The Empire Strikes Back

by Clifford D. May

Here’s the lede of former Powell Chief-of-Staff Lawrence Wilkerson’s op-ed in today’s LA Times:

“In President Bush’s first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. national security — including vital decisions about postwar Iraq — were made by a secretive, little-known cabal. It was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.”

Imagine: a “cabal” led by such “little-known” figures as the Vice President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense, reporting to the President of the United States.

Doesn’t everyone know that important decisions are not meant to be made by such short-timers? They are meant to be made by a “cabal” of career bureaucrats in the bowels of Foggy Bottom and Langley.

Future presidential aspirants take note: If elected you will be allowed to read speeches and pardon turkeys at Thanksgiving.

You will not be allowed to make policies or, especially, to change policies. Many people have their careers invested in policies and whether those policies have succeeded or failed is beside the point.

And what is the point? That those polices are their policies and when you criticize or abandon those policies you hurt people’s feelings and diminish their self-esteem.

The job of the President is not to do that. The job of the President is to do what the bureaucrats tell you to do. And if you do not, they will get even.

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