Sunday, September 17, 2006

What the Bush administration is all about

Cronyism above all else:

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .

(HT: Digby) One common theme of this administration is that politics trumps competence ALWAYS. Katrina, Iraq, the FDA, judicial appointments, you name it. My contempt and loathing for this administration is very high.

Update: Billmon is on this story:
Chandrasekaran's article [quoted above] is taken from his new book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, which is definitely a great title as well as a great gag ("This doesn't look like Kansas, Toto!") I wish I'd thought of it. The book appears to be part of a trend on the part of the Washington Post and its reporters to tell the paper's readers all the things they badly needed to know three years ago about the conduct of the Iraq War.

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