The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Their Master's Voice

Their Master's Voice
The New York Times

Saturday 19 May 2007

In March 2004, the acting attorney general distrusted Alberto Gonzales so much that he wouldn't meet with him at the White House without a witness. Eight months later, President Bush promoted Mr. Gonzales from White House counsel to attorney general, the top law enforcement job in the land. The president is still standing by his man, ignoring Mr. Gonzales's efforts to mislead Congress, his disregard for the Constitution and his gross neglect of even basic bureaucratic duties.

It's a familiar pattern: Mr. Bush sticks by his most trusted aides no matter how evident it is - even to the Republican Congressional chorus - that they are guilty of incompetence, bad judgment, malfeasance or all three. (George Tenet, the director of central intelligence; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; and the Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers spring to mind.)

Each time, we're told Mr. Bush repays loyalty with loyalty. We're told it's a sign of character.

We don't buy the explanation. The more persuasive answer is that Mr. Bush protects his embattled advisers because they are doing precisely what he told them to do.

Mr. Tenet was not off freelancing on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He delivered what the White House wanted: claims that sounded dire enough to herd Americans into war. (His recent self-serving insistence that he admires the president but was shocked at the lack of thought and planning behind the war comes too late.) Mr. Tenet put the party line and his own career above the good of the country, and for that, he was rewarded with a Medal of Freedom.

Mr. Rumsfeld wasn't conducting a rogue operation when he planned the war in Iraq. He gave the president his victory on the cheap, which could be presented to Americans as sacrifice-free. When the plan literally exploded in the faces of an undermanned, poorly armored and badly led American force, Mr. Rumsfeld did Mr. Bush's bidding by denying failure after failure. The president stuck by him until the 2006 campaign ended in the one condition that trumps loyalty in the Bush family playbook: losing an election.

The president also clung to his nomination of Ms. Miers to the Supreme Court long after there was a bipartisan consensus that she was unqualified. Now we know that there is powerful evidence that Ms. Miers helped to orchestrate the political purge of United States attorneys.

The more of these White House psychodramas we get to witness, the more obvious it is that Mr. Bush's warm embrace is really a payoff to yes-men who didn't challenge his orders or question ideology-driven policies. It is a cynical way to run the United States government. And, as Mr. Tenet's recent book shows, it doesn't even buy silence.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051907D.shtml

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