This Week's Attitude
By Neil S. Friedman
With apologies to Abraham Lincoln… Two score and eight months ago our government embarked on a new war, conceived in deceit, and dedicated to the glorification of a president that has resulted in over 3,200 American soldiers killed, over 23,000 wounded and at a cost to taxpayers that will likely top one trillion dollars before it's over.
How has the Bush administration failed America? Let me count the ways…
1) It encouraged, instigated and wages a war based on deceit, false intelligence and a botched strategy, since "shock and awe" gave way to a premature "mission accomplished."
President Bush, Vice President Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and others in their White House clique deliberately misled the Congress and the American people regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify an invasion, which what they believed would be a cakewalk victory.
2) That misstep perpetuated ongoing indifference to combat GIs. Not only were troops left vulnerable, due to inadequate equipment and supplies, including bulletproof vests and scantily armored vehicles, not to mention a shortage of manpower, but they also seriously underestimated the fervor and determination of their adversaries.
3) From the highest levels of the Pentagon, and perhaps the White House, too, on down to the chain of command, the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison - Saddam Hussein's former torture chamber of horrors - was sanctioned and ignored, until evidence was made public, in violation of U.S. laws, the UN Torture Convention and the Geneva Con-vention.
4) The president and vice president have admitted authorizing the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance of American civilians without seeking warrants in violation of U.S. laws and legislation. More recently the FBI admitted it overstepped the bounds of the guidelines of the renewed Patriot Act, which is a law waiting to be abused by illegally spying on U.S. citizens.
5 & 6) Besides starting the war, its peripheral affects have generated a host of Bush mistakes, including the scandalous treatment of outpatient veterans at Walter Reed Medical Center and the abandonment of Iraqi translators and others who allied with us and are now left to go into hiding from a vengeful enemy.
7) Let's not forget the White House carefully orchestrated an "out of sight, out of mind" campaign to keep the media away from funerals of GIs slain in Iraq, so the public would not be regularly reminded of the war's tragic human costs.
8) A key domestic black mark on this administration was its oh-so casual approach to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, despite the president hastily praising his buddy, FEMA chief Michael Brown, for doing a "heckuva job."
9) The White House has also failed to establish a working immigration policy while illegal immigrants are damned, but their tony American employers seem to be getting off with nothing but a rebuke.
10) Senior presidential advisor and confidante Karl Rove, a member of the White House inner circle, reportedly prompted incoming Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to consider firing "underperforming" federal prosecutors who were seeking to indict Republicans, but not Democrats. Gonzales is just another Bush buddy doin' a heckuva job. To compound his blunder, Rove reportedly defended his involvement by claiming that Bill Clinton fired all but one prosecutor when he took office in 1993.
C'mon, Rove, you should be above that kind of tit-for-tat juvenile behavior.
He may have evaded any overt link to the Scooter Libby/CIA mess, but it looks like the Justice De-partment house cleaning has his "fingerprints" (and E-mails) all over it.
This considerable list of ineptitude has been verified in congressional hearings, in court and in the media and is the impetus behind the president's dismal approval ratings.
The only ray of common sense and decency in the Bush Administration lately has been new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who promptly - and properly - reacted to the Walter Reed scandal by ousting those at the top, after they offered flimsy excuses for their ignorance and inaction for dismal outpatient treatment at the Army medical center.
If George W. Bush worked for Donald Trump and failed as badly as he has with unqualified appointments and miscalculations, it's likely he would have heard the words, "You're fired," long ago. But incumbent presidents, regardless of an overwhelmingly critical electorate, are allowed some latitude. Nonetheless, Bush is a lame duck in a large pond that dries up with every misstep he makes.
How much more incompetence can we expect from the Bush administration? Regrettably, there are 21 loooong months left to find out.
This week the president - without tongue in cheek - asked opponents to have patience because it could "take months, not weeks or days" for success in Iraq. Sorry, George, you've had 48 months and we're no closer to victory now than we were when you declared the mission accomplished.
Hey, George W. Bush, you're doin' a heckuva job!