Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mad Hatter Government

The kind of kids' stuff that has been going on in the U.S. government in all divisions is coming out pretty quickly now that the secrecy of the maladministration has been lifted. A PBS piece on the failures of our 'intelligence' operations to share information with each other - how those failures meant that the FBI had the authority but not the information that should have kept 9-11 operatives from freewheeling activity inside the U.S. - was pretty disheartening.

Today there is a post in WaPo that gives a look inside the military craziness that President Obama has inherited. Things are not going well in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan, and much of it is a result of the same mindset that kept 9/11 terrorist perpetrators from being headed off.

As President Obama prepares to formally authorize the April deployment of two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, perhaps as early as this week, no issue other than the U.S. economy appears as bleak to his administration as the seven-year Afghan war and the regional challenges that surround it.

A flurry of post-inauguration activity -- presidential meetings with top diplomatic and military officials, the appointment of a high-level Afghanistan-Pakistan envoy and the start of a White House-led strategic review -- was designed to show forward motion and resolve, senior administration officials said.

But newly installed officials describe a situation on the ground that is far more precarious than they had anticipated, along with U.S. government departments that are poorly organized to implement the strategic outline that Obama presented last week to his National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Obama has ordered up a plan for diplomatic outreach to Iran and others in the region. Afghanistan and Pakistan are to be treated as a single theater of war and diplomacy, even as stability becomes a higher priority than democracy in Afghanistan and as the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is expanded and deepened.

The administration will also seek a new compact with hesitant European and other partners in the war effort, promising new leadership and focus and expecting more resources and commitment. And Obama wants to get beyond the lip service long paid to balance and coordination between the U.S. diplomatic and military services. (Emphasis added.)

This sounds like the situation in Congress, with progressives calling for jobs and salaries to return health to our consumer economy while the wingers insist that more of the same - reduced taxes on the rich and on business, used to destroy the economy for eight years under winger maladministration - is the means to restore it from that disaster. Sadly, we can depend on the lockstep right wing to follow their pied pipes wherever that may lead. Been there, done that.

The staggering amount of waste that has decimated our economy is reflected in the lack of tactics and planning that have characterized the 'theatre' of war. Last week hearings were held on the waste that has resulted from lack of supervision and fraud. Military projects were almost uniformly unsuccessful in Iraq, as money was thrown at the troops who in turn threw it at contractors that had been hastily assembled to catch the money. Our losses were monumental.

Overall, the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have paid contractors more than $100 billion since 2003 for goods and services to support war operations and rebuilding projects in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Congress created the bipartisan panel a year ago over the objections of the Bush White House, which complained the Justice Department might be forced to disclose sensitive information about investigations.

There are 154 open criminal investigations into allegations of bribery, conflicts of interest, defective products, bid rigging and theft in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, said Gimble, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general.

Indeed, sensitive information was involved, about the insouciance and incompetence used in handling public funds by the executive branch just past. The government has come as close to totally dysfunctional as ever in this country's history. President Obama will try to work with the operatives that were happy with that condition, but he will get nowhere in establishing rational government unless he ignores their diversions and gets back to business.

The country has been led astray in every area, and it is only going to be put back on track by going around or over the agents of ideology at the country's expense.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with you that Obama needs to go over and/or around the obstructionists.

What I would add is that every single agency of the Bush/Cheney administration is 20X more dysfunctional than anyone outside the various government agencies realized and will take more time to figure out.

Perhaps at the end of the day (although not this particular day), the president will say, 'We have made every effort to work with the Republicans in good faith and at every turn they have chosen not to do that, not to contribute, not to veer away from outdated talking points, and not to participate in bipartisanship. It's in the country's best interest that we get to work with or without their assistance, buy-in, or permission.'

Of all of the candidates who ran for president, I do think this particular one has the spine to do this.

--Margaret >

11:35 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Agreed, and I think he's got the commitment to public interest that will make him see that it's his duty to the U.S., and obligation under his oath, to do it.

12:22 PM  
Blogger JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Time is not on President Obama's side. This is a society of now. The right has been blaming Obama for crap long before he was even sworn in. I hope Obama's public relations team has a handle on this.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

I understand that the Rush element started calling this the Obama Depression after elections in November. Anyone who listens to this drivel is so mind dead that there is no place for them but the right wing.

1:39 AM  

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