Tuesday, January 24


Tom Oliphant was on Don Imus this morning talking about a book he is writing. He said his publisher, St. Martin's, suggested the topic: conservative incompetence. Tom talked about how effective the Republican Party has been during the most recent generation at winning elections, but then, he said, the trouble starts the day after. They're incompetent at governance. Take, for example, the administration's disastrous performance after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and since, he said.

Then there's the Medicare drug benefit fiasco, a deficit-exploding budget, and an economy characterized by stagnant or declining real wages.

And, as an afterthought, that little wasteful, wasting disease called the Iraq war.

The NY Times gets its hand on a preliminary report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

The first official history of the $25 billion American reconstruction effort in Iraq depicts a program hobbled from the outset by gross understaffing, a lack of technical expertise, bureaucratic infighting, secrecy and constantly increasing security costs, according to a preliminary draft.

The document, which begins with the secret prewar planning for reconstruction and touches on nearly every phase of the program through 2005, was assembled by the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and debated last month in a closed forum by roughly two dozen experts from outside the office.

A person at the forum provided a copy of the document, dated December 2005, to The New York Times.

It ain't pretty.

Bob Geiger has his own list of Bush/Republican blunders that he thinks should form a framework for a national security debate during the 2006 elections:

1. Our nation was attacked by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda on September 11. Osama bin Laden is still free and al Qaeda is still out there and gaining strength.
2. In Bush’s own words “We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11 attacks.” And yet Bush attacked Iraq for no reason, costing the lives of over 2,200 of our finest in the military and costing our country hundreds of billions in cash that could have gone to fight al Qaeda (see above).
3. The president’s right-hand man (Rove) is known to have divulged the identity of a covert CIA agent who was working in the Agency’s program designed to find… Weapons of Mass Destruction. The vice president’s chief of staff has resigned after being indicted in connection with this crime.
4. The Republicans in Congress have used their majority-party power to shoot down every attempt by Democrats to strengthen security at home.
5. FEMA has been reduced to a shell of what it was during the Clinton administration and is not remotely capable of protecting Americans at home from a natural disaster, much less a major terror strike.

Works for me.

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