Friday, April 06, 2007

George Bush’s unfitness for office

George Bush’s unfitness for the office he holds becomes more evident with each passing day. He treats Congress under control of a political party he disagrees with the same as his administration treats Iran or Syria – he refuses to work or talk with them as if this would be an endorsement of their ideas. It is a guarantee of conflict of which the American people are victims.

Of course, conflict is of utmost importance to this administration. Rather than work with Congress for the well being of the country it is preferable to fight.

The same can be said of the conflicts in the Middle East. It is important not to listen to what this administration says but look at what it does. Listening to George Bush you would think he was interested in victory but if you look at what the U.S. military is directed to do, it is not to win but fight indefinitely. The fight in Afghanistan was abandoned before it was completed leaving the Taliban and al Qada to regroup for another fight and our NATO allies beginning to question their commitment to that war. In Iraq, the failure to put adequate troops on the ground at the beginning, the failure to provide security after the collapse of the regime, the incompetence of the occupation under Paul Bremer, the corruption of the reconstruction efforts, and the failure to do the needed political work in and around Iraq have all guaranteed the destruction of the Iraqi state and the inevitable civil war. And to top all this off, there are veiled threats of a third conflict with Iran.

The purpose of these conflicts is not to win – because that would end them. The purpose is to keep the conflicts churning because that justifies power. However, not only is this is not what this nation elected a president to do but there is a price to pay. The national security of this country has suffered and the United States is no longer a nation others around the world look to for leadership.

Joe Klein has these thoughts in Time magazine about the arrogance, incompetence, cynicism of George Bush:
The three big Bush stories of 2007--the decision to "surge" in Iraq, the scandalous treatment of wounded veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys for tawdry political reasons--precisely illuminate the three qualities that make this Administration one of the worst in American history: arrogance (the surge), incompetence (Walter Reed) and cynicism (the U.S. Attorneys).

Iraq comes first, as always. … never was Bush's adolescent petulance more obvious than in his decision to ignore the Baker-Hamilton report and move in the exact opposite direction: adding troops and employing counterinsurgency tactics inappropriate to the situation on the ground. "There was no way he was going to accept [its findings] once the press began to portray the report as Daddy's friends coming to the rescue," a member of the Baker-Hamilton commission told me. As with Bush's invasion of Iraq, the decision to surge was made unilaterally, without adequate respect for history or military doctrine. Iraq was invaded with insufficient troops and planning; the surge was attempted with too few troops (especially non-Kurdish, Arabic-speaking Iraqis), a purposely misleading time line ("progress" by September) and, most important, the absence of a reliable Iraqi government.

General David Petraeus has repeatedly said, "A military solution to Iraq is not possible." Translation: This thing fails unless there is a political deal among the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds. There is no such deal on the horizon, largely because of the President's aversion to talking to people he doesn't like. And while some Baghdad neighborhoods may be more peaceful--temporarily--as a result of the increased U.S. military presence, the story two years from now is likely to resemble the recent headlines from Tall 'Afar: dueling Sunni and Shi'ite massacres have destroyed order in a city famously pacified by counterinsurgency tactics in 2005. Bush's indifference to reality in Iraq is not an isolated case. It is the modus operandi of his Administration. The indifference of his Environmental Protection Agency to the dangers of carbon dioxide emissions was rejected by the Supreme Court on April 2.

On April 3, the President again accused Democrats of being "more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than providing our troops what they need." Such demagoguery is particularly outrageous given the Administration's inability to provide our troops "what they need" at the nation's premier hospital for veterans. The mold and decrepitude at Walter Reed are likely to be only the beginning of the tragedy, the latest example of incompetence in this Administration. "This is yet another aspect of war planning that wasn't done properly," says Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "The entire VA hospital system is unprepared for the casualties of Iraq, especially the psychiatric casualties. A lot of vets are saying, 'This is our Katrina moment.' And they're right: this Administration governs badly because it doesn't care very much about governing."

Compared with Iraq and Walter Reed, the firing of the U.S. Attorneys is a relatively minor matter. It is true that U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President, but they are political appointees of a special sort. They are partisans, obviously, but must appear to be above politics--not working to influence elections, for example--if public faith in the impartiality of the justice system is to be maintained. Once again Karl Rove's operation has corrupted a policy area--like national security--that should be off-limits to political operators.

When Bush came to office--installed by the Supreme Court after receiving fewer votes than Al Gore--I speculated that the new President would have to govern in a bipartisan manner to be successful. He chose the opposite path, and his hyper-partisanship has proved to be a travesty of governance and a comprehensive failure. I've tried to be respectful of the man and the office, but the three defining sins of the Bush Administration--arrogance, incompetence, cynicism--are congenital: they're part of his personality. They're not likely to change. And it is increasingly difficult to imagine yet another two years of slow bleed with a leader so clearly unfit to lead.
You can read his entire article here.


James Young said...

Sycophancy for the far Left precisely illuminate the three qualities that make Joel Klein one of the worst reporters in America: arrogance (presuming to understand thw world with utterly no knowledge or experience), incompetence (idolatry for a candidate, rather than fair and balanced coverage) and cynicism (blame America first).

Bill Garnett said...

While basically in agreement with both you and Joe Klein, I find that continued preaching to the choir in this echo chamber of blogs, while perhaps some sort of reparative therapy, does little to move any us towards a better future.

Some might suggest that blogging would open up a whole new avenue for constructive conversation, adding a new and immediate network to bind us as a people. Instead it seems to coalesce into the polarity of two camps – likes cats hissing at each other.

The world outside, however, keeps going on, while we are hurling epithets across the divide, unable to find common ground, and distracted from looming crises that will impact all regardless of their position on the political spectrum.

The current mess is not so much the doing of one man, George Bush, as ineffective, inarticulate, and incurious as he is – it is the fault of “we the people”. We elected him – twice. Our democracy is an experiment in governing where the power to govern was assumed by the electorate. It is we who have failed America – by not taking on the mantle of that responsibility. By not participating, by not being informed, by not accepting this stewardship responsibility. And into that vacuum have eagerly stepped both incompetent career politicians and greedy interest groups.

In a way blogs are a new opportunity for the individual voice and the individual common sense to again percolate back up to our governance. But until we can begin to communicate across this red/blue divide with reasoned respectful dialog rather than by emotional rants, the opportunity will be lost.