Bush/Cheney’s Cardinal Sin

by Nathaniel Gurien

When I was growing up, reasonable people agreed on the facts and disagreed on the solutions.

Yet now, and especially over the last six years, our political discourse has grown ever more shrill, especially on the Republican side, with name-calling, demonizing and attacking the messenger, personal insults – anything to draw attention from the truth.

What are the Bush/Cheney administration and their Republican apologists afraid of? What is the dirty and terrible secret they are apparently frantic to protect?

What is the common thread behind this administration’s hideous legacy, which includes:

1) Their failure to detect and prevent 9/11

2) The squandered golden opportunity to bring America and the world together in the aftermath of 9/11

3) Their failed invasion of Afghanistan

4) Their failure to capture Osama Bin Laden

5) Lying America into war with an unthreatening sovereign country

6) Fabricating, falsifying and exaggerating intelligence information, then blaming the messenger

7) Failure to provide body armor for our sons & daughters who risk their lives and limbs to protect us

8) Failure to properly armor the vehicles driven by our sons & daughters who risk their lives and limbs to protect us

9) Their failed occupation and reconstruction of Iraq

10) Looting, chaos and civil war in Iraq with no end in sight

11) Billions of our tax dollars lost off the back of pickup trucks and crooked middlemen

12) Continuing year after year to bet American lives and money on their Iraq folly with no clear objectives or end-game strategy

13) Creating a vast new generation of international terrrorists who hate America

14) Craven war profiteering and cronyism

15) No-bid privatization of government departments

16) Pervasive secrecy and dishonesty at the highest levels

17) Repeated, blatant violations of the Hatch Act barring partisan politicking on government property

18) Abu Ghraib

19) Katrina

20) Walter Reed

21) Alberto Gonzales

22) The Pat Tillman propaganda cover-up

23) The Valerie Plame treason affair

24) The destruction of America’s international reputation

25) Torture, rendition, unlimited detention (of both US citizens and foreigners) without charges or trial

26) Unconstitutional and illegal spying & surveillance

27) The biggest budget deficits in American history

28) Corruption, bribery and pork-barrel spending at an all-time high

29) Building of secret standing armies not subject to our laws or Constitution

30) Unconstitutional power-grabbing via illegal executive orders and assertion of executive privilege

31) Breaking down the Constitutional separation of powers

32) The firing of US Attorneys scandal

33) Their unconstitutional use of hundreds of signing statements to undermine the enforcement of laws passed by Congress and signed by the President

34) The decisive 2006 electoral defeat of the Republican Party

35) Their despicable hiding behind the apron strings of decent and honorable members of our armed forces, commandeering the reputations of men like General Colin Powell and General David Petraeus to sell their lies to the American public

The Bush/Cheney administration has betrayed and done great damage to the Republican Party. Leading, thoughtful conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan, John McLaughlin, Alan Greenspan, Brent Scowcroft, William F. Buckley, Jr., Bruce Fein and John McCain have already hinted at the sickening truth: The Bush/Cheney administration is probably the most recklessly incompetent in American history. Its negligence in governing is breathtaking.

I am no stranger to public service, and I have many friends and colleagues from both parties who likewise serve or have served. When appointing people to positions of public trust and responsibility, first and foremost, they must be qualified and experienced to competently discharge the responsibilities of that position. One compiles a list of suitably qualified candidates, and then and only then, elected officials may choose those from the list who share their politics and loyalties.

But the Bush/Cheney administration appointed thousands of people to key positions throughout the government solely and strictly on ideology and/or loyalty without the slightest regard to competence, experience or fitness. Conversely, they specifically excluded anyone who didn’t pass their narrow litmus tests. If you spoke fluent Arabic but you were in favor of Roe v Wade you were rejected. “Heck of a job, Brownie!” was the rule, not the exception. That, for example, is how we got a 22-year-old in charge of establishing a stock exchange in Baghdad – incidentally a pet project of rather dubious priority in the chaos of Iraq.

Their reckless incompetence is a direct result of this policy, and failure, destruction and tyranny has followed in its wake.

Whether or not one was in favor of the invasion of Iraq, the incompetent execution of the occupation and reconstruction was and remains criminal. How can our leaders claim to not to have known better? Even thousands of years ago, when the Roman Empire invaded a country, the military phase was immediately followed by a corps of experienced and competent administrators (who in this instance would have spoken fluent Arabic and been well-versed in Iraqi culture) ready to take over the key reins of government and infrastructure, in cooperation with suitable locals. This whole mission could have been competently and successfully concluded within a few months (or never should have been undertaken at all), and none of the terrible aftermath would have ensued.

The truth is that our military performed brilliantly and courageously, as always. No-one disputes that, and we all support our troops. But they have been betrayed and strained to breaking by this Administration’s incompetence, and to attempt to cover up its failures by accusing its critics of “not supporting the troops” and “aiding the enemy” is the worst kind of craven and shameful propaganda.

All the killings, chaos, mismanagement, theft, cover-ups, law-breaking, tyranny and failures of this Administration can be traced back to this single cardinal sin of governing.

But there’s good news!

Now that the underlying truth is revealed, repairing the breech is as simple as 1-2-3.

True patriots of the Republican Party must put aside partisanship, and for the good of the country we all love, as well as for the salvation of the Party:

1) Disavow, repudiate and reject the gross and malignant incompetence of the Bush/Cheney administration as a matter of both Party policy and principle

2) Hold them legally and Constitutionally accountable

3) Ask the American public, and the rest of the world for forgiveness for having facilitated and promoted this mess in the name of misplaced party loyalty.

And then we can all come back together again to agree on the facts and disagree on the solutions.