Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Commonweal Editors

Beleaguered is the polite word now most often used to describe the Bush administration. Yet making sense of the administration’s failures requires stronger language. As the events and revelations of the last few weeks remind us, almost nothing this administration does works and almost nothing it says adds up.

What is one to make of the deplorable treatment of wounded and damaged Iraq war veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center? How could an administration that endlessly boasts of its “support for the troops” allow those who have paid the highest price for this unnecessary war to be neglected in this way? Evidently, similar problems pervade the military health-care system. Veterans Administration hospitals, which under the Clinton administration were models of what good government stewardship could accomplish, are now also in disarray. Like everything else associated with the Iraq debacle, the military medical system was simply not equipped to deal with the unintended consequences of the war, namely the tens of thousands of severely traumatized soldiers who will require decades of care. Some generals have been fired, and a bipartisan commission has been established to investigate the scandal, but this should not distract attention from the fact that the buck stops in the White House.

A rare moment of accountability occurred in the conviction of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Libby lied to FBI agents and to a grand jury investigating the administration’s efforts to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of the administration’s unfounded claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The legal issues of the case, which initially involved an investigation into the “outing” of Wilson’s wife as a CIA agent, were far from clear, and Wilson himself is no paragon of truthfulness. What is undeniable, though, is that Libby lied about his role in the administration’s feverish effort to smear an opponent of the war.

Contineud on Commonweal site.


Post a Comment

<< Home