US Attorney firings: symbolic of the real "Bush Doctrine"

Saturday, March 03, 2007 at 05:36 PM

The White House and most Republicans would like the nation to believe that the "Bush Doctrine" consists of a commitment to preemptive attacks on those who would attack us, combined with a policy of treating nations who "harbor terrorists" the same as terrorists themselves." Bull.

That's a doctrine thought up to explain the decision to start a war in Iraq for a variety of reasons, almost none of which directly involved fighting terrorism. It's no more a doctrine than "let's kick some butt" is a doctrine.

But there is a real Bush Doctrine, and it recently reared its nasty, partisan head in the form of the firing of several US Attorneys in the middle of their term of office, and during the term of office of the President who had appointed them.

The real doctrine: Politics is More Important than Anything Else. That's why you have the administration placing political operatives in every federal agency to "review" whether that agency's policies and rules comport with administration policy. That's why you have years of appointing low lifes, incompetents, and thieves to high positions in federal agencies--these unqualified "servants" served not the interests of the public but the interests of the White House.

Now we get the US Attorney Firings. Why, if you believe the initial White House response to the furor, these people were fired for "poor performance." Nothing untoward here, citizens of America, we just want to have the best people possible in these jobs. And no, absolutely not, the White House played no role in deciding who should go. But...

As usual, the evidence didn't fit the explanation. All or most of the fired US Attorneys, in fact, had received good reviews. Then the stories slowly began surfacing: one fired Attorney had prosecuted ex-Congressman Cunningham. Another Attorney reported having been contacted by two members of Congress wanting him to investigate a prominent Democrat before the last election, when the bad publicity might have done "the party" some good. The Attorney declined...the Attorney was fired.

And on it goes. Until we hit today, when:

The NY Times editorialized that the White House needed to come clean on the issue, and

The Washington Post reported that the administration had, in fact, approved of the firings, and that a major reason for the firings was the Attorneys' acknowledged that the real reason for the firings was that "senior Justice Department officials identified the prosecutors they believed were not doing enough to carry out President Bush's policies on immigration, firearms and other issues."

Ah, Soviet Russia couldn't have done it better, could it? Put the little apparatchiks in place, get the entire system worried about the ever present Party enforcer, and watch the system crumble in direct correlation to the power of the party.

For future reference: Definition of apparatchik:

A member of a Communist apparat. An unquestioningly loyal subordinate, especially of a political leader or organization.

[Russian, from apparat, apparat; see apparat.]

Illustration: see any Bush appointee, any Bush governmental department, any Bush public appearance, any Bush....