Daily Archives: June 4, 2004

More on the president’s lawyer

John Dean describes the implications of Bush consulting an outside lawyer on the Plame affair. It’s interesting – and fun!

Now a little personal note: I was a kid in the days of Watergate. My father was a news junkie and he was so happy in those days! We didn’t have a TV, but every morning I’d come downstairs to find him listening to NPR and poring over the paper before he went to work. When Nixon resigned, we were visiting relatives in Norway, staying in a little cabin with no electricity. My father woke up in the middle of the night – responding to some kind of internal political alarm clock – flipped on a battery-operated radio and relished the resignation speech.

My father’s dead now. He died in 1997. About a year ago, I asked my mother about those times and said, “that must have been really fun watching Nixon go down like that!” She replied that it was less fun than I imagined because, although they knew full well that Nixon was lying about everything under the sun and covering up all sorts of crimes, it wasn’t at all clear that he was not going to get away with it. As a result, a lot of it was just infuriating. It didn’t become fun until rather late in the unfolding of the story.

I’m hoping that in the Bush presidency we’re now about to make the transition from infuriating to fun.

Seattle (?)

War on the Cheap

Jesus. I knew it was bad but it didn’t know it had come to this:

[O]n March 19, the night before the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regiment, crossed the Iraqi border, Marines in Fox Company, drawn mainly from Utah and Nevada, learned they would not have armored vehicles equipped with powerful weapons. Instead, they would ride into combat in soft-sided trucks with few heavy arms.

In the days of fighting their way to Baghdad, Davis’ and Lee’s battalion, honored by the Reserve Officers’ Association as the nation’s finest Reserve infantry unit, found they were short on ammunition, hand grenades, signal devices, chemical weapon detectors and heavy guns.

At one point, food became so scarce that gunners held up signs to passing Army combat engineers scrawled with the words “Will Shoot for Food.”

Fox Company also was short on ammunition for its M240 Gulf machine guns, the largest weapon the infantry can carry. There were so few colored signal flares that the company scrapped plans to use them. Some Marines stuffed bullets into their pockets because they had no ammunition pouches. And the company had only 75 hand grenades for its 200 Marines, who are trained to carry two to four grenades each.

The Marines were so famished from hauling around more than 100 pounds of personal gear and digging foxholes that they begged food from passing Army combat engineers. The engineers tossed them extra MREs.Still, Marines picked through trash piles, looking for portions the Army troops hadn’t eaten. They usually found dehydrated cream and sugar packets intact. They gulped down the contents dry or mixed them with water for a concoction of calories and protein.

“We acted like Iraqi children,” said Lance Cpl. Brent Bower of Salt Lake City. “We were hungry.”

Finally, headquarters told the company to eat its humanitarian foodstuffs, which had been held in reserve for the Iraqis.

Donald Rumsfeld should be shot. Not impeached, not fired. Shot. At dawn by a firing squad of Marines from Iraq.

Unbelievable. There are no words for this. To send troops into battle without equipment or food. No excuse. No forgiveness.

Read the rest. You need to know how bad it was (is) and the excerpts only scratch the surface of what’s reported in the piece. It was even worse than that. Much worse.

I can’t go on.

(Link from Phaedrus)

The Myth of Corporate-Style Governing 7: Supporting Document

Somebody else has caught on.

Kathy at Random Thoughts has an excellent post up in which she analyzes Bush’s management style and finds it’s–ta da!–corporate. And a particular kind of corporate.

My impression of the work culture he creates is that it’s highly structured, unforgiving, and authoritarian. It seems to be the kind of place where what matters is completing your assignment and not making sure it’s the right assignment to complete. More secretarial than executive. It seems to be the kind of place where everyone absolutely understands the status of everyone else. It reminds me of the NY corporate environment I once inhabited.That was a place where you measured status by office location, decor, company-paid magazine subscriptions, whether you were on the To or CC line of a memo, what meetings you attended (or didn’t), how technically illiterate you were (the more illiterate, the higher the level), and where you ate lunch. It was an environment where the question “why” couldn’t be asked at all until you were at a specific executive level, where results mattered more than methods as long as methods that skirted the ethical line weren’t disclosed. It was a place where more attention was paid to being in the office at 8:30 than accomplishing anything once you got there. It was a place where process mattered more than product and the inevitable product failure was blamed on uncontrollable external forces. It was a place where competitors were reviled and disrespected and all was fair in the effort to win. It was a place where bad news was held back in the hopes that it could be dealt with before it got communicated upwards, where executive incompetence was accomodated instead of confronted. It was a place where no-one dared tell the president he was wrong.

Gloriosky, Sandy, but that sounds just like…. No, it couldn’t be.

But it is, of course. Kathy has written a concise and spot-on description of the way this Administration functions, and she lays it right at the door where it belongs, a door that opens onto a certain kind of corporate management style: the prevailing one. Halliburton’s.


The President’s Lawyer

This is a criminal matter. It’s a serious matter. I met with an attorney to determine whether or not I need his advice, and if I deem I need his advice I’ll probably hire him.

Josh Marshall translates:
The president ‘consulted’ Jim Sharp to advise him on whether or not he needs Sharp’s advice. And based on that advice, if the president decides he does need Sharp’s advice, he’ll probably retain him so he can get the advice.

Got it?