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Crappy And Crappier
Our choices in the current presidential election, that is. Jesse Walker writes in Reason of "Ten Reasons To Fire George W. Bush, and nine reasons why Kerry won't be much better." For example:

1. The war in Iraq. Over a thousand soldiers and counting have died to subdue a country that was never a threat to the United States. Now we're trapped in an open-ended conflict against a hydra-headed enemy, while terrorism around the world actually increases.

One of the silliest arguments for the invasion held that our presence in Iraq was a "flypaper" attracting the world's terrorists to one distant spot. At this point, it's pretty clear that if there's a flypaper in Baghdad, the biggest bug that's stuck to it is the U.S.A.

4. The culture of secrecy. The Bush administration has nearly doubled the number of classified documents. It has urged agencies, in effect, to refuse as many Freedom of Information Act requests as possible, has invoked executive privilege whenever it can, and has been very free with the redactor's black marker when it does release some information. Obviously, it's impossible to tell how often the data being concealed is genuinely relevant to national security and how often it has more to do with covering a bureaucrat's behind. But there's obviously a lot of ass-covering going on.

And even when security is a real issue, all this secrecy doesn't make sense. Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration tried to retroactively restrict two pages of public congressional testimony that had revealed how its undercover agents managed to smuggle some guns past screeners. Presumably they were afraid a terrorist would read about it and try the method himselfbut it would have made a lot more sense to seek some outsiders' input on how to resolve the putative problem than to try to hide it from our prying eyes. Especially when the information had already been sitting in the public record.

The administration has been quick to enforce its code of silence, regularly retaliating against those within its ranks who try to offer an independent perspective on its policies. While the most infamous examples of this involve international affairs, the purest episode may be the case of chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster, who apparently was threatened with dismissal if he told Congress the real projected cost of Bush's Medicare bill. Even if the White House didn't know about the threatand I strongly suspect that it didit created the organizational culture that allows such bullying to thrive.

Sad that McCain, who does have his faults, but at least seems to have integrity, isn't running.

Posted by aalkon at July 15, 2004 8:42 AM


McCain's integrity is rapidly running out cause he is running around stumping for Bush. Feh

Posted by: Cat at July 16, 2004 11:52 PM