The top dogs in the Bush administration operate, not in a bubble, but in a separate political solar system where the usual rules of gravity don’t apply. It’s a world where double-speak is the lingua franca, you can fail more times than a New Orleans levee, and say things that are patently untrue with little risk of blowback. If we held the CEO-in-Chief and his executive staff to the same standards as the faceless middle managers at GM, the whole lot of them would be out on the street begging alms for the inept.
A new report on an old scandal suggests there’s one more reason Donald Dumbsfeld should be leading the shopping trip for tin cups.
Over the past few years a scandal has brewed over a $30 billion Air Force contract to lease several hundred Boeing tanker aircraft that DoD’s own experts said weren’t necessary.
When the story originally broke, investigations showed that a Pentagon procurement honcho had jumped ship for a high-paying Boeing job that smelled strongly of (s)quid pro quo and assorted other fishes. As a result, the Pentagon canceled the contract, several Pentagoners resigned – er, left to take on new challenges – and Boeing ousted CEO Phil Condit this and other ethics-challenged transgressions. But eventually, the dust settled and Rummy went back to once again confusing the nation.
As a follow-up, investigators from the Pentagon’s Inspector General office asked Rummy a few questions about the deal. But before beginning, they took an unusual step in the plethora of Bush administration corruption and incompetence investigations so far – they swore him in.
While his swearing-in may have been unusual, Rummy’s stance on it was vintage Bush League. “I find it strange the laws apply to me,” Rummy said as they got started.
In further testimony, Rummy apparently succumbed to the same strange wave of amnesia that overtook Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. Rumsfeld reportedly, “made clear that he does wars, not defense procurement” and “couldn’t recollect details of what subordinates told him about the tanker lease or what he said to them.”
Damn that vile amnesia! A cure must be found!
When asked if he’d approved the contract, Rumsfeld reportedly said, “I don’t remember approving it. But I certainly don’t remember not approving it, if you will.” He continued his extended non-sequitur with, “I may very well have said yes. I just don’t remember. I am not going to sit here and quibble over it.”
Quibble?! Rummy must live in quite rarefied air indeed when he thinks $30 billion constitutes a “quibble”.
The Great Pentagon Streamliner then chugged on with his version of the famed Twinkie Defense, “Basically I spend an overwhelming portion of my time with the combatant commanders and functioning as the link between the president . . . and the combatant commanders conducting the wars.” In other words, “I was busy fighting the war for the Generals because they’re obviously too inept to do it without my esteemed help.”
This seems an odd attitude for a guy who claims relations between him and the Generals are just hunky dory. Apparently these are different Generals than the agressive ones of my acquaintance, who usually don’t suffer fools or foolish Secretaries gladly.
The investigators reportedly continued to press him on several of his fuzzy recollections before he finally resorted to the last-stand defense of nimrods and Bushites, the “it’s not my fault” defense.
Rummy whined that because of actions by lawmakers, “We have practically no one left on the civilian side of the Air Force. And the damage that was done by the way this was handled has been terrible.” He quickly followed this with a backhanded compliment that simultaneously indicted him while sucking up to the very people he’d just faulted. He said it was fortunate the lease didn’t go through because, “people in the Senate and others, whistleblowers, or whoever did what they did.” A case of it’s not my fault, but bravo for the ninnies who caused it for saving my myopic, generously wrinkled ass.
But, the article reveals one last tidbit that may be the most delicious of the whole sorted affair. Rummy once posted a list of “Rumsfeld’s Rules” that he prided himself and his organization on following. Today, one of the rules now seems fantastically prophetic, “Be precise – a lack of precision is dangerous.”
Indeed Don, indeed.