Friday, February 24, 2006

Governance By The Faithless

President Bush has faced a difficult task; namely, by trying to govern when you don't believe in government. As Erick Mink of Knight Ridder news service points out:

...but the main mission of Bush and Cheney was to leave Washington less than they found it.

And they wasted no time getting down to it, most triumphantly with their massive tax cuts of 2001. The cuts would leave less revenue to pay for federal programs, saddle future presidents with crippling deficits and debt-interest payments, make the middle class pay more and lighten the load on the rich.

Bush/Cheney also packed federal departments -- EPA, Justice, State, FEMA, Defense and others -- with multiple layers of true-believing appointees. Their job was to freeze out career public servants and radically shift their institutions from active mode to passive to somnolent in such areas as environmental protection, voting/civil rights and social services.


Suddenly, Bush and his fellow would-be pillagers had to figure out how to marshal the manifold resources of government -- including those experienced, dedicated public servants previously regarded as quaint anachronisms -- to actually accomplish things.

In his article he describes Paul R. Pillar, who retired last year after 28 years with the CIA, the last six of them as the senior analyst responsible for coordinating information and data on the Middle East from America's 15 different intelligence agencies, assessment of Bush "fixing the intelligence" around the pre-emptive strike doctrine for Iraq.

Pillar readily acknowledges some incorrect assessments about Iraq by the intelligence community, but he says that those mistakes were mostly irrelevant because Bush didn't base his decision to invade Iraq on intelligence anyway.

Of course not. He had the neocon playbook that called for the removal of Saddam. And he was going through it step by step. Bush doesn't just sort of aim him.

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