July 17, 2006

Condoleeza To The Rescue, Again

When Bush was caught off mike shooting the breeze with his good pal Tony about the situation in the Middle East, he noted that he would be sending Condi to straighten the mess out:

Blair: Yeah, no I think the [inaudible] is really difficult. We can't stop this unless you get this international business agreed.

Bush: Yeah

Blair: I don't know what you guys have talked about but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral

Bush: I think Condi is going to go pretty soon

Blair: But that's that's that's all that matters. But if you, you see it will take some time to get that together

Bush: Yeah, yeah

Blair: But at least it gives people...

Bush: It's a process, I agree. I told her your offer to...

Blair: Well...it's only if I mean... you know. If she's got a..., or if she needs the ground prepared as it were... Because obviously if she goes out, she's got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk

Funny how it reminds me of another time Bush called on his able advisor to straighten out the mess before the start of the Iraq war.

Cohen's reading of Bob Woodward's Bush At War differs from mine. In fact, I think Woodward presents overwhelming evidence that Bush is employing none of the essentials of effective supreme command (a few of which I listed above).

Most glaringly, Woodward's portrait of the president in Bush At War is at odds with leaders who engage in "unequal dialogue." Bush told Woodward he did not see his role as that of a "prober" - rather, he sees it as that of a provoker. "One of my jobs in to be provocative ... to provoke people into -- to force decisions," Bush said.

When asked if others knew when he was provoking by playing devil's advocate, Bush replied: "Of course not. I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

If those are the words of effective supreme command, or if that was the mentality of Cohen's role models for supreme command, I have missed something. Bush plainly does not engage in "unequal dialogue." Indeed, it appears that he engages in no dialogue whatsoever. Others explain their positions; he does not explain or suggest his own.

For example, Woodward reports that when disagreements arise within Bush's war council - as they have, for example, between the CIA and the Defense Department - Bush does not pursue the disagreement to settle it. Rather he turns to his able national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and instructs, "Get this mess straightened out."

We now know how well she resolved the differences between the CIA and the Pentagon. What an irony that our future ability to prevent WWIII is based on the hapless Condi and the smug Decider.

Transcript via Think Progress

Posted by Mary at July 17, 2006 09:57 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |

Condi Rice mentally wrestles with her public comments. Her facial expression is pained. She speaks in difficult pauses. Her words are too carefully measured. This suggests a policy of dissembling, of not speaking forthrightly, of presenting statements meant to delude more than inform.

In this regard, her leadership quality is much like George, similarly saying little, disguising an underlying agenda. All Bush cabinet members speak in dissembling ways, with the possible exception of Cheney who's demeanor completely belies the dire consequence of failed policy. Cheney may internalize any potentially devastating outcome as inconsequential.

Cheney is like the Dark Lord character in the Star Wars science fiction series. George Junior is like the little rat creature that hovered beside Jabba the Hut and squealed with pleasure during executions. Rumsfeld pushes policy assessments like a used car salesman.

Posted by: Wells at July 20, 2006 01:29 AM