Saturday, September 30


Bobo finally puts himself into the narrative, revealing that the Bush administration is a farce worthy of a SNL skit.

In Bob Woodward’s highly anticipated new book, “State of Denial,” President Bush emerges as a passive, impatient, sophomoric and intellectually incurious leader, presiding over a grossly dysfunctional war cabinet and given to an almost religious certainty that makes him disinclined to rethink or re-evaluate decisions he has made about the war.
As depicted by Mr. Woodward, this is an administration in which virtually no one will speak truth to power, an administration in which the traditional policy-making process involving methodical analysis and debate is routinely subverted. He notes that experts — who recommended higher troop levels in Iraq, warned about the consequences of disbanding the Iraqi Army or worried about the lack of postwar planning— were continually ignored by the White House and Pentagon leadership, or themselves failed, out of cowardice or blind loyalty, to press insistently their case for an altered course in the war.
Were the war in Iraq not a real war that has resulted in more than 2,700 American military casualties and more than 56,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, the picture of the Bush administration that emerges from this book might resemble a farce. It’s like something out of “The Daily Show” or a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, with Freudian Bush family dramas and high-school-like rivalries between cabinet members who refuse to look at one another at meetings being played out on the world stage.

There’s the president, who once said, “I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy,” deciding that he’s going to remake the Middle East and alter the course of American foreign policy. There’s his father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush (who went to war against the same country a decade ago), worrying about the wisdom of another war but reluctant to offer his opinions to his son because he believes in the principle of “let him be himself.” There’s the president’s national security adviser whining to him that the defense secretary won’t return her phone calls. And there’s the president and Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, trading fart jokes.
And he quotes Mr. Armitage as telling former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that he’s baffled by President Bush’s reluctance to make adjustments in his conduct of the war.

“Has he thought this through?” Mr. Armitage asks. “What the president says in effect is, We’ve got to press on in honor of the memory of those who have fallen. Another way to say that is we’ve got to have more men fall to honor the memories of those who have already fallen.”

Duh. We've had enough insider accounts now to know that BushCo has failed to think ANYTHING through. That's too comprehensive, challenging and "nuanced" for these shoot-from-the-hip cowboys.

I'm not eager to read the book. It's discouraging, even disgusting, to hear that responsible parties in the administration talked among themselves about their doubts and frustrations with their top leaders but forbore to speak the truth to either those same top leaders or the American people. Their silence indicts them -- they, too, share responsibility for the cavalier actions and policies of this administration. And that includes the deaths of more than 3,000 military troops and U.S. contractors, from 50,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians, the bankrupting of the American treasury, and the destruction of U.S. influence and prestige internationally.

What shook Woodward loose from his pro-administration stance I don't know -- perhaps he had a Walter Cronkite moment. It's possible that he just couldn't lie to himself any more.

UPDATE: More revelations about the inept Bush administration in this excerpt from the new book on Colin Powell.

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