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.
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 stains on a navy-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.
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