Wednesday, November 14, 2007

National Reoccurring Nightmare

Iraq is a place where we are sending our young men and women to kill or be killed by other young men and women. I don't believe we are advancing any kind of freedom or democracy there. Instead, we are merely spending tax-payer money in order to prop up the profit forecasts of several well-connected corporations and industrial alliances. If we were truly concerned about fighting worldwide terrorism, we might have gone ahead and finished the job in Afghanistan, capturing that Osama guy when we had the chance. If we were truly concerned about the spread of Democracy, we might have kept a closer eye on our friends in Pakistan. If we were truly concerned about the sacrifices of our neighbors, we might be doing a better job taking care of them upon here at home.

Every day you can read a gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, or anger-inducing story about blatant incompetence and/or wanton unethical or even criminal behavior on the part of the United States government.

Here go some sparkling rays of sunshine in the news as we speak:

Let's start with blatant incompetence, although there is a lot of wanton criminal behavior involved as well...

Bernard Kerik, (a bff of Rudy Giuliani, former head of the NYPD, and nominee for head of the Dept. of Homeland Security) was indicted last week on a whole slate of charges that pretty much indicate that this guy had no regard for ethics and law. Today a former girlfriend and publisher under the Fox News Corp umbrella was told to lie to investigators about Kerik's behavior because Fox News wants Rudy to be the next President.

That's all just background information that seems to be relevant to me when also considering that Kerik WAS handed a job by the Bush administration before the whole Dept. of HL Security nomination debacle. Kerik was sent to Iraq in 2003 by Mr. The President The George W. Bush and charged with the task of training Iraqi police. Kerik (and Dick Polman does a great profile of this) did a heckuva job. Here's the good stuff from Mr. Polman:

...Kerik gets close scrutiny in Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran's 2006 book,
Imperial Life in the Emerald City. It's not a pretty picture. Kerik was barely off the plane, in that spring of 2003, when he told a State Department official that "the situation (in Iraq) is probably not as bad as people think it is."

The author recounts: "Kerik wasn't a details guy...Kerik's first order of business, less than a week after he arrived, was to give a slew of interviews saying the situation was improving. He told the Associated Press that security in Baghdad 'is not as bad as I thought. Are bad things going on? Yes. But is it out of control? No. Is it getting better? Yes.' He went on NBC's Today show to pronounce the situation 'better than I expected.'"

Kerik was so busy going out on late-night raids (which was not part of his job) that he couldn't function in daylight (when he was supposed to do his job). As the author writes, "the all nighters meant Kerik wasn't around to supervise the Interior Ministry during the day. He was sleeping."

More from the book: "Kerik held only two staff meetings while in Iraq, one when he arrived and the other when he was being shadowed by a New York Times reporter...Despite his White House connections, Kerik did not secure funding for the desperately needed police advisers...'He was the wrong guy at the wrong time,' (an American official) said later. 'Bernie didn't have the skills.'"

By the way, there's a fitting epilogue to the Bernie adventure in Iraq. Upon his return to America after only three months, having done little to train anybody, he was warmly welcomed at the White House, on Oct. 3, 2003, with these words of presidential praise: "He showed up (in Iraq) at times of chaos and confusion. Because of his leadership, his knowledge, and his experience, he was able to stand up a police force in Baghdad in a very quick period of time...Bernie went there and made a big difference. And for that our nation is very grateful...We're making great progress...Bernie, you're a good man."

But of course, not only did Mr. Kerik get lauded for doing a terrible job, he was offered an extremely prestigious promotion.

Bush offers top law enforcement position to American Gangster

Now, let's move on to wanton criminal behavior (although there's a lot of incompetence involved)...

Blackwater, as if we didn't believe the other investigations and reports, has now been found to have killed civilians indiscriminately and without justification by our own FBI. Let us all take a moment to feel proud of ourselves that our tax money has gone to a private contract for these guys to act as a rogue agency answerable to nobody in particular.

Of course the murderers involved here may have blanket immunity for some reason. I heard from a little birdie that actually George Bush has decreed that Blackwater HQ be enshrined in gold for their service to Democracy...


Finally, remembering the accolades and benefits thrust upon men like Bernard Kerik, let us now move on to this story: (h/t: Attytood)

I don't feel comfortable chopping it up, here is a link to the full-text from the L.A. Times.

I implore you to read it.

Let's just say that guys like the man in this article are the only ones that have done what they were supposed to do over there. It's a shame that what they were supposed to do ultimately aided an asinine, unethical, and criminally naive foreign policy crafted and implemented by a serial rewarder of blatant incompetence (he's not just the founder of Incompetence Club for Men, he's a customer).

The most heartbreaking aspect of all this is that the real men and women making the real sacrifices get PTSD and a slap on the back while tough guys like Bernard Kerik got promotions, accolades, honors, power, respect, money, sex, and fame.

(Now, at least, he's going to rot in prison, I hope. Watch Bush pardon his ass and give him some candy. Next watch Giulini steal the election in 2008 and then give Bernard Kerik two tanks and the latest machine guns...)


charlotte said...

"Iraq is a place where we are sending our young men to kill or be killed by other young men."

E, E, E! *clucking tongue*

I never expected such a faux pas from a man of your generation!

Women are also sent and also die. The ones who return home missing an arm or leg aren't asked, in admiration, "Did you lose it in the war?" , as men are. Instead they're viewed with revulsion and averted eyes and no one cares how it happened.

Let me know if you amend the sentence and I'll happily read the rest of the post! ;)

E said...

sorry charlotte!!! i was speaking of men in the general mankind sense... the sentence is amended.

charlotte said...

Really good post, E! I read it on my lunch break (precious minutes for me)....aren't you speshul?! You are fast becoming my second go-to for political commentary. Oyster is first....but that could change. *grins*

BTW - my editing consult is a freebie. :)

E said...

once we get famous, you'll get plenty of no-bid editing contracts, charlotte. i really appreciate all of your comments here...