of Independence.... Read in there what
[the founders ] say about the necessity of the people to throw off
tyranny or to throw off ineptitude....”

Less stark but even more telling were the words of Gen. Brent
Scowcroft, the first President Bush’s national security adviser.
In an extended interview recently with the New Yorker, Scowcroft
basically described George W. Bush’s foreign policy as a bellicose,
bloody failure. As one of former President George H. W. Bush’s
closest personal friends and long-time political allies, Scowcroft
finds himself completely on the outs with the son’s administration.

Apparently because of a strongly worded Wall Street Journal column
Scowcroft wrote back in August 2002 warning that “an attack on Iraq at
this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global
counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken,” long-term friends
Rumsfeld and Cheney literally quit talking to him. His one-time
personal protégé, Condi Rice, also stopped seeking his counsel.

Scowcroft sees in Iraq the realization of his worst fears. Now as then,
he’s assumed to be speaking with the elder Bush’s tacit consent. He
reiterated to The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg why they decided not to
invade Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War. Goldberg wrote : “It would have
been easy to reach Baghdad, Scowcroft said, but what then? At the
minimum, we’d be an occupier in a hostile land. Our forces would be
sniped at by guerrillas, and once we were there, how would we get out?
What would be the rationale for leaving? I don’t like the term ‘exit
strategy’ —but what do you do with Iraq once you own it?... This is
exactly where we are now. We own it. And we can’t let go. We’re getting
sniped at. Now, will we win? I think there’s a fair chance we’ll win.
But look at the cost. ’” Above all, Scowcroft emphasized, the current
administration’s policies are anything but “conservative,” in the
classical sense of the term. Instead, White House neo-cons are devotees
of a particularly heedless brand of radical utopianism. “This was said
to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism,” he said. So
now what? In part because both men, like many genuine conservatives,
chose not to speak plainly in October 2004 when it might have made a
difference, we’re stuck with these foolhardy incompetents for the
foreseeable future. Except that, as Wilkerson implies, functioning
democracies usually find ways to change policies and rid themselves of
politicians they no longer trust.

•–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and
recipient of the National Magazine Award.

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