The administration that knew too little, until proved otherwise

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 11:39 AM

The one thing you can count on from our President and his staff is the zealous ducking of responsibility.  Who could have known that there wasn't a nuclear weapon program in Iraq?  Who could have predicted the Iraqi insurgency?  Who in the world thought we'd need many more troops?  Surely you can't blame us for not predicting the disaster in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina.

One by one these claims have been shown to be bogus, and today's Washington Post has a story debunking the Hurricane Katrina dodge.

According to the Post piece:
"In the 48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, the White House received detailed warnings about the storm's likely impact, including eerily prescient predictions of breached levees, massive flooding, and major losses of life and property, documents show.

"A 41-page assessment by the Department of Homeland Security's National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), was delivered by e-mail to the White House's "situation room," the nerve center where crises are handled, at 1:47 a.m. on Aug. 29, the day the storm hit, according to an e-mail cover sheet accompanying the document."

This follows extremely good evidence, from military people who were involved in planning the Iraq war, that they not only could foresee the insurgency, the need for more troops, etc., but that they had foreseen them and brought them to the attention of the administration.  See the prior WTW story.

The hints of a nuclear Iraq have been shown to be bogus as long ago as March of 2003 by Seymour Hersh, and again in July, 2003 by Joe Wilson.

So what have we here (and I can't believe how often that question occurs to me these days)?  We have an administration that pretty clearly cooks the evidence to produce the conclusion it wanted before it ever saw the evidence.  We have an administration that is immensely incompetent, at least partly because of its commitment to appointing con men (See Steve Griles, David Safavian) and hacks (see Michael Brown) to positions of real responsibility.

And I fear it goes deeper.  I fear that what we have here is people in high positions who deride the very foundations of civil society--things like the Geneva Convention, and, by some reports, the Constitution itself.  People whose commitment to the principles of democracy is as shallow as their understanding of history and economics and justice, and...just about everything you should know before you are qualified to govern the country.  People whose view is as short sighted as it is shallow.

People who could easily bring this country to disaster, all while shouting patriotic slogans and reviling their opponents for ignorance.

It's been a lousy century so far.