Thursday, April 13, 2006

 

Washington Party Games

Sidney Blumenthal opines in Salon that Bush is completely caught up in his own lies and deceit:

Bush is entangled in his own past. His explanations compound his troubles and point to the original falsehoods. Through his first term, Bush was able to escape by blaming the Democrats, casting aspersions on the motives of his critics and changing the subject. But his methods have become self-defeating. When he utters the word "truth" now most of the public is mistrustful. His accumulated history overshadows what he might say.

The collapse of trust was cemented into his presidency from the start. A compulsion for secrecy undergirds the Bush White House. Power, as Bush and Cheney see it, thrives by excluding diverse points of view. Bush's presidency operates on the notion that the fewer the questions, the better the decision. The State Department has been treated like a foreign country; the closest associates of the elder President Bush, Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, have been excluded; the career professional staff have been bullied and quashed; the Republican-dominated Congress has abdicated oversight; and influential elements of the press have been complicit.

Inside the administration, the breakdown of the national security process has produced a vacuum filled by dogmatic fixations that become more rigid as reality increasingly fails to cooperate. But the conceit that executive fiat can substitute for fact has not sustained the illusion of omnipotence.

The precipitating event of the investigation of the Bush White House -- Wilson's disclosure about his Niger mission -- was an effort by a lifelong Foreign Service officer to set the record straight and force a debate on the reasons for going to war. Wilson stood for the public discussion that had been suppressed. The Bush White House's "concerted action" against him therefore involved an attempt to poison the wellsprings of democracy.

Aside from the usual suspects, I seriously doubt anyone takes talk of ethics from a Clinton insider, confident, and operative as particularly compelling. (I am disappointed in reacquainting myself with my erstwhile debating partner Liberal Avenger. I had hoped that his long silence was based on a change in interests. I suspect it is because he lost any ability to talk civilly with an avowed supporter of the evil Bush Administration.

Anyone but a rapid Partisan knows Sidney Blumenthal for who he is, and however else he may be characterized, he has no shame or remorse about elevating partisan gain over public trust, integrity, honesty, or any recognizable code of ethics. He’s a Democrat, first and foremost!

Only a hack like Blumenthal could so baldly characterize the Washington party game of Policy Warfare as such High Drama. To Blumenthal, if we can believe him, the highly public but anonymous turf wars that pit the Pentagon against the State Department and the CIA against, well, everybody else, are the stuff of free and informed debate. Only an insider Player of Blumenthal’s gall could suggest that efforts to tame errant Departments and Rogue Bureaucracies represent stifling of debate, and thus “thrives by excluding diverse points of view.” Blumenthal knows the script from which he waxes so melodramatic: that of the Stupid Boy King who the King’s Regent Must Keep in Ignorance, lest a little knowledge become a dangerous thing:

Bush's presidency operates on the notion that the fewer the questions, the better the decision.

This from the enabler of a constantly dissembling and prevaricating Bill Clinton?

But alas, the evil is so much more: “career professional staff have been bullied and quashed” over at Foggy Bottom. Ah yes, these career Diplomats and analysts who value talk talk talk so highly over war war war. We have seen the many warm embraces between the former Madame Secretary and her North Korean admirers.

But even that’s not all. Blumenthal warms to his topic in highlighting what he sees as the real source of all the many hysterical press reports in the Plame Flame Game:

The precipitating event of the investigation of the Bush White House -- Wilson's disclosure about his Niger mission -- was an effort by a lifelong Foreign Service officer to set the record straight and force a debate on the reasons for going to war. Wilson stood for the public discussion that had been suppressed.

Only, as has been well demonstrated, Joe Wilson was the liar. No evidence has been presented that refutes the long established fact that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. No matter how often Democrats and their media friends continue to misrepresent or distort (okay, lie) about what actually was said, both by the Preesident and by Joe Wilson, the facts remain, however overlooked.

Apparently, Saddam did not succeed in Niger, specifically, nor, apparently, elsewhere. But it is substantiated by many documents seized in the fall of Saddam’s government, and agreed by all knowledgeable experts, that Saddam sought a capability and the means to restart a nuclear program, banking on the ultimate success of his Russian and French friends in lifting the sanctions, that prevented him for trading for components more easily. Everyone who really remembers the politics of sanctions, and No Fly, and the constant problem and threat posed by Saddam throughout the 90’s and into 2000, 2001, 2002, knows how grave a threat he was perceived to be. Even Democrats.

And yet, and yet. The President is beleaguered and his popularity and approval ratings plummet. His enemies and political opponents smell blood, and see advantage and opportunity. Gone are the constraints that, until now, how held back their wrath. Now, it seems they can attack and score and pay little or no price politically.

They still have no plan, save to Really Real SecurityTM. But they sure know who and what the enemy is, and they aren’t wearing turbans in Tehran.



Links: Linked at Mudville Gazette's Open Post, Blue Star Chronicles



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