Feb 27, 2006
The Bush administration has come under increasing attack, with much of the damage coming from within, inflicted by high officials who had just left the administration and the state apparatus.
In early February, Paul R. Pillar, who was the CIA’s National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, wrote a blistering critique of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war in Iraq in Foreign Affairs, the most prestigious foreign policy journal in the country. Pillar accused the Bush administration of twisting what the CIA was telling it in the period leading up to the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq, and outright lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Iraqi ties with terrorists. Pillar also accused the Bush administration of ignoring CIA warnings about all the risks of getting bogged down in a long war in Iraq.
A couple of weeks later, Alberto J. Mora, the recently retired general counsel of the United States Navy with close and longstanding ties to the Republican Party, gave an extensive interview to the New Yorker magazine in order to denounce the torture of the prisoners held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay as being “unlawful,” “appalling,” and “abusive.”
At about the same time, in Congressional testimony, Michael Brown, the former head of FEMA, denounced how the Bush administration handled Hurricane Katrina. Among other things, Brown claimed that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, was so “disengaged” that briefing Chertoff during the crisis would have been a “waste of time.”
Finally, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald revealed that Lewis “Scooter” Libby testified to a federal grand jury that he had been “authorized” by his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, and other White House “superiors” in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence. There was little doubt that the “superiors” referred to were Cheney and Bush.
Bush is coming under attack on another front. The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently investigating the NSA domestic spying scandal that broke in December, a scandal that came about because high officials in the NSA and the U.S. Justice Department gave information to the press. As Arlen Specter, the Republican head of the committee carrying out the investigation, has said, this investigation holds open the possibility of impeaching Bush, even if it is still only distant.
Obviously, there are many reasons for these attacks – including the usual settling of accounts and power struggles between rivals. But what makes the Bush administration so much more vulnerable to these attacks is the fact that its policies, starting with the Iraq war and its handling of the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, have led to such disasters for those it is supposed to be serving, the U.S. bourgeoisie. For example, the U.S. war in Iraq has created such instability in Iraq that it could spread to neighboring countries, endangering the hold of dictatorships closely tied to the U.S. that are already very fragile. Thus, instead of consolidating the U.S. hold over this vital region and buttressing U.S.-sponsored regimes, the Bush administration’s policies aggravate the situation and create many more problems for U.S. imperialism.
Of course, the first purpose of these attacks by former high officials is not to drive the Bush administration formally from office, but to make it act like most elected officials: as figureheads who let professionals in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA, NSA, etc. set policy and carry it out.
While it might be gratifying to see Bush and Cheney finally come under attack, those who are doing the attacking do not in any way represent the interests of working people. After all, what they are proposing is nothing but a better and more efficient way to uphold the interests of the U.S. ruling class both abroad and at home. That is, they are defending the same ruling class that is attacking workers in this country, taking our jobs, pay and benefits, while cutting the few social programs left, like education and health care, that still serve working people.