Monday, March 27, 2006

A Couple of Things

From the Boston Globe (by James Carroll) comes some insight on the caliber of great minds who hold the reins of power:

The disaster in Iraq both recapitulates American mistakes of the past and worsens them immeasurably.

Let's begin with Rumsfeld himself. In 1975, he was Gerald Ford's secretary of defense when the USS Mayaguez was seized off Cambodia by the newly empowered Khmer Rouge, whose ascendance followed the destabilizing US ''incursion." The American crew of 38 was captured.

Rumsfeld shaped the response -- which was to ignore diplomacy, begin bombing a Cambodian port city, and dispatch a large force of Marines to rescue the crew. Bad moves based on bad intelligence. While untold Cambodian civilians were bombed, 40 American rescuers were killed in an attack on an island where the crew was thought to be held. In fact, the American sailors had already been released unharmed and set adrift on a Thai fishing vessel. The Mayaguez affair was a dress rehearsal for Rumsfeld's war in Iraq.

How did this man ever get the job of Secretary of War anyway? (Yes, I know it's Secretary of Defense, but it doesn't apply in this administration, with its focus on "pre-emptive" strikes against "enemies" that are made of straw, but bleed like you and me.)

And from the NYT comes this unsurprising news:

During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, [Bush] made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.

"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin."

And this guy still says indignantly that naturally war was the last thing he wanted.

I don't believe him. And I don't see how anyone could at this juncture. As much as I'd like to at least accept the validity of the opinions of the right-wing in this country, what I've found in the last three to four years as things spiral ever more out of control and democracy itself as its meant to be has been abolished in the USA, I find I cannot even begin to understand how anyone can defend the positions of the people who currently hold office (my contempt for elected officials extends to a good many Democrats too, fwiw).

How did we ever get this far out of control?