Thursday, May 31, 2007

"We have met the enemy and he is us"

When the late, great Walt Kelly famously and hilariously tweaked Commodore Perry's quote, I'm sure he was thinking about the U.S. gummint. Walt Kelly had a cynical outlook on the gummint (but not so much on the basic goodness of people), but is it really cynical to fail to predict the rise of such malevolent incompetence as the Dubya maladministration?

In the spirit of (the also sadly missed) Billmon, I give you this.

That was then:
The inspectors themselves have concluded that Iraq failed to make a serious effort to respond to this information that the world has required. Inspections that the IAEA conducted, which the IAEA, per their rights under the U.N. resolution, asked to be conducted in private without any Iraqi minders were rejected. The inspections could only take place if Iraqi minders were in the room -- hardly a welcoming environment if anybody has information that they want to share.
This is now:
Robert L. Wilkie , a former Bush administration national security official who left the White House to become assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs last year, has outlined a half-dozen guidelines that prohibit most officers below the rank of colonel from appearing in hearings, restricting testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush.

The guidelines, described in an April 19 memo to the staff director of the House Armed Services Committee, adds that all field-level officers and enlisted personnel must be "deemed appropriate" by the Department of Defense before they can participate in personal briefings for members of Congress or their staffs; in addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded.

Wilkie's memo also stipulated that any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his top-level aides.

How far we've come....


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