Now, in the 21st-century reign of King George II, flattery is mandatory, dissent is forbidden, and erring without admitting error is the best way to get ahead. President Bush is purging the naysayers who tried to temper crusted-nut-bar Dick Cheney and the neocon crazies on Iraq.
First, faith trumped facts. Now, loyalty trumps competence. W., who was the loyalty enforcer for his father's administration, is now the loyalty enforcer for his own.
Those promoted to be in charge of our security, diplomacy and civil liberties were rewarded for being more loyal to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney than to the truth.
The president and vice president are dispatching their toadies to the agencies to quell dissent. The crackdown seems bizarre, since hardly anyone dared to disagree with them anyway and there were plenty willing to twist the truth for them.
Mr. Bush doesn't want any more leaks, like the one showing that he was told two months before invading Iraq that such a move could lead to violent internal conflict and more support for radical Islamists.
Mr. Goss has managed to make the dysfunctional C.I.A. even more dysfunctional. Instead of going after Al Qaeda, he's busy purging top-level officials who had been going after Al Qaeda - replacing them with his coterie of hacks from Capitol Hill.
Mr. Cheney is letting his old mentor, Rummy, stay on. What does it matter if the Rummy doctrine - dangerously thin allotments of forces, no exit strategy, snatching State Department occupation duties and then screwing them up - has botched the Iraq mission and left the military so strapped it's calling back old, out-of-shape reservists to active service?
Bush is promoting those individuals who have not only remained loyal, but even more so who have career paths that have mirrored his own. The more you screw-up and fail professionally, the more likely you are to be rescued and promoted. To the family-values-ridden Republicans: what a wonderful message to send to our kids!