Monday, July 16, 2007

President Bush: The Blamer-in-Chief

There are exceptions, but one of the classic marks of a right-wing conservative is their tendency to blame everyone but themselves. Since the members of the Bush Administration keep trying to wear his mantle, it's worth noting that one of those exceptions was Winston Churchill who, though not quick to blame himself, still managed to accept responsibility for some of his blunders. Actually people with a record of successful decisions and actions can afford to accept responsibility and that may speak volumes about today's Republican Party: they have a well-financed and well-oiled noise machine but their record of accomplishments is not good. And none have accomplished so little as our president.

Dan Froomkin of White House Watch notes Bush's latest attempt to blame someone else for his particular fiasco in Iraq:
President Bush says that he should be trusted on military issues because he listens to his commanders. But he has a tendency to celebrate his generals when they're providing him political cover -- then stick a knife in their backs when they're no longer of any use to him.

Last week, Bush rejected any blame for the chaos that ensued in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. So whose fault was it? Bush pointed the finger at Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief at the time. "My primary question to General Franks was, do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein? And his answer was, yes," Bush said.

As we know, Bush does not listen. It is amazing how many untruths Bush can squeeze into his statements. So far, Bush has blamed any number of people for his fiasco in Iraq. He has blamed the Iraqis themselves, the Iranians, the Syrians, al Qaida and any number of others, including his fellow Americans. It's curious to note that President Bush has not blamed his partner in war, Dick Cheney. The vice president is, in some ways, more responsible for the fiasco than the president, but he gets a free pass from Bush. Others have noted Bush's reluctance to hold his vice president accountable, presumably, as the all too biting humor goes, because Cheney knows where all the bodies are buried.

We know the president is incompetent. We know he adheres to an ideology that blinds him to advice from experts who know what they're talking about. We know Bush cannot blame the generals for his fiasco in Katrina. We know Bush cannot blame the generals for the lack of an energy policy or the high gasoline prices. We know Bush cannot blame the generals for the reams of right-wing nonsense coming out of the various departments of the government as the president ignores science, the law and history. We know Bush cannot blame the generals for the outing of a CIA operative. The list of blunders and nonsense for which the president is responsible is long. Even in Iraq, Bush seems to have a conveniently compartmentalized memory of events. The generals did not insist on no-bid contracts. The generals did not send twenty-year-olds to set up stock markets. The generals didn't waste time on lucrative privatization schemes for Bush cronies. The generals did not come up with the preemptive strike princile. And it was not the generals who set up Paul Bremer as a viceroy. Blunder after blunder can be traced directly to decisions made by the Bush inner circle and there were no generals in that inner circle.

In my opinion, Bush is an authoritarian corporatist. He believes that business knows best—and deserves the most (certainly far more than was prevalent from the 1930s to the 1990s)—and I suspect he and his closest associates believe stockholders, business ethics and democracy are 'quaint.' But even Bush's business friends, cronies, campaign contributors and associates must all be astonished at just how grossly imcompetent the president has proven to be. It's a shame that Bush's real supporters, the same business class, fail to realize how much they themselves have lost their way and how much of Bush's failures stem from their own flawed ideological view of the world. I have no problem with competent people earning more than the rest of us but today's business world needs to explain how mediocrities like Bush keep acquiring so much wealth, power and authority to do the harm they do to our country.

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Chris Matthews mentioned on "Hardball" today how David Brooks came away from a sit-down with Bush a couple weeks ago, saying Bush is convinced he's God's chosen agent and in pursuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is doing God's will.

If that is true, and Bush didn't just say it for effect, maybe in a bid to rally his religious-right base, we're dealing with an extremely dangerous form of psychopathology, given how much power Bush has at his disposal. It's so dangerous because it's automatically and autonomously self-justifying and self-propelling. Facts and logic can be rejected at will.

Regarding Gen. Franks, Bush comes off as the ingrate in chief. I recall so well how in 2004, especially at the GOP convention, Franks praised Bush to the skies.

Regarding Bush's repeated insistence that he listens to his generals, so what? He's just engaging in disingenuous subterfuge.

After creating an atmosphere of intimidation, his generals knew what was OK to say and what wasn't. They also knew what could happen to someone who gave the wrong answer or opinion.

I don't give Franks credit for having sense enough to come in out of the rain. I don't think he earned those stars with military prowess.

To begin with, sealing the borders after an invasion is one of the most time-honored and basic things to do, there is no excuse for his failure to attempt anything like it. Then there was all that bypassing of weapons and ammo stores, followed by a failure even after looting, violence and chaos broke out to make a serious effort to secure them.

There is absolutely no excuse for either of these gaffes.

Franks was — and is — Bush-grade incompetent, and should have faced charges for gross negligence that soon enough cost a bunch of coalition troops their lives.

9:25 PM  

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