Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Finger Pointing

When I was small, and something happened in my house, there was no question as to who the "perp" was, it was I. As an almost only child, (one brother 13 years older than I), I stood out like a sore thumb. When my own children were little, a woman named "Ida Know" moved in with us. Ida was guilty of some pretty serious stuff. Not only have my grandchildren gone an looked old Ida up, and invited her back, they also seem to believe that whomever is not around, when the mischief takes place, is the one to shoulder the blame.

This all sounds vaguely like our current administration, with one exception. In the first instance, I am speaking about small children, learning to make their way in the world, learning to accept responsibility for their actions, and telling the truth, a part of the growing up process. The second group are those who should have left this sort of behavior behind when they left home for college. Then again, some never do grow up and will blame anyone if it means not taking responsibility for one's own actions. I really expected to hear Mr Cheney blame the quail for his missed shot. "If the blasted bird had flushed up to the right instead of the left I would have nailed him! Must have been a G..D... liberal bird it headed left! Har, har, har!" However that particular scenario played out, I do think it is time for Mr. Cheney to visit the optometrist.

But have we had anyone in this administration with the decency to say they take the blame for so many wrong moves? No. The most we have gotten was a gaggle of fingers all pointing in opposite directions, sometimes even at us, as being solely responsible for the latest SNAFU. So far, the only ones who have, are those who were willing to admit their mistakes, or lack of judgement, and have departed just as the fickle finger of fate was swinging around towards them. And the mantra, from those who stay solidly rooted in Camp Bush, has been, "disgruntled employee". Bush cheerleaders will give you any number of reasons why this or that particular employee was the one responsible for the ineptitude. It always seems to be someone, on a lower ladder rung, who has taken off and done something without the boss' knowledge. And boy are they quick to point that finger, all the while exclaiming, loudly... I had no idea!...I will have to check that out...I will check with the [insert name here] about that.

The powers that be totally ignored the red flags of 9/11, and Richard Clarke, the man, who in the past two administrations (Bush I and Clinton) was known as the Terrorism Czar, was labeled a disgruntled employee because Bush had not seen fit to include his position as a Cabinet post any longer. In hindsight, Mr. Clarke was right, but you never heard that, what you got, instead, was a video loop of Condi Rice saying "mushroom cloud", and an administration saying that Clarke had no idea what he was talking about. At least he apologized, even after he was out of the loop entirely, and his life as a dedicated public servant had been marginalized by the neo-cons. Please remember that Richard Clarke was a man dedicated to protecting this country, our country, his country, and he had managed to be respected enough in his position by both previous administrations. Disgruntled? No. Frustrated with the ineptitude and disinterest in what he tried to warn about? Yes.

Hans Blix, the man who knew Iraq like the back of his hand, said, there are no WMD's. This was someone who had spent a great deal of his time looking in hidey holes, just so he could state that there were none. Well, says Bush & Co., he has had to have overlooked something because we have Colin Powell and he has pictures, and a picture is worth a thousand words, no? And when in truth no WMD's were found, it was not, "oops, we are sorry, we were mistaken, we misspoke," it was blame the CIA, FBI and Hans Blix day down at the ranch. Colin Powell refused to play the blame game any more. Even though I had already lost the respect I once had for the man, he had the decency to fade away, and to take, what remained of his good, name with him, never pointing a finger.

And what can one say about Joe Wilson? America's answer to James Bond. Here was a man who had had a stellar diplomatic career (1976-1998), who was the last American Diplomat in Iraq in the lead up to the Gulf War ( under Bush I) and had, himself, publicly defied Saddam Hussein. His specialty was Africa and so seemed a good fit to be sent to Niger to check out the yellow cake story. We may never know who's idea it was for Mr. Wilson to go to Niger (the blame game again here folks...lots of fingers pointed) but in fact his report back to the Bush White House did not tie into their plans and so it was now "get Wilson" time. We may also never know who exactly it was who "outed" CIA operative Valerie Plame, a/k/a Mrs. Joe Wilson, but to have done so was definitely a crime of the highest order. More fingers have been pointed in the Plame/Wilson affair then in any other. Several reporters spent some jail time when the finger pointed in their direction. Suddenly, the fox was getting too close to the hen house, so this became a double sacrifice. A covert CIA agent and a, just high enough, White House official to satisfy those demanding an answer. I "Scooter" Libby fit the bill and, so Scoooter, this finger is for you!

Those are just a few examples, the better known ones for sure, of how this administration is capable of twisting information for their benefit, and the disinformation they have foisted on us, supposedly for ours. So why the citizenry is not more outraged over Bush tactics and is not responding, I do not know. I do know it is easy enough to spot the child who is telling an "untruth" They shuffle their feet, some blush, they stutter and stammer, they are quick to point the finger towards another, hence giving themselves away. This administration resembles children running amok in a world of adult enablers.

With most children, there comes a day, if you are really lucky, that the finger they point is towards themselves. They have grown up.

Susan B. Goodwin

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.—Samuel Adams