Saturday, June 28, 2008

Change to Hope For

One of last year's posts came up yesterday in someone's Google search. Reading it again I was reminded of how much I want to see the Bush presidency finally come to an end. The story of what one writer called "America's Mesopotamian Misadventure" is a litany of too-little, too-late.

This is not old-fashioned Elmer Gantry-type hypocrisy. That kind of hormone driven corruption is endemic to the population, reaching across the whole political spectrum. Clinton and Kennedy immediately come to mind.The mistress angle may have triggered his undoing, but this is not the same. What we are witnessing is a control-seeking, take-no-prisoners management style that derives from an autocratic, even dictatorial approach to wielding power. Persuasion is not part of the formula. It's all about the power.

It's the difference between seduction and rape. Talk-show hosts may be guilty of seduction, but the gang for whom they are cheerleaders sometimes employ rapists. Entertainers depend upon ratings in the same way that politicians depend on votes. But political appointees don't depend on anyone other than a hanful of well-placed bosses.

The following is from a Google cache. The salient links are no longer active, but the description of a Pax Americana is there. This appeared at the beginning of the Bush Administration. The reader can do a search for "Wolfowitz Pax Americana" and harvest a wealth of interesting links.

"Rebuilding America's Defenses," a 2000 report by the Project for the New American Century, listed 27 people as having attended meetings or contributed papers in preparation of the report. Among them are six who have since assumed key defense and foreign policy positions in the Bush administration. And the report seems to have become a blueprint for Bush's foreign and defense policy.

Paul Wolfowitz
Political science doctorate from University of Chicago and dean of the international relations program at Johns Hopkins University during the 1990s. Served in the Reagan State Department, moved to the Pentagon during the first Bush administration as undersecretary of defense for policy. Sworn in as deputy defense secretary in March 2001.

John Bolton
Yale Law grad who worked in the Reagan administration as an assistant attorney general. Switched to the State Department in the first Bush administration as assistant secretary for international organization affairs. Sworn in as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, May 2001.

Eliot Cohen
Harvard doctorate in government who taught at Harvard and at the Naval War College. Now directs strategic studies at Johns Hopkins and is the author of several books on military strategy. Was on the Defense Department's policy planning staff in the first Bush administration and is now on Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board.

I. Lewis Libby
Law degree from Columbia (Yale undergrad). Held advisory positions in the Reagan State Department. Was a partner in a Washington law firm in the late '80s before becoming deputy undersecretary of defense for policy in the first Bush administration (under Dick Cheney). Now is the vice president's chief of staff.

Dov Zakheim
Doctorate in economics and politics from Oxford University. Worked on policy issues in the Reagan Defense Department and went into private defense consulting during the 1990s. Was foreign policy adviser to the 2000 Bush campaign. Sworn in as undersecretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Pentagon, May 2001.

Stephen Cambone
Political science doctorate from Claremont Graduate School. Was in charge of strategic defense policy at the Defense Department in the first Bush administration. Now heads the Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation at the Defense Department.

By Jay Bookman, 29 September 2002.

Not directly related but very much a consequence of official policies outlined above are the tragedies of Alyssa Peterson and Col. Ted S. Westhusing. These two names have been in the news and their stories, though not secret, carry enough opaque suggestions that, as in the case of Steven Vincent, they don't make for blockbuster journalism. Too much trampling of evidence at the crime scenes.

This morning's post is just a way of refreshing my memory. In weak moments I often allow an impulse toward forgiveness, driven by Christian charity, to forget the truly terrible decisions made by President Bush early on. I like to think that in retrospect he may eventually experience a McNamara moment, but that does not happen often in politics, either here or abroad. More likely he will echo Nixon's attempts to wash the stains off his sad record, even going so far as comparing himself to Lincoln, suggesting that "If the president does it, then it's not illegal." As I said above, it's all about power. Persuasion is not important to the formula.


D. Dutta-Roy said...

Nice article. Global conflicts are truly driving up the world's oil prices....which politician u think can handle this issue best ?

Hoots said...

Thanks for stopping by. In answer to your question, a quick glance at my blog will tell you I am an Obama fan. He may not have all the answers, but his approach to problem solving strikes me as less volatile than the alternative. (Mostly I like his backers better than McCain's.)

You have a basket full of blogs, by the way, with content all over the place. Impressive, but why no blogrolls?