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Sun

17

Aug

2008

The Excuses Administration
Sunday, 17 August 2008 10:45
by Stephen P. Pizzo

Amazing, isn't it? We've now lived through seven and half years of goose-stepping arrogance married with utterly breathtaking incompetence, and have six more months of it yet to play out.

While most Americans have long since realized that this administration will go down in history as America's worst, administration arrogance remains undiminished.

They are no longer taken seriously by nearly anyone here or abroad. But in their defense, it is terribly difficult to strut one's stuff amid the smoking rubble of their own making.

When they took office in January 2001 they set about to straighten out a nation they believed liberals had sissified. And they set out to prove to a world that appeared increasingly wanting to go it's own way, that Uncle Sam still mattered and was still armed and dangerous.

While the evidence that their mission failed, not just a little, but monumentally, they claim history will vindicate them. History, of course, more often than not, does just the opposite when handed the kind of archival evidence this administration will leave in its wake.

Nevertheless, none of what's gone wrong over the last seven and half years is their fault. None of it. This is an administration quick to accept praise, even if it has to come from within, and slow to accept blame, even when it clings to them like a stain on a blue dress.

Let us count the stains:

1) It began with in secret meetings between VP Dick Cheney and fellow energy company executives. Together they mapped out a plan — a plan that remains secret — for America's energy future. Not surprisingly those energy executives eschewed, even mocked, conservation or investments in new, renewable energy sources. Instead they advised, and Cheney apparently agreed, we should expand support for more of the kind of stuff their companies already sell — particularly oil and coal. The only changes they apparently counseled involved price.

Fast forward and we have $4 gas and a looming heating oil crisis come this winter.
Their Excuse: Not our fault. It's all the fault of Democrats for blocking offshore drilling and drilling Alaska. And never mind all that nonsense about "the environment" and "pollution" and "peak oil." All liberal lies. Why, you ask? Because liberals hate low energy prices. That's why.
2) Then, after less than a year in office, their own administration failed to heed warnings left for them by the previous administration that America faced the risk of an "immanent" attack by al Qaida, "involving the use of commercial aircraft." The result was the the 9/11 attacks.
Their Excuse: Not our fault. Whose fault was it? Bill Clinton's fault. He should have fixed this before we got here. So clearly 9/11 was Clinton's fault, not ours. Sure it happened on our watch, not his. But we weren't watching. We thought that memo left for us by the Clinton folks was a trick. After all, they did steal all the "W's" off White House computer keyboards when they left, so those liberals are capable of anything. So we had a good laugh over that memo when we I found it on my desk on day one. I said to Condi, "Nice try guys, but we're not falling for that old 'your zipper's down" trick. Like, 'made you look, ha ha.'"
3) Then they invaded Afghanistan. Our troops did a fabulous job chasing the Taliban and al Qaida out of most of the country and penning them into the boxed canyons of Tora Bora. Victory was within our grasp. But right then, something shinny caught caught their eye — Iraq. They decided they were on a winning streak so, while we had all those troops in the neighborhood, why not invade Iraq as well — and teach those uppity Arabs a lesson they won't soon forget.

But rather than finishing off al Qaida and the Taliban, they turned the Pentagon's attention to Iraq and left the job of finishing off Enemy Number One to Afghanistan's notoriously undependable tribesmen, who promptly proved themselves to be -- well, undependable. Al Qaida and their leader, bin Laden, escaped to fight another day, another month, another year, another decade.

Their Excuse: Not our fault. We had to invade Iraq immediately because Iraq was "suspected" of possessing weapons of mass destruction. Okay, so they didn't. But that's not our fault either. The guy running the CIA screwed up by providing us bad intelligence. So we asked him to retire, thanked him for his wonderful service to the country and gave him the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom.
3) The invasion of Iraq went off without a hitch. Once again our troops did what they were asked to do and did with skill and great dispatch. The rubble had hardly stopped vibrating in Iraq when our cocky Commander-in-Chief — himself an "undistinguished" former Air National Guard pilot — shamelessly played dress-up in a navy flight suit to declare "mission accomplished" in Iraq. (It was as if Forrest Gump had had an evil twin and there he was, on the deck of one of our aircraft carriers, dressed to kill.

One big problem — within weeks it was abundantly clear that the mission was far from accomplished. While the administration basked in the warm glow of self-proclaimed victory, their own lack of planning and intelligence had thrust the then decapitated Iraq into chaos.

Who knew that Iraq was a nation made up of three eternally warring tribes? Ah, well, anyone who had even a passing knowledge of the region knew that. But that was one of those nagging "nuances" the know-it-alls of this administration brushed aside with contempt.

And so six years later the mission in Iraq remains unaccomplished.
Their Excuse: Not our fault. Everything was going swimmingly until al Qaida decided to make Iraq the "central front in the war on terror." Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know there was only one member of al Qaida in Iraq before we destabilized the place. And yeah, yeah, yeah, we know that the al Qaida fighters who showed up in Iraq later were only there because we'd let them get away in Afghanistan. But that's looking backward. We want to look ahead. So shut up about Tora Bora. Just get over it, okay? (Why do you liberals hate our brave troops?)
4) Meanwhile, back in Washington, the administration had been busy making the country safe for businesses and the people who run them. The first order of business was the slash taxes on folks who make a lot of money.

That mission was accomplished. Tax cuts amounting to nearly $2 trillion were proposed and approved by a Republican congress — with more than a little help from intimidated — spineless — Democrats. GOP bully boys had the Dems cowering in their cloakroom, terrified they'd be slapped around with worn, but time-tested, brick bats like, "tax and spend liberals," So, when the bully boys said "jump" the Democrats gathered up their skirts and jumped. (And, even after all this, Democrats in congress are still jumping when ordered to do so. Remember the FISA voteearlier this month? Yikes. What more can I say than yikes?)

Six years later the Bush tax cuts have resulted in a yawning national deficit. Together with war spending the next president will inherit a half trillion dollar "shortfall."
Their Excuse: Not our fault. It all would have worked as planned had we not been attacked on 9/11. So, the US deficit is al Qaida's fault. Those tax cuts would have "trickled down" to average Americans if we had not had to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those wars are costing us $12 billion a month, man. So give us break on that. — - What? What do you mean we didn't have to go to war in Iraq? And if we hadn't we'd be about a trillion bucks ahead of the game by now. That's not true! And anyone who says otherwise is not supporting the troops. How dare you diss the brave soldiers we've put into harm's way! Shame on you! Why do liberals hate America?
5) If there's anything these guys hate more than liberals it's federal regulators. They saw them as a bunch of nagging liberal nannies whose only job appeared to be hobbling business with a lot of expensive Sadie-Safety rules and regulations. If businesses were simply allowed to get on with what they do everything would be so much cheaper, like it is in China. Those so-called clean air rules, clean water rules and rules holding back Wall Street and banking were just a bunch of job-killing nonsense. So, they knee-capped regulators and gutted the regulatory apparatus of government.

Mission accomplished here too. The cat was caged and the mice — and rats — played. Which brings us to the so-called "sub-prime" and "credit-crunch" crisis. The economy is not just in the tank today, but that tank seems to have no bottom this time — or at very least, we can't see it yet.
Their Excuse: Not our fault! It may have happened on our watch, but it's still not our fault. It's the fault of high energy prices. And no, you still can't see the minutes of Dick Cheney's 2001 meetings with the heads of the world's largest energy producers. Why? Because, they are none of your business, that's why. And don't ask again, damn it! How do you expect us to govern if we have to tell you what we're up to all the time? Anyway, all this "accountability" stuff is highly over-rated.
6) When they took office seven and half years ago, reorganizing the Department of Justice was high on their list. Over the decades they believed liberals had too often used the DOJ to push "the liberal agenda," aided and abetted by liberal "activist" judges. This was serious business. Over the past few decades the DOJ had been used to investigate and — God forbid — even prosecute corporate interests, such as big tobacco and big oil and big manufacturing. Time and again "activist judges" had ruled against companies and in favor of unproductive interests such as "the environment," and "consumers."

So they proceeded to stack the DOJ from top to bottom with conservative/fundamentalist Christian sycophants, dim witted, but malleable and obedient as only true-believes can be.

Another mission accomplished. With the DOJ on board the administration's most arrogant thugs got a legal green light for just about anything they wanted to do, at home or abroad. Because after all, it's not torture when we do it for the reasons we say we need to do it. They says so because their hand-picked lawyers at the DOJ assured them so.
Their Excuse: Sure we fired people who we thought were not "loyal Bushies." But in this town all appointments are "political." So what's the big deal? We may not like liberal "activists" so we replaced them with fundamentalist conservative activists. What's the problem? It was our turn, right?

Besides, once we had those folks in place they confirmed our belief we could do stuff those activist liberal appointees wouldn't have touched with a ten-foot vaccinated crow bar. You know, like invading another country that had not directly threatened the US, and water boarding people we figured knew useful stuff, and secret prisons, domestic spying and Gitmo. Those good Christian, Pat Robertson-trained lawyers gave us a clean bill of health on all that stuff.

So, if we can't rely on our own lawyer's legal advice, what can we rely on? The Constitution? That old thing? Quaint, but, like, so out of date — so 18th-19th-century.
7) While all this was going on the worst hurricane in decades just about wiped out the city of New Orleans. But the bully boys were busy enjoying a well-earned rest at the time and the people of New Orleans were left to fend for themselves. Instead of marshaling the enormous resources at their disposal, instead they sent FEMA, headed by a former show-horse association official, Michael Brown, and the rest is history — along with most the 9th Ward.
Their Excuse: We had no idea those levies would break. Besides, hurricanes are "an act of God." Even insurance companies are let off the hook for acts of God, so get off our back about that whole Katrina business. Besides, as my Mom said, those black folk who were relocated to Houston "never had it so good," — though she is annoyed that many of them haven't returned to New Orleans.

Barbara Bush: "What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." (Source)
And so, my friends (as Sen. John McSame likes to say) you can see, none of what's vexing the world and the nation today is the fault of the people who have been in charge for the last seven and half years.
- After six years of war, the future of Iraq remains up for grabs among it's three waring tribes and neighboring Iran.

- Afghanistan has descended back into chaos and the Taliban now control more than half the country again.

- While the Taliban try to reinstate themselves in Afghanistan, al Qaida (et al) are busily destablizing Pakistan, which now has dozens of training camps, ala pre-invastion Afghanistan and is rapidly heading in the same fundamentalist direction - only with nuclear weapons.

- America's fiscal condition has never in its history been worse, deficits never larger, the national debt has exploded from $4.5 trillion to nearly $10 trillion on their watch.

- The knock-on effect of America's financial meltdown is precipitating an international financial crisis of proportions not seen since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

- America will now be listed in history as a nation that once employed and sanctioned torture, violated human rights, eschewed the rule of law in favor of the rule of expediency and remained, to it's final days in office, unrepentant.
None of it is the fault of the people who've been in charge of nearly everything for the past seven and a half years. Just ask them.

Which is why we MUST pursue them once they leave office and can no longer destroy evidence, stonewall inquiries or manipulated the levers of justice.

That was supposed be the job of Congress. But they failed us as well. Shame. Shame.

So, it's up to us from here. Do they get away with these high-crimes and misdeamenors, or not?
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