November 01, 2004

Price of Incompetence

Josh Marshall writes about how the Bush administration's cultivated appearance of competence successfully hid enormous fumbles from the press for years. He explains the nature of the confidence game they've been playing since the 2000 election, and the numerous scams that are finally starting to crumble.

A business savvy friend of mine tells me that no one can get sold like a salesman, and that hucksters often turn out to be the biggest suckers. Word has it that he hasn't been proved wrong by the Bush administration.

Bin Laden Transcript Outlines Plan to Bankrupt U.S. Through War (link mine):

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said he is trying to bankrupt the U.S. through its war on terror, a strategy he says felled the Soviet Union two decades ago in Afghanistan, according to a translation by al-Jazeera television of his full, videotaped statement.

"The mujahedeen recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan -- with Allah's permission,'' bin Laden said in the video that aired on the Qatar-based satellite network, according to the translation, posted today to al-Jazeera's Web site.

..."All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies,'' bin Laden said, according to the al-Jazeera transcript.

It would be possible to look at this and think that bin Laden might be the brightest evil genius ever. But a discerning reader would realize that he's recycling strategies that worked against the Soviets twenty years ago, strategies that... wait for it... the U.S. government came up with. Not only that, the strategies put into use by many of the same Ford-Reagan-Bush I retreads employed by the Bush administration today.

These nimrods didn't just fall for any old con game, they fell for *their own con game.* Bin Laden isn't original; the people running our country are that blinkered.

I'd laugh, but I'm too outraged at the fact that the rest of us got stuck with the bill. Bush says that we need to return to the days when we would 'pay any price,' but he misses the point. He never had to be careful with the money lent him by his father's friends for his past failed business ventures, so maybe he doesn't realize that you only engage in high risk speculation under certain circumstances.

First, you have to have a worthy goal, but a worthy goal doesn't by itself mandate risking arbitrarily large amounts of other people's blood and treasure. You should also have a) no other, safer option, b) a clear understanding of the background situation, c) a clear understanding of the risks involved going forward, and d) full disclosure of those risks to all affected participants. In other words, if Bush had been selling stock in the Iraq war, he'd be heading off to a white collar penitentiary after being bankrupted by shareholder lawsuits.

We've been punked for billions of dollars that could have gone to build up our security for the future, and the bad guys want to let us know that they're just doing their warm-up act. Could someone explain to me again why the Republicans, a party that runs our nation's defense strategy like Kenneth Lay ran Enron, have such a great reputation on national security?

Posted by natasha at November 1, 2004 03:47 PM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |