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George W. Bush Cannot Recover

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I can almost feel sorry for Dubya. He's dug a hole so deep there's no chance of digging his way out. This is, and will remain for three more years, a failed presidency.

I said almost sorry. I just watched the film "The Fog of War," regarding former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, who served in that position for both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, through the first two periods of the Vietnam War.

While elapsed time (McNamara is now old) adds valuable perspective, I could not help comparing him to the bumbling fools with which Bush has repeatedly surrounded himself. McNamara has the ability to look backwards at history, and the strength to analyze what went so wrong.

I cannot see Donald Rumsfeld ever questioning himself, or the disastrous series of stupid mistakes that he so regularly made; mistakes that are deeply responsible for the chaotic state of this administration's Iraqi war. It seems that, in his fanatical desire for secrecy and loyalty above all else, Bush has demonstrated a five-year penchant for picking the wrong people, for the wrong job, at the wrong time. Time and time again.

Last week Mr. Bush sent Dick Cheney to Lithuania to lecture the Russians on human rights. What in hell could Bush have been thinking of? To begin with, five years of absolute ham-handed incompetence being served up as a substitute for international diplomacy should have registered as failed policy. Cheney? The guy who has an 18% approval rating in his own country, and is universally detested around the world? Dick Cheney lecturing anybody about human rights? Who could possibly have a murkier record on democratic reform and openness in government than Mr. Cheney?

Was it not the vice-president who orchestrated secret meetings with big oil to set up our disastrous energy policy? Wasn't he the guy who orchestrated the cherry-picking of intelligence to justify Bush's unjustifiable war, and who helped arrange the administration's highly nuanced support for torture?

At the very time the U.S. is trying to get Russia's help in pressuring Iran to slow their nuclear program, why would you ever send a person with Cheney's human rights record to lecture them in front of the world? Why not dig up Bela Lugosi, and send him over there?

Last week Porter Goss was unceremoniously dumped from his directorship of the CIA, after having held the job only 19 months. As Maureen Dowd wrote, "Yesterday, Porter Goss lost the job he never should have had in the first place." One more example of Bush's atrocious tendency to fill important administration jobs with the worst levels of patronage.

Dowd went on to point out that immediately after John Negroponte axed Goss, Bush went bicycling. If the truth were known, the country might be better off if all Bush did was bicycle and cut brush. How could he hurt us then? How many more Brownies and Gosses do we have ahead of us?

Goss was given the job not to improve the agency, but rather to purge it of any and all people deemed not "receptive" to the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld rush to war in Iraq. Once again, White House paranoia, particularly that of Cheney, was behind the Goss appointment. What he did accomplish, unfortunately, was the wholesale loss of senior intelligence agents, who objected to his witch-hunt mentality.

Once again, Bush's motivation with the Goss selection was not so much as to find a competent leader for the CIA, but rather to quell an imaginary cabal of anti-administration spies, who were supposedly trying to overthrow his Iraqi policy. One wonders"has there ever been an Iraqi policy"at least one with a modicum of afterthought, about what we would do once we got there?

Gary Berntsen, a former CIA operations officer and self-described Republican and Bush supporter, who retired in 2005, said, "The agency was never at war with the White House"Eighty-five percent of them are Republicans. The CIA was a convenient scapegoat." Another former intelligence official, speaking anonymously, offered that Goss "Came in to clean up without knowing what he was going to clean up."

One thing has become patently obvious about this president, and this presidency. He will not change. He will not improve. He will not"ever"admit he has been wrong.

In a near-farcical announcement, Bush nominated General Michael V. Hayden as Goss's replacement on May 8th. This nomination has upset senior Republican lawmakers, as Hayden is seen as instrumental in supporting the Bush program to eavesdrop on American citizens, seen as a violation of the Constitution by all but the president, Alberto Gonzales, and the rest of the Bush administration.

If Hayden is confirmed, who do you think will be appointed his Deputy Director of Operations? None other than Stephen R. Kappes, who was forced to retire less than two
Months after Goss arrived, because he refused to fire his chief of staff for criticizing Patrick Murray, one of Goss's incompetent assistants.

Prominent GOP pollster Lance Tarrance, recently said this about the Bush people:

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Thomas L. Walsh graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Communications/Journalism degree in 1962. Following a successful business career, he retired to Idaho's Teton Valley in 1999, where he works as a free-lance writer. Walsh and his (more...)
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