Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

March 26, 2008

Bush’s War

Filed under: media, politics — Tags: , , , — codesmithy @ 9:57 am

Frontline ran an amazing two part program called “Bush’s War.”  It can be viewed online here.  It isn’t a complete picture of Iraq, however it gives insight into the behind-the-scenes political battles that took place surrounding the war.

I don’t want to belabor any of the points.  However, a couple things are clear.  First, Rumsfeld was hopelessly deluded about the war.  The disastrous post-invasion looting was due directly to his incompetence.  The torture of prisoners for information is something he directly authorized.

Second, Rice failed her way upwards.  She was a central piece to the intelligence failure on September 11th.  Although, in her defense, it is unclear how willing higher ups in the administration were willing to listen.  She is the adamant stay-the-course adherent.  Her advocacy of Clear-Hold-Build, while sound is way too little, way too late.  We don’t have the troop levels.  We spent the political capital we had in Iraq.  There is not enough popular support here at home.  Even if we had the strategy from the get go, and the resources, it is unclear how effectively it would work.

Finally, Bush is one of the worst executives in history.  He is in love with his own myth:  the down to brass tacks, no nonsense, straight-talking, brave commander-in-chief.  He lies to himself.  His largely unconfrontational personality coupled with the perfect storm of persuasive bureaucrats such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell or Tenet created a culture of exclusion.  The alienation of leaving people out of the loop created tensions and frayed his administration.  There is one decisive reason for this: the president was exceptionally lazy.  Not lazy physically, lazy intellectually.  He didn’t want to be president.  He wanted to play president.  He wanted to make big decisions.  He didn’t want to get bogged down in details.  He wanted to look people in the eye, see their soul, and trust his gut.  In the short term, it is Bush’s failure.  However, in the long view, it is America’s failure.  This legacy will be passed onto the next president and the repercussions will be laid at the feet of future generations of Americans.  There is no way history will judge anyone kindly in this debacle, including the American people.

Blog at