Archive for February 26th, 2006

The NYTimes reviewed Paul Bremer's book, "My Year in Iraq," in today's paper. Apparently even administration lackeys are abandoning the president.

The most startling moment in "My Year in Iraq," L. Paul Bremer III's memoir from his days as the head of the American occupation, comes near the end, when violent uprisings were sweeping most of the central and southern parts of the country in May 2004. With the whole American enterprise verging on collapse, Bremer decided to secretly ask the Pentagon for tens of thousands of additional American troops — a request that, as the rest of his book makes clear, was taboo in the White House and Pentagon.

Bremer turned to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top American commander in Iraq, and asked him what he would do with two more divisions, as many as 40,000 more troops. General Sanchez did not hesitate to answer. "I'd control Baghdad," he said. Bremer then mentioned some other uses for the soldiers, like securing Iraq's borders and protecting its infrastructure, to which General Sanchez replied: "Got those spare troops handy, sir?"

In the memoir, then, Bremer confirms what most of us thought all along: the Bush administration prized ideology above results in Iraq. Not only did Bush place political loyalists in important positions, the administration refused to hear any information that ran contrary to its rose-colored worldview.

This book follows a long line of memoirs and tell-alls about the Bush administration written by dissatisfied insiders — Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neil the examples that spring to mind. But Bremer is different. He's a Bush man. That Bremer, loyal soldier, airs his dirty laundry in public, says much about where Bush stands in Washington these days. If this book is followed by silence from the right-wing spin machine, you'll know the administration is in political trouble. Still, waiting until now to point out the administration's dysfunction on Iraq, Bremer proves himself a coward. Oh yeah, and he's done his country a disservice:

But Bremer bears a heavy responsibility for keeping silent — and so does General Sanchez. If we can assume that Bremer's recollection is correct, then General Sanchez' remarks indicate that Baghdad was indeed out of control, that both he and Bremer knew it and that without more troops, it was likely to stay out of control. And so it did, for many months after Bremer and General Sanchez left Iraq. Neither man ever gave a public assessment of the security situation that remotely approached the one Bremer gives here.

By staying silent, Bremer ensured that there would be no public debate on the merits of deploying more American troops. By staying silent, he helped ensure that there would be little public discussion over the condition of the Iraqi security forces, whose quality he doubted. When his request for more troops was ignored, his silence helped ensure that the troops would never come.

Silence from dissatisfied or concerened Republicans will be an enduring hallmark of this 6-year political disaster known as the Bush presidency. That's part of the Rovian plan, though: not only did the GOP manage to speak as with one voice, they build the financial empire to reward loyalists and punish rebels, no matter how inane official policy or practical and well-intentioned the dissent.

Abramoff and Tom Delay were the center of the pork-doling project constructed by the GOP. Now that they've been indicted, that financial center of the Repulican party seems to be missing. Now that Bush's approval rating dips below thirty percent, Dinky no longer is the rallying point for conservatives wishing for a political future.

Finally the long string of scandals and bad news are beginning to catch up to the Republicans.

A few weeks ago, I speculated that Burns’ running ads against the Abramoff attacks was against the best interests of the Republican party:

Why would any sane person want to attract attention to himself when there’s so much evidence piled against him? Surely the Republican Party wants us all to forget about Abramoff, not let itself embroiled in a he-said-she-said shouting match the party can’t win.

I think the GOP wants to abandon Burns.

Let’s face it, they need a fall guy for Abramoff, someone to indict and convict so they can say, “well he was the guy who took money from Jack,” and let the animus fall squarely and solely on that sucker’s head, diverting attention away from the fact that Abramoff’s illicit dealing was one of the foundations of the party’s current power grab. And who better than some hick Senator with low poll ratings who nobody’s ever heard of and who sits on a bunch of low-level and relatively unimportant committees…

If Burns resigns the only people rejoicing more than Montanans would be the RNC. Burns’ resignation would allow a new conservative candidate free from the whiff of scandal run in a very conservative state. They could also crucify the Senator, let him dangle once he’s out of government and powerless to retaliate.

Only he won’t back down. He knows his only chance to stay out of jail is to win another term in the Senate. Republican Party be d*mned.

Conrad Burns re-filed for his Senate seat, and he’s enlisted Dinky to help raise funds for his upcoming race – a thousand bucks just to walk in the door, twenty grand to get your photo snapped with the president.

That’s right, the least-popular president in the last century campaigning for the nation’s most unpopular Senator. One wonders if there was a typo in the announcement, twenty grand to not have your photo taken at the event with either Burns or Bush.

And now, Matt Singer mentions some gossip he heard in DC this week:

Burns was not supposed to file for that Senate seat unless his internals are showing more of a boost than the public numbers are. Maybe his polling is better than the public figures. I doubt it.

Is it a coincidence that, at the same time he announced his fundraiser with Bush, that the GOP appears to be set to abandon the prez over Portgate? Can it be a coincidence that Burns is “undecided” about the sale of six US ports to the UAE, when every other politician with a pulse is throwing Dinky under the bus?

Looks like Burns is hitching his trailer to the president.

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