Most of our elected leaders in Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike, are good, decent people. Yet too many of them today have made a practice of shunning truth and the high level of openness and forthrightness required to discover it. Most of it is not willful or conscious. Rather, it is part of the modern Washington game that has become the accepted norm.
You were the Chief Poobah of Washington Bullshit, asshole. You have no moral standing - NONE - to criticize.
Oh, and a good portion of our elected leaders in Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike,
Ironically, much of Bush's campaign rhetoric (in 1999-2000) had been aimed at distancing himself from the excesses of Clinton's permanent campaign style of governing. The implicit meaning of Bush's words was that he would bring an end to the perpetual politicking and deep partisan divisions it created. Although Washington could not get enough of the permanent campaign, voters were seemingly eager to move beyond it.
Bush wasn't "elected" so "voters" weren't buying his crap. The way he took office, as the recent HBO film "Recount" reminds us, shows he didn't give a rat's ass about getting beyond "partisan divisions." The man lived for them.
Bush did not emulate Clinton on the policy front. Just the opposite – the mantra of the new administration was "anything but Clinton" when it came to policies. The Bush administration prided itself in focusing on big ideas, not playing small ball with worthy but essentially trivial policy ideas for a White House, like introducing school uniforms or going after deadbeat dads.
Pure, unadulterated crap Mr. McCellan. "Anything but Clinton" wasn't just a formulation against focusing the power of the federal government on trivial issues. It was a formulation against EVERYTHING the Clinton administration did, regardless of merit.
This meant a foreign policy that focused on bluster instead of diplomacy. An environmental policy that assumed science was partisan. A domestic policy that believed the rich were the ones that actually drive the economy and a security policy that believed the chief international threat to the United States wasn't loose pockets of islamic radicals but instead nation-states. A belief that led directly to the attacks on 9/11 I might add.
And it wasn't just Clinton administration policies that got the heave-ho. Treaties that had been negotiated by Republican and Democratic administrations alike were tossed out. Comity and decorum in the senate under control of both parties were thrown on the trash heap. The federal government became the plaything of people who were so full of hubris they believed they and they alone understood how the world worked.
"Anything but Clinton" was really "anything but reason." That's their fucking legacy, asshole.
When Bush was making up his mind to pursue regime change in Iraq, it is clear that his national security team did little to slow him down, to help him fully understand the tinderbox he was opening and the potential risks in doing so. I know the president pretty well. I believe that, if he had been given a crystal ball in which he could have foreseen the costs of war – more than 4,000 American troops killed, 30,000 injured, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens dead – he would have never made the decision to invade, despite what he might say or feel he has to say publicly.
Really? Because I don't think he cares. He's done nothing since then to correct his mistake. In fact he's compounded it with the surge and other efforts to make our presence there permanent.
But the point is HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. He's the President of the United States not the garbage man who missed your can. It's his job to know. If he didn't then he simply isn't qualified to be the president.
Which is what most of us have known for years.
Secretary of State Colin Powell was apparently the only adviser who even tried to raise doubts about the wisdom of war. The rest of the foreign policy team seemed to be preoccupied with regime change or, in the case of Condi Rice, seemingly more interested in accommodating the president's instincts and ideas than in questioning them or educating him.
This assumes Rice, Cheney, etc. were smart enought to know better or cared. I'm not willing to extend the President's advisors slack in either case. Or the president for that matter. And Powell can go jump of a bridge. He should've resigned the moment it was clear to him they were going to war. The man has no honor. None.
Most objective observers today would say that in 2003 there was no urgent need to address the threat posed by Saddam with a large-scale invasion, and therefore the war was not necessary. But this is a question President Bush seems not to want to grapple with.
Of course not because at it's core it's a moral question and he's a sociopath.
But as history moves to render its judgment in the coming years and decades, we can't gloss over the hard truths this book has sought to address and the lessons we can learn from understanding them better. Allowing the permanent campaign culture to remain in control may not take us into another unnecessary war, but it will continue to limit the opportunity for careful deliberation, bipartisan compromise, and meaningful solutions to the major problems all Americans want to see solved.
Bite me, Scott. You need to be dragged off to the Hague and tried for war crimes along with the rest of this administration. I'm sure your entire book is full of this self-serving tripe. YOU are just as responsible as Bush and the rest of his administration for the idiotic war in Iraq. YOU have blood on your hands.
I look forward to Baghdad Bob's book. I'm sure it will be just as factual.