Tuesday, May 11, 2004

One big realization that comes to mind when reading through James Fallows’ excellent “Blind Into Baghdad” is that during these trying last few years our government has continuously worked, or gotten it right, and repeatedly it’s Bush & Co. who have gotten it wrong. As taxpayers, we should understand and appreciate that the non-appointed aspects of the federal system appear to have functioned just fine, but as citizens we have been ripped off when the higher-ups have chosen to ignore or discard such terrific work.

Fallows points out that,

Almost everything, good and bad, that has happened in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime was the subject of extensive pre-war discussion and analysis.

All this, and much more, was laid out in detail and in writing long before the U.S. government made the final decision to attack. Even now the collective efforts at planning by the CIA, the State Department, the Army and the Marine Corps, the United States Agency for International Development, and a wide variety of other groups inside and outside the government are underappreciated by the public.

The problems the United States has encountered are precisely the ones its own expert agencies warned against.

In other words, the departments and agencies had it right, yet our appointed, senior government leaders chose to look the other way concerning such prescient warnings and words of advice. The same can be said for Richard Clarke, a “lifer” in government who performed superbly over his years of service, a true American, and yet he too was treated like the crazy aunt locked in the cellar. Look at the actuary for Medicare who also had it right and yet his reward was to have his livelihood threatened. Or consider the several EPA officials who have reluctantly resigned over the years, mainly because they realized that their many years of work and dedication were being reversed under Bush’s direction.

The point being that Americans should not blindly adopt the cynical, anti-government stance of this administration, particularly since it’s the administration itself that is inept and incompetent – not the government system as we’ve come to know it.

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