busy week in politics

The prosecutors scandal, Edwards continues his run, and Tom Delay is promoting his book!  But something I didn’t know is that Andrew Cockburn has a new book out about Donald Rumsfeld.  Check out this review in today’s NY Times, and check out the first chapter as well.

In the first chapter there’s a lengthy account of the former Secretary’s actions on 9/11 – an assertion that he "deserted his post" to grandstand amongst the wreckage and the wounded (it’s a bit shrill), and then a telling account of a discussion between Vice President Cheney and the Secretary.  Cheney brags that he’s given orders for the military to "take out" suspicious aircraft, including United 93 (hijacked, but by then crashed in a Pennsylvanis field).  Apparently the military commanders chose not to pass the orders along, because they were simply too vague (an easy mistake for someone without military experience to make).

Rumsfeld finally settled into the command center, and got to work on specifying rules of engagement for the fighter pilots now patrolling the skies.  He completed them hours after the last hijacked died.  And then :

"Later, when asked why he had taken no part in military operations that morning, Rumsfeld blithely insisted that it was not his job. "The Department of Defense," he told the 9/11 Commission in 2004, "did not have responsibility for the borders. It did not have responsibility for the airports … a civilian aircraft was a law enforcement matter to be handled by law enforcement authorities and aviation authorities." Expanding on this theme, he explained that the Defense Department’s only responsibility when a civilian plane was hijacked was to "send up an aircraft and monitor the flight, but certainly in a hijack situation [the military] did not have authority to shoot down a plane that was being hijacked." This statement was flat out untrue, but none of the commissioners dared call him to account. "

So great – now we have confirmation that Rumsfeld was far more successful as a politician and operator, than as a Defense Secretary.  Anyone else find stuff like this depressing?

The Delay book tour has been entertaining.  According to "The Hammer", the Bush administration has "shown their weakness in dismissing Don Rumsfeld".

The prosecutor’s scandal continues to unravel the career of one Alberto Gonzales.  Consensus is shaping up that the AG is probably already cleaning out his office for a departure by the end of the week.  Judging by the length of time it took for the President to secure Rumsfeld’s resignation, this means we only have about 13 months before Gonzales will be asked to resign.

The prosecutor’s scandal has pretty strong legs though.  Not only have people already mentally fired the AG, but the Republicans are beginning to talk about presidential impeachment.  Granted, this is related to Bush’s monumental failure in Iraq, but it never would have happened without he evolving train wreck that we have in office now.

Fellow voters, this is what you get when you confuse things like "charisma" "personal appeal" and "electability" with competence.


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