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Friday, November 17, 2006

Tomgram: Will Daddy's Boys Extend the War?


No Exit?

What It Means to "Salvage U.S. Prestige" in Iraq
By Tom Engelhardt

Things are always complicated. In the Washington Post, for instance, James Mann, author of Rise of the Vulcans recently suggested that it was far "too simplistic" to claim "the appointment of Robert M. Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld [represents] the triumph of Bush the Father's administration over Bush the Son's."

Still, I prefer the analysis of Washington Post reporter (and author of Fiasco) Thomas Ricks. When asked by the Post's media columnist Howard Kurtz whether a Newsweek headline, "Father knows best," was just "an easy, cheap Oedipal way for the press to characterize what's going on," Ricks replied: "Well, just because it's easy and cheap doesn't mean it's wrong."

At a moment when every version of the dramatic arrival of James A. Baker III and Robert Gates on the scene -- and the scuttling of Rumsfeld's Titanic -- is at least suspect, it's still worth considering the bare bones of what can be seen and known -- and then asking what we have.

Sooner or later, failure has a way of stripping most of us of our dreams and pretensions. So let's start with a tiny history of failure. George W. Bush's life trajectory of failing upward has had a rhythm to it -- and a rubric, "crony capitalism." Daddy's friends and contacts helped him into and -- after he failed -- out of the oil business, into and out of the baseball business, into and now, it seems, out of the failed game of global politics. His is, as the Boston Globe's Michael Kranish and John Aloysius Farrell put it back in 2002, "the story of a man who struck out numerous times before being bailed out by big hitters who often were family members, friends, or supporters of his father."

It's appropriate, then, that the man who bailed him out in Florida when he essentially lost the presidency in 2000, Bush family consigliere James A. Baker III, would reappear six years later, in the wake of another failed election, to bail him out again now that he's screwed up the oil heartlands of the planet. Daddy -- we're talking here about former President George H.W. Bush -- has three adopted boys: His former National Security Advisor (and alter ego) Brent Scowcroft, who went into opposition to the younger Bush's Iraq policy even before the invasion of 2003 and now lurks quietly in the wings; his former CIA Director Robert Gates; and Baker.

Like Daddy, Gates was deeply involved in, but never indicted for his dealings in the scurrilous Iran-Contra affair; was later involved in the tilt toward and arming of Saddam's Iraq against Khomeini's Iran, pioneered fertile territory in the late 1980s in terms of manipulating intelligence in the debate over the nature of Gorbachev's Soviet Union, had a hand in the first Gulf War, and most recently held the presidency of Texas A&M, where he was the keeper of the flame for Daddy's library. Could you ask for a better insider CV for taking over the Pentagon from one of Bush elder's rivals in the Gerald Ford era, Donald Rumsfeld.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

3 comment(s):

'father knows best'...oh, that's too good!!!!

i wonder if daddy bush was the brains behind the u.s. buying hundreds of square miles in paraguay, a nation who has recently moved NOT to extradite war criminals? i suppose the south american jet is on standby and the mansions already under construction.

By Anonymous scout, at 3:32 AM  

Whoa, that's an eyeopener. It certainly doesn't give a lot of hope for the ISG strategy - more of the same.

By Anonymous GoodGrief, at 4:56 PM  

Indeed, to both comments!

I must apologize for not replying to all my comments. I'm having probs with blogger & have no time to switch to the new beta right now. For some reason, it doesn't want to post my replies. Please bear with me. thanks & much appreciated! :)

By Blogger Annamarie, at 1:03 AM  

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