Monday, January 24, 2005

Ballgowns and Hospital Gowns

Without Reservation
A biweekly column by Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col. USAF (ret.)
Ballgowns and Hospital Gowns
Looking forward to a gala second inaugural ball, Mr. Bush is one happy man.
The administration has many things to celebrate.  No – none, nada, zilch – weapons of mass destruction or programs producing them were ever found in Iraq, despite literally hundreds of White House promoted statements about dangerous weapons, weapons systems, weapons stockpiles, weapons technologies, gases, diseases – the list goes on.
Isn't that a good thing? Most of the world's intelligence gathering agencies, including many parts of our own, as well as thinking people everywhere, looked upon the administration's statements in 2002 and 2003 with healthy skepticism. These observers were proven correct, of course.
It is indeed a happy time. A few weeks after the President called off the search for WMD in Iraq he announced that there was "no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath."
Instead, the President believes that his administration already had an "accountability moment." Please, no blinking! That moment was the re-election of George W. Bush.
He's right, of course. While only slightly over half of the votes last November went to George W. Bush, and less than half of Americans today believe the war in Iraq was either necessary, prudent or in America's interest, I recall a time in late 2002 and early 2003 when I was still in the Pentagon reading the news, the policy papers and watching the President, Vice-President, Secretaries Rumsfeld and Powell wax eloquent on, well, all those things of which we no longer speak.
Americans were all too willing to trust those men in suits, armed as they were with a willingness to say anything, to justify anything, and an agenda on Iraq that to this day they are unwilling to share publicly.
• A need to permanently shift the American military presence from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even Turkey into a perfectly located Iraq, using long-term leases signed with the Iraqi puppet government to permit their construction.
• A desire to "Do It Their Way" in the inevitable post-sanctions Iraq investment free-for-all, something stubborn former ally Saddam Hussein would have never permitted.
• A need for oil to remain dominantly a dollar commodity, something Saddam Hussein quietly undermined with his switch to the euro in November 2000. After Bush toppled Saddam Hussein, his first executive order on Iraq switched it back.
But that's all so 2002 and 2003. It's time to celebrate! As ballrooms and parade grounds are prepared and decorated, funded by hundreds of donors interested in a lot more of what George W. Bush can deliver (Iraq as the perfect bling bling), the "moment of accountability" has come and gone. The administration passed with flying colors, and none of the miscreants lost their job.....