Monday, December 04, 2006

More on the Strange Rumsfeld Memo

First, a quick word about Bolton and Rumsfeld after they leave their jobs: they're not going away. There are any number of right wing billionaires and mini-naires who will fund their speeches and any think tank jobs they can have for the asking. In Washington, it's a revolving door for everyone, but the Republicans, in particular, tend to be well cared for. Even Scooter Libby is being cared for while he fights his indictment for obstructing justice in the outing of Valerie Wilson/Plame.

Juan Cole of Informed Comment had this to say about the Rumsfeld memo:
1. Rumsfeld doesn't understand the magnitude of the crisis or the tightrope the US is walking in the Gulf. His attitude is almost lackadaisical. Doing an all right job, but it isn't working fast enough or well enough. So maybe make some changes-- apparently any old changes will do because there are infinite lives to play with and infinite monies to spend.

2. Rumsfeld spends more time plotting out how to manipulate the American public than how to win the war. Everything is about spin, about giving the image of progress even in the face of a rapid downward spiral into the abyss. ...

(snip)

It is about how we talk, how we are perceived to set goals, what is made to look like progress. It isn't actually about getting progress. The point of going minimalist is to reduce expectations among the American public. If you tell them you can only move the ball a yard, you get a lot of points for moving it two yards.

Too many people in the Bush Administration cannot make the connection between policy that guides our actions towards a goal and their own actions which in any case have too often been ad hoc reactions to the flow of events (Oops, our missile missed the target in Pakistan; oops, we just got everybody mad at us for killing women and children). Words for these guys have no other purpose in government than to manipulate people, whether it's the public, those we do business with or are allied to, or those who work for the government. And yet, they are guided by an ideology that remains poorly developed and rarely challenged.

Here's another take on the Rumsfeld memo by Bruce W. Jentleson of TPM Cafe with a brief mention of the Hadley memo:
Here’s Rumsfeld privately telling the President that we need a major change of policy at the same time he, Bush, Cheney and others were publicly calling into question not just the policy savvy but the patriotism of many who were saying essentially the same thing. “It is time for a major adjustment”, Rumsfeld writes in his memo on the day before the same congressional elections in which one Democrat after another sounding the change course theme was attacked, reviled, smeared. “An accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases” from 55 to 10-15 by April to 5 by July: sounds liked a phased withdrawal to me and a more rapid one than even the Iraq Study Group may be proposing (“modest” he says in another paragraph, without defining the term).

(snip)

And then there’s the Hadley memo which shows more concern about telling the President what he wants to hear than what he needs to hear.

These guys truly have no shame. They leave us no basis to trust either their foreign policy capacity or their belief in our own democracy let alone an Iraqi one. Bad policy is bad enough. Breach of faith is even worse.

Nobody would ever run a business the way Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have run our government. At some point, a greater number of the TV media stars and even some of the major print journalists are going to have to stop boring us with stories about process and Republican-driven memes, and recognize that our nation is in crisis and the epicenter of that crisis is the White House.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"And then there’s the Hadley memo which shows more concern about telling the President what he wants to hear than what he needs to hear."

Then again, one doesn't get to be a Bush advisor, much less remain one, by telling The Decider™ what The Decider™ doesn't want to hear.

A key question about Bush that will probably keep historians busy for decades to come is:

Which is more essential, stroking his ego to reassure him of one's unquestioning loyalty and admiration, so he feels adored and in control, or avoiding giving any hint to the public Bush might not be on top of things and decisive, so he never appears ill-prepared and weak?

9:03 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

S.W., I wish Frontline would do an entire show on the Bush Administration figures who didn't 'get it.' They could start with Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neil, and go through about fifty officals who thought it was time to tell Bush what he didn't want to hear. In some cases, Tenet for example, they told Bush what he wanted to hear ('slam dunk') and they still had to fall on their sword. The Bush presidency has been one long Nixonian Saturday Night Massacre. Unbelievable.

11:31 PM  

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