Insult To Injury

As floodwaters begin to recede from New Orleans, the bloated, rotting corpses of thousands of Hurricane Katrina’s most obvious victims are not the only ghastly elements of the disaster surfacing. For any who care, nay, dare to look, the callousness, megalomania, and utter incompetence of the Bush Administration has also shown itself in all its criminal wretchedness. And while Karl Rove and a host of the nation’s genteel lawmakers have decreed that what happened in the City that Care Forgot during the past week was either the fault of local politicians, or nothing for which anyone should point fingers in blame, the truth of the matter is that the President should turn in his scorecard and head for the 19th Hole.

The State of Louisiana has a long, proud history of taking its statehood in our republic quite seriously. It stands alone, perhaps, in trandscending the onslaught of fast food chains, big lot supercenters, and branded consumerism that renders such homogeneity to so many of our blessed United States. Since before the founding of the nation, Louisiana has nourished and preserved –and neglected and poisoned– a culture at once connected to and distinct from anything one thinks of today as American.

No city outside New York or Los Angeles can match New Orleans in any matrix counting cuisine, music, eccentricity, debauchery, danger, and style.

But none of that, leaving aside the actual poor, black, drug-addled lowlifes, misfits, old people, and helpless children who suffered and perished with Katrina, none of the real interests at stake mattered to George W. Bush when time came to act.

One presumes he himself had little understanding of the matter, and was more than happy to play golf when Mr. Rove and Mr. Cheney said it would be fine, but Mr. Bush ought to be held accountable anyway, for holding New Orleans and Lousiana hostage to a policy of abdicating all responsibility outside absolute fealty to federal control.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency three days before the hurricane made landfall and was presented by White House lawyers (our future John Robertses) with a take-it-or-leave-it proposition that would have had her abdicate immediate and total control of state and local authority to the federal government. She demurred, and Dubya teed it up.

That was fine with him, since his administration had been long-gone from the disaster reponse business anyway.

Mr. Bush took a cabinet-level position with its own distinct mission and a stellar record of having shown the country its best intentions and brightest ideas after events like the Midwest Floods of ’93, the Northridge Earthquake of ’94, and the OK City bombing of ’95, and folded it into the massive bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security. He reduced the Directorship of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a position fit for a man who failed to effectively manage a horse breeding association, and was known around the White House as “Brownie.”

Now comes Mississippi Republican Senator Trent Lott, saying things are “never perfect after a natural disaster,” graciously ceding his antebellum home in Pascagoula, MS for the team.

John Cornyn, the Republican from Texas says, “The last thing we need to do is to drag the secretary of Homeland Security and the director of FEMA in.” Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida allows “There will be plenty of time … to pick over the bones,” and the Republican from Montana, Conrad Burns, reminds us “We are burning a lot of money down there, we are going to ask for a little more accountability for how that money is being spent and where it is going.”

While this administration has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in the last several years fomenting terrorism and anti-american sentiment abroad, real live Americans have been ignored and short-changed at home. Now we’ve exposed our willingness to sacrifice our most vulnerable, discount our most unique, and extort our most damaged in pursuit of some caricature of a God-fearing, sober, soldier of Good in the War against Evil.

Mr. Bush has turned a federal government that once prepared to defend its citizens into one prepared now only to dominate or abandon us.


  1. Bubbles - September 7, 2005 @ 12:00 pm

    Here’s an interesting link that I think its safe to call – ’20 things you never hear from the right wing media’.

  2. meredith - September 7, 2005 @ 12:34 pm

    as I read this lastest , “I just have to say,” Leonard Cohen on my iTunes sings “I don’t believe in an interventionist God.” precisely as I was thinking. Since the God so often referred to as in charge by the guys in charge could not have such horredous aim. Though if God were to turn up I would hope that H/She would quickly rewrite the commandments putting hipocracy at the top of the no-no list and then punish its offenders accordingly.Then I would advise all of the poor, black, innocent DC dwellers to put on water skis and get ready to ride.

  3. MIKE JOHNSTON - September 7, 2005 @ 5:19 pm

    I have a great idea for all you bush bashers! get the f*ck out and go live in Canada! im tired of pathetic sites like this!

  4. lonbud - September 7, 2005 @ 6:10 pm

    What’s pathetic, Mike, is your inability to engage opinions and viewpoints different from your own without resorting to profanity or suggesting those who agree with you are the only ones with any right to live in America.

    Ever wonder why so few Right-wing blogs even allow comments, while those operated by people like me are free and open to the commentary of any flipping bozo who happens along?

    The power of ideas built this country, chief, and the power of ideas will end up saving it from yahoos like you and your Connecticut Cowboy hero. Him we should put in prison; you we’ll leave to the ridicule of your fellow citizens.

    Y’all come back, now. Y’hear?

  5. Bubbles - September 7, 2005 @ 11:44 pm

    Hey Mike, tell me, did you watch a lot of hockey between 92′ and 2000?

  6. Michael Herdegen - September 8, 2005 @ 1:09 am

    From Jim Miller on Politics:

    In December of 1995, the Orleans Levee Board, the local government entity that oversees the levees and floodgates designed to protect New Orleans and the surrounding areas from rising waters, bragged in a supplement to the Times-Picayune newspaper about federal money received to protect the region from hurricanes.

    “In the past four years, the Orleans Levee Board has built up its arsenal. The additional defenses are so critical that Levee Commissioners marched into Congress and brought back almost $60 million to help pay for protection,” the pamphlet declared. “The most ambitious flood-fighting plan in generations was drafted. An unprecedented $140 million building campaign launched 41 projects.”
    . . .
    But less than a year later, that same levee board was denied the authority to refinance its debts. Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle “repeatedly faulted the Levee Board for the way it awards contracts, spends money and ignores public bid laws,” according to the Times-Picayune.
    . . .
    By 1998, Louisiana’s state government had a $2 billion construction budget, but less than one tenth of one percent of that — $1.98 million — was dedicated to levee improvements in the New Orleans area. State appropriators were able to find $22 million that year to renovate a new home for the Louisiana Supreme Court and $35 million for one phase of an expansion to the New Orleans convention center.
    . . .
    Earlier this year, the levee board did complete a $2.5 million restoration project. After months of delays, officials rolled away fencing to reveal the restored 1962 Mardi Gras fountain in a four-acre park featuring a new 600-foot plaza between famous Lakeshore Drive and the sea wall.

    In other words, the residents of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana essentially squandered their opportunities to avert disaster, even when lavishly funded by the U.S. Congress.

  7. lonbud - September 8, 2005 @ 1:39 am

    all of the corruption and malfeasance and waste and theft that may have –and by all accounts has always– occured at all levels of state and local government in Louisiana and New Orleans does not pre-empt or excuse the actual response to the disaster.

    mother nature, global terrorism, and plain old evil has us by the short ‘n curlies now.

  8. charles rachlis - September 8, 2005 @ 6:55 am

    Not to point fingers but….when John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic establishment signed on to the war against the people of Iraq and the so called “war on terrorism” they gave away the resources needed to protect the “homeland” against natural disaster.

    Share the blame Dems&Repubs criminals all off with their heads remember madame deFarge

  9. Bubbles - September 8, 2005 @ 7:34 am

    Charles, exactly. There’s this thing called the ‘War Powers Act’ that was simply tossed to the wind by all of Congress, and I don’t buy that they were duped. Anyone with a few brain cells to rub together could see what was happening AT THE TIME but in the end there’s one person who made a very bad –strike that– criminal decision and he still swaggers around unaccountable for it.

  10. MIKE JOHNSTON - September 8, 2005 @ 8:47 am

    I think “Bubbles” should be president and “lonbud” should be vice president.

  11. lonbud - September 8, 2005 @ 9:01 am

    no question about the fact that we suffer from bi-partisan failure of leadership and institutionalized neglect. one would hope that a wholesale bloodletting could be avoided, but i don’t see how that’s possible without major course corrections on both the social and foreign policy fronts, along with dedicated re-alignment with natural forces and cycles.

    send campaign contributions to
    POB 8666606
    Washington, DC 20012

  12. Bubbles - September 8, 2005 @ 7:44 pm

    “right but its made me and my friends rich(er) so fuck the rest of ya” – Dick Cheney

  13. Bubbles - September 9, 2005 @ 8:32 am

    2nd best quote of the week can be found here:

    “How can it be,” she asked, “that Mr. Bill was better informed than Mr. Bush?”

    How can it be that so many Republican’s when confronted with a statement like “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees”, can’t just say “that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard”?

    Here is my question for all you lawyers out there; if the appointment of incompetent untrained political cronies to top level government office causes 1000’s of deaths is that criminal negligence?

  14. Paul Burke - September 9, 2005 @ 9:10 am

    It’s criminal negligence and don’t forget conflict of interest. Lobbiest writing the laws while Congress goes off on a travel junket. Delay has dipped under the radar, Rove’s involvement in exposing the CIA agent has dipped under the radar, car bombings in Iraq have dipped under the radar and Katrina takes center stage. Bush might not make it to his eigth year in office. The bodies aren’t only piling up on Burbon Street but at the feet of big W himself. As his racist take care of only the richest 1% policies and decisions come home to roost. If you want to fight fire with fire vote with your pocket books. The polititians are all beholden to the big money that got them elected, paid for their campaigns, marketed them to the public, and smeared their opponents. Join the Expose Exxon Campaign – it’s working! More details at the following link

  15. Michael Herdegen - September 9, 2005 @ 10:22 am


    “Dr. Erica Frank of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta said she has calculated the cost, in terms of lives, of the Bush administration’s terror policies.”

    You referenced this article merely as an attempt to score cheap political points, since there are four huge problems that prevent anyone from accepting Erica’s “results” at face value, and therefore I do not believe that YOU believe them.

    The largest problem, that prevents ANYONE outside of the government from calculating precisely how effective the War on Terror is, (and almost everyone INSIDE the gov’t, as well), is that almost all of the successes are CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.
    We have not been attacked again, despite routinely taking actions which opponents of the War on Terror like to call “extreme provocations which will cause increased terrorist recruitments”, and so therefore we can presume that the terror policies are working to keep these “increasing” numbers of terrorists at bay.

    Like the Cold War, we won’t get a really good look at how effective our policies and procedures have been for decades, until we’ve finished crushing them, and most of the documents are declassified.

    Or, we might get attacked again, and find out in that manner that we’ve been ineffective.

    However, until either of those things happen, Erica is simply filling in the blanks with numbers that will “prove” her predetermined outcome.

    The second problem is that Erica is proposing that more people will die in the future, from problems like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, than would have otherwise died, in the absence of the War on Terror.
    A negative case is always very difficult to prove, and in this instance, IMPOSSIBLE, since heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are LIFESTYLE diseases, ones which have proven very resistant to change through education in the past.
    For her to legitimately claim that more will die in the future, she must first prove that FEWER have died in the past, due to lifestyle changes made by acting on public education – which she cannot do.

    Third, Erica is proposing that the future deaths will come due to cuts in basic health care, as she supposes that funding is being diverted from public heath to the War on Terror.
    That is patently false.
    In the first place, basic public health funding is primarily a STATE function, and the War on Terror is basically a FEDERAL function.
    Secondly, to the extent that Federal funds for basic health care have been cut, it’s not due to funding needs for the War on Terror, it’s due to basic philosophical differences between the current Congressional majority, and the majority at the time these programmes were established, and so the cuts would have happened in the ABSENCE of the War on Terror.

    Last, Erica has a clear conflict of interest which would prevent any serious person from accepting her “results”, unless she had some precise and mutually acceptable numbers to work with.
    An academician at the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine makes some WAGs and concludes that MORE FUNDING for family and preventative medicine is necessary ?


  16. lonbud - September 9, 2005 @ 12:13 pm

    Wasn’t it the great sage, Donald Rumsfeld, who said, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”?

    You can’t honestly believe, Michael, that because we have not suffered another terrorist attack on American soil, it in any way vindicates the Bush administraton’s prosecution of the WoT.

    Our junta of blueblood cowboys has clearly, unequivocably exacerbated anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, and unleashed upon the nation of Iraq a shitstorm of daily terrorist events, the brutality and finality of which almost no one in this country can imagine.

    You are correct in that it may be decades before the truth of the matter is fully recognized. But Americans –and the world– will know then what those of us not now in thrall to his mendacity understand today: Dubya is far and away the worst leader this country has ever had.

    His policies, priorities, and prejudices have irreparably harmed the social fabric of this divided nation, and his incompetent leadership will saddle future generations with a degree of debt nearly impossible to conceive.

    When history writes the story of the Decline and Fall of the United States of America, George W. Bush’s smirking visage will stain the title page.

  17. Bubbles - September 9, 2005 @ 2:02 pm

    As usual there is a lot of logic in Michael’s argument and he uses it to his advantage. Well done. My retort is very simple. The problem with all this ‘which absence came first’ stuff makes for an exercise that reminds me just how interesting any given belly button can be yet it falls way short if passing the smell test.

    To me, the last sentence in the article says it all; “Since the point of investing in counterterror is to protect American lives, the question is a dollar better spent in Iraq or is it better spent here?” she asked.

    Lest we forget to apply Occam’s Razor the simplest answer is usually correct.

  18. Charles Rachlis - September 9, 2005 @ 2:51 pm

    Yes, lets pray the change can come with out wholesale bloodletting. However the blood is already flowing and it is consistantly that of the poor, the working class and minorities. And when we shock and awe the beleagured masses of Iraq or who ever is next the resultant thousands of dead are far from those responsible for the alledged crimes for which we bomb them.

    Revolution, a truely patriotic act, is long overdue. The criminal class of politicians, priests, and corporate (cough) leaders must be swept away least we all end up like the thousands of corpses soon to be uncovered in NO.

    As for our friend Michael who points to the success of the anti-terrorism program of the Bushies, you remain clueless. Obviously the terrorists will strike again and as you state they may already have been prevented by the crack team at “Homeland Security” but until the concerns of those around the world who do not agree that, “our oil is under their soil” are addressed the birth of generations of terrorists is what we are accomplishing with our military adventure. Least we forget even the “good” General Powell alluded to the creation of terrorists by our flagerent acts against the people of Iraq.

    One may also consider the chances of being killed by a Dr. in a hospital by FDA approved pharmacology, or by a drunk fellow citizen on the road, or by the federally subsedized tobacco industry are much greater than the chances of being killed by a terrorist. Unless of course they get the atomic bomb and do in a major city…which may be next…

    As for the claim that LIFESTYLE is to blame for the death of the tobacco users, and alcohol abusers…again Michael wake up.

    Recall Ronnie “the gipper” Raygun dressed up as a good doctor on TV in the 1950’s promoting Lucky Strikes as the healthy choice….Maybe you are the strong independent type imune to peer pressure and advertising pressure but the profits of the tobacco industry prove that the masses can be pursuaded.
    As for the 50,000 a year killed by Drunk drivers well I guess they shouldn’t have been driving out late at night and should have left the road to the drunks.

    On a rant yeah my mom just died of Lung Cancer due to her smoking during the 1950’s-70’s it was all the rage then…the amount of second hand smoke I inhaled may well be the death of me as well…

    It is so easy to blame the victem. But one day the victems will rise up and then we can all sing “Oh Happy Day”

  19. Michael Herdegen - September 9, 2005 @ 10:38 pm


    Well, yeah, the fact that we have not suffered another terrorist attack on American soil DOES tend to vindicate the Bush administraton’s prosecution of the WoT.
    As the saying goes, it’s hard to argue with success.

    Since 9/11, there have been major terrorist attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Africa, Spain, Arabia, and the UK – but none in the U.S.

    Why is that ?
    Has al Qaeda decided that they no longer WANT to attack the U.S. ?
    Using Ockham’s Razor, as Bubbles suggests, leads us to conclude that al Qaeda CANNOT successfully attack the U.S., and there’s only one reason that such would be so.

    As for Bush being The Worst President Ever, he has a ways to go before he eclipses John Tyler, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant, Richard M. Nixon, or Jimmy E. Carter for that title.
    By the way, the “blueblooded cowboy” was George H.W. Bush, the current President’s father.
    “Dubya” himself is 100% Texan.

    [Dubya’s] policies, priorities, and prejudices have irreparably harmed the social fabric of this divided nation…

    I take it that’s some of the hyperbole that you like, since “irreparably” is clearly false, even if one were to accept that ANY net harm has occurred.

    …and his incompetent leadership will saddle future generations with a degree of debt nearly impossible to conceive.

    Can you conceive of a thirty year mortgage ?
    How about a five year car loan ?

    By Jan. ’09 the total amount of Federal debt, most of which was NOT accrued by Bush the Younger’s admin, will fall somewhere between those examples, if one were to compare the American GNP to the average American’s personal financial situation.

    The real mountain of debt will come with the retirement of the Boomers, a situation that Bush is only slightly responsible for, and one that he’s trying to avert.

    Our junta of blueblood cowboys has clearly, unequivocably exacerbated anti-American sentiment in the Middle East…

    So what ?

    I’m quite serious; I’d really like to see a cogent answer to that question.
    As long as the peoples of other nations sell to us, and buy our stuff, what difference does it make if they like us ?

    Even Iran, whose gov’t is by all accounts very strongly anti-American, sells America oil, and buys American goods and services.


    We don’t know if the dollar is better spent here.

    What would we be willing to spend to keep a nuke from going off in an American city ?
    To prevent a bio-terror attack ?

    Spending in the WoT isn’t like buying a car, it’s like buying insurance.
    Even if you never use it, you want to have it.

    True, you also want to shop around, and get the best deal, but by ’12 we should know how Bush’s WoT policies stack up against someone else’s, in cost and effectiveness.

    Charles Rachlis:

    Yes, the terrorists will strike again, but as I commented to lonbud, probably NOT in the U.S. – which, after all, is exactly and ONLY what the DHS is supposed to accomplish.

    Tobacco abusers, in 2005, are simply fools.
    NOBODY who smokes, in the U.S., believes that it’s NOT killing them.
    So, yes, death by tobacco-related causes is a lifestyle issue.

    Do you side with the guy who tried to sue McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and KFC for “making” him fat ?

    “Blaming the victim” is super-easy when the victims dig their own graves.
    90% of the morbidly obese adults in the U.S., (who make up 1/3 of the adult population), have NO underlying physical medical condition which contributes to their astounding fatness.
    Some of them may have psychological or emotional problems which contribute, but that’s what therapy and support groups are for – they just have to put down the Ho-Ho’s and get thee hie.

    If all American adults were within 10 lbs. of their optimal weights, the rates of cancer would fall by 30%, heart disease by 50%, and type II diabetes by 70%.

    Therefore, it makes perfect sense to blame the victims in this case, since they are also the perpetrators – much like suicide.

    Revolution, a truely patriotic act, is long overdue. The criminal class of politicians, priests, and corporate (cough) leaders must be swept away…

    Yeah, they tried that in France, Russia, China, and Cambodia, et al., and all they got were a NEW class of corrupt and criminal politicians and leaders – plus a bigger river of blood.

    Since, in the U.S., a “revolution” at the ballot box is possible, and certainly cheaper and easier than an armed overthrow of the existing order, why not rally your friends and effect some real change ?

  20. Michael Herdegen - September 9, 2005 @ 10:47 pm

    BTW, our oil IS under their soil.

    They can’t eat the stuff, and they don’t have any industry to speak of, so what else are they going to do but sell it to the rest of the world ?

  21. Bubbles - September 10, 2005 @ 10:23 am

    Michael, I can’t help wondering if you can you apply the same logic even-handedly?

    Would you admit that the fact that we did have a major terrorist attack under the Bush Administration tends to implicate them in not providing for our security and safety? Would you admit that they were distancing themselves from the anti-terrorist policies of the Clinton administration prior to 9/11 and focusing on a ‘Star Wars’ missile defense system as their major defense initiative? Do I need to cite the primary sources?

    If so can you tell me who would be the primary beneficiaries of such a system? And please don’t tell me the American Public because I’ll point you at all the literature that shows what a fundamentally bad plan missile defense is and which and by the way the Administration is still trying to drum-up $130 Billion for.

    Would you admit that it takes years to build-up the material, logistical and professional bureaucratic resources necessary to engage in and manage wars and huge natural disasters? Would you admit that takes a fraction of that time to unravel and demoralize these resources?

    Parenthetically, how many times have you seen this in business? I don’t know what you do for a living but professionally I’ve seen over and over that you can take solid company, acquire it key personal move out or are pushed out and the company becomes a shadow of its former self. Often times the asset becomes a liability for the acquirer and in the end it’s useless. Actually some often argue thats was the plan all along?

    So with that in mind how would you gauge the performance of FEMA’s response during 9/11 compared to Katrina? How would you gauge the performance of the military in Afghanistan compared to Iraq?

    Finally, and with full knowledge that I’m ignoring the wounded and dead in the ethics section of this blog I just can’t take seriously your wave of the hand response to the proposition that “we don’t know if a dollar is better spent here”. That’s simply a dodge like many others you’ve offered me here at lonbud.

    Michael as of today we are talking about greater than $1200 dollars for every man woman and child in this country legal and illegal. That ignores interest (which given that its money we don’t have will be substantial) and the fact that by even the most conservative estimates the bill will be double IF we’re out within the next two years.

    There is a very very long list of things we KNOW that would buy them here. Things that without any doubt whatsoever would offer either a reduction in other costs or a substantial return on investment -real tangible assets- health care, education, transportation, communications, and various other technology and alternative energy infrastructures. So please tell us all exactly what did it or will it buy us in Iraq? How has it made us safer or more secure again?

    Which takes me back to my “cheap political shot” which asserts that the war in Iraq has been far better for Halliburton, Chaney, the oil companies and related oil services industry than it has been for the American People. So much so that I’d call the “War on Terror” by a more accurate handle – Treason.

  22. Michael Herdegen - September 10, 2005 @ 1:06 pm


    Would you admit that the fact that we did have a major terrorist attack under the Bush Administration tends to implicate them in not providing for our security and safety?

    No, of course not, since the planning and training for the mission happened under the Clinton admin.

    If 9/11 had happened in ’03, then I would agree with you.

    Further, even if the Clinton admin had realized what was going on, they would have run into the same problems that the Bush admin had:
    Before 9/11, it WAS NOT LEGAL to do what it would have taken to stop the plot. After all, there were several people in various law enforcement and intel agencies who wanted to take a closer look at these guys, but who could not do so expeditiously.

    As for missile defense, since we have already deployed a working system, it seems a bit odd to argue that it cannot work.

    Yes, it takes time to build up resources and competent managers for large projects, such as a war or disaster relief.
    Are you trying to say that Bush’s plan all along was to enfeeble FEMA ?

    The performance of the U.S. military in both Afghanistan and Iraq was OUTSTANDING. Those two campaigns are the new benchmark for speed and effectiveness of military actions.

    The military has also performed well during the occupation of Iraq, with fewer than a thousand soldiers killed per year of occupation, in a nation of 25 million people.

    If your concept of an “effective military campaign” is that all goes right, and nobody dies, I can assure you that such has NEVER HAPPENED, in any army, at any time in recorded history.

    Do you perceive some difference in quality between the Afghani campaign and occupation, and the Iraqi one ?

    I just can’t take seriously your wave of the hand response to the proposition that “we don’t know if a dollar is better spent here”. That’s simply a dodge like many others you’ve offered me here at lonbud.

    No hand-waving or dodging.
    As I’ve explained upthread, we CANNOT KNOW what our WoT dollars are buying – we have to trust those whom we’ve put in charge, those who DO know, (Congress and the President), to competently manage things.

    Since we cannot know personally what the value is, it simply makes sense to say that we should have SOME WoT spending, and change the managers if we don’t like the results.

    You, on the other hand, ARE willing to put some arbitrary and concrete number on the unknowable.

    That is our fundamental difference.

    If you’d like, I can invent some figures which would conclusively prove that we should be spending MORE on the WoT…
    Those figures would have EXACTLY as much credence as any that you or Dr. Frank invent.

  23. Bubbles - September 10, 2005 @ 1:46 pm

    Michael, I appreciate your willingness to show up here, out numbered and post. It’s more than I do on conservative blogs. So thank you again for engaging. However your arguments are an unsubstantiated mix of false syllogistic log rolling, half-truths and opinions. If your going to play then I urge you to get out some real guns and start being logically consistent in your arguments and reference some facts or primary sources to rebut my use of your logical arguments bolstered by my facts and sources. Its getting old.

    You post, “no hand-waving or dodging. As I’ve explained upthread, we CANNOT KNOW what our WoT dollars are buying – we have to trust those whom we’ve put in charge, those who DO know, (Congress and the President), to competently manage things.”

    If understand correctly you want to substitute the unknowable for the knowable and argue that its not “hand-waving or dodging”. Dude have a cup of coffee and try again. Are you also suggesting we scrap the ‘Scientific Method’? Jeezz where has that gotten us in the last 350 years anyway?

    “As for missile defense, since we have already deployed a working system, it seems a bit odd to argue that it cannot work.”

    Lemme guess I’ll bet you had trouble with the question, “well it depends what the meaning of is, is”?

    So this use of ‘working’ and ‘cannot work’ is a prime example of your linguistic hula loops. If what you mean by ‘working’ is you can fire one projectile at another and some percentage of the time you may hit one of the multiple entry vehicles that may or may not contain a nuclear warhead well then yes, its ‘working’. If you mean will it prevent nuclear warheads from raining down on us well no it ‘cannot work’ and not even the Pentagon claims that it will.

    Other examples;

    I’m still waiting to hear your answer to 1st admonishing me “Shame on you for posting something you know nothing about” and me citing the argument contained in the March 2005 Scientific American article on Climate Change. Seriously where’s the rebuttal to that?

    One thing I do see clearly is where you get your lack of self-awareness.

    Today, the New York Times reported on its Web site that the Federal Emergency Management Agency dispatched only seven of its 28 urban search and rescue teams to the area before the storm hit, despite an extraordinary warning from the National Hurricane Center that Katrina could cause “human suffering incredible by modern standards.”

    The Bush administration on Friday recalled FEMA head Michael Brown, handing his role in coordinating rescue and recovery to Vice Admiral Thad Allen, chief of staff of the U.S. Coast Guard. Just a week ago, the president publicly told Brown he was doing a “heck of a job.”

    Finally, inline with the Bush/Chaney open sewer of corruption and self-interest at the expense of the taxpayer and the ‘Public Interest’ it comes as no surprise that the plan for Katrina will be another windfall for the Administration’s cronies, their friends and family:

  24. Bubbles - September 10, 2005 @ 8:11 pm

    So maybe its become apparent that I’m someone who likes to read about science. In case some of you are interested here’s a more specific discussion about global warming and Katrina:

    Just to get it out of the way this is Science not the spin zone: “Due to this semi-random nature of weather, it is wrong to blame any one event such as Katrina specifically on global warming – and of course it is just as indefensible to blame Katrina on a long-term natural cycle in the climate.”

    Another interesting less technical piece.

  25. Michael Herdegen - September 11, 2005 @ 12:20 am


    Your very interesting claim that you provide “facts and sources” brought a big smile to my face, so I thank you for that.

    On this thread, you’ve linked to:

    A conspiracy theorist
    An OPINION piece by a person seeking more government money for her organization
    An article about a longtime opponent of Prsident Bush’s, who not only holds a personal grudge, but has publicly commented that physical assault is the best way to resolve political conflicts. In this article, she looks to a thirty year old animated comedy sketch for wisdom and guidance.
    An encyclopedia entry explaining about Ockham’s Razor
    A dictionary entry defining treason
    An organization whose mission statement explicitly states that their goal is to influence media reports on global warming, and the article linked to explicitly says both that it’s impossible to know if global warming exists, or if it’s having any impact on hurricanes – but that they believe in both anyway.
    An organization that exists to disseminate stories about global warming, in this case about a group of people who were unhappy that real-word data wasn’t supporting their global warming climate models – so they changed the data.

    Most disturbingly, you refer to the last two as “science”.

    If understand correctly you want to substitute the unknowable for the knowable…

    YOU, Bubbles, are getting the same intel briefings that the President and select Congressional committees are getting ?!

    If you aren’t, why do you persist in claiming that both the costs and benefits of the War on Terror are known to you ?

    Obviously, they are not, and therefore neither you, nor I, nor Dr. Frank can say with any certainty where harm-prevention dollars would best be spent.
    I am certain, however, that SOMETHING must be spent in the WoT, and also that additional funding to tell the public that being fat is harmful to their health would be of limited effectiveness.

    Regarding missile defense, I’m happy to see that you realize that it works. As you say:
    If what you mean by ‘working’ is you can fire one projectile at another and some percentage of the time you may hit one of the multiple entry vehicles that may or may not contain a nuclear warhead well then yes, its ‘working’.

    Your confusion over the role of missile defense stems from a widespread myth that the point of missile defense is to harmlessly shoot down all incoming missiles.

    However, like MAD, missile defense is designed to simply raise the cost of engaging the U.S. by missile, and lower the chances of a successful attack.
    If any potential enemy cannot be confident that their initial strike will cause critical harm to America, then they are less likely to undertake such a strike.
    It’s rather like policing.
    The strategy of the criminal justice system is not to catch and successfully prosecute all offenders, it’s to catch and convict ENOUGH offenders to deter most people from even attempting to commit crimes.

  26. Bubbles - September 11, 2005 @ 10:11 am

    Michael what I’m asking you to do is stop dissecting posts and start reading something about these subjects and providing links to substantiate your points. Again here’s an example:

    The first sentence of which reads: “The ballistic missile defense system that the United States will deploy later this year will have no demonstrated defensive capability and will be ineffective against a real attack by long-range ballistic missiles.”

    You said ‘working’ I said ‘cannot work’. Now rather than point to something that says it can work you’re reaching out to a cold war argument about MAD. So happens I know something about that too, but suffice it to say I believe even your boy says our threats are now about terror not the Soviet Union or China and if we are concerned about North Korea, a terrorist organization or rogue state obtaining a Soviet weapon etc. I think just one bomb falling on the US would be sufficient to prove their point. Don’t you? To use your analogy for a moment I believe the statistic is if you commit a murder in America you have about a 20% chance of getting caught and convicted. I don’t think the chances of stopping a MIRV or even more than one single warhead missile with the current system are that high.

    To be sure it would be unspeakably cheaper and easier to deliver a weapon through some other low-tech means like a boat or shipping container as wells more difficult to determine the source for the purposes of retaliation. Which is why we need a different strategy.

    BTW, deterrence is an outdated rational. Not even death penalty advocates use it anymore precisely because it is statistically insignificant. We’re back to the old “eye for an eye” days in nuclear bombs and criminal sentencing.

    For my tax dollar I KNOW we can do a hell of a lot better and I don’t need to have the worlds highest security clearance to figure it out. All this talking past each other is still not getting anywhere. We need to find some common ground. I thought we had it when we discussed corruption.

  27. lonbud - September 11, 2005 @ 10:46 am

    As Bubbles and Michael devolve into fingerpointing and recriminations about whose perspective better reflects reality and whose “sources” are more legitimate, it’s becoming clear just why and how we’ve become such a divided nation.

    When the problem was nuclear weapons and the perceived competition between the U.S. and Russia for ideological domination of the globe, one approach to the problem involved the policy of MAD and the relentless expansion of military spending that eventually helped topple a corrupt Russian system that had been rotting away at its core for years.

    A different perspective argued that de-escalation of military spending and systematic reductions in nuclear armrature were better approaches to the problem. But that perspective wasn’t friendly to the hegemons of the American military-industrial complex, nor did it produce the elevated level of public paranoia necessary to the maintenence of a reasonably docile and malleable citizenry, so it was reviled (with contemptible participation by the media) as “appeasement” and “defeatist,” and well, the rest is history.

    People of like mind to Michael believe the approach we took to that problem was just fine because “it worked.” These are people who believe the ends justify the means.

    Now, we have the problems of terrorism and radical Islam, and one approach again supports our country’s hegemonists and military-industrial interests, while demanding a cowed and fearful public to abdicate its power to a federal government that will protect it from evil. Any other approach counseling less belligerence or a greater understanding of the costs of meeting violent extremism with extreme violence is again dismissed as defeatist appeasement.

    For many, because we haven’t been attacked again since 9/11, whatever is being done is just fine, because “it’s working.”

    And, as Michael says, it’s hard to argue with success.

    Party on, Garth.

    FYI: Dubya is 100% Texan in the same way legendary New Orleans stripper Chris Owens’ breasts are 100% real.

  28. Bubbles - September 11, 2005 @ 11:32 am

    Ohh and I’m sorry ‘I Just Have to Say’ Michael, if you spent just a little more time reading and thinking and a little less time dissecting, distorting and selectively quoting you would find:

    “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.”

    On RealClimate you would find articles and posts by scientists that do what the Administration likes best on this subject, inject uncertainty. Which of course can be used as a rational to do nothing.

    Also, tell us how do you get from research done at Lawrence Livermore Labs to “An organization that exists to disseminate stories about global warming”? Sorry, nice try but attacking a website republishing (which you conveniently confuse with) Source: Copyright 2005, Contra Costa Times is not the same as discrediting the content and actual source.

    Dude you have all the ‘Rove propaganda techniques’ down pat. What do you do for work? Me, I do Internet and Telecommunications Engineering. Lately I’ve been busy with Data Center migrations, ‘High Availability’ and ‘Disaster Recovery’ infrastructure. You?

  29. Michael Herdegen - September 11, 2005 @ 5:20 pm


    Michael what I’m asking you to do is stop dissecting posts and start reading something about these subjects and providing links to substantiate your points.

    As I attempted to point out in my previous post, you do provide links, but all of your references are to extremely partisan sources.
    When you preach to the choir, only the choir finds you to be persuasive.

    For instance, you’ve linked to an article about a person who wants to punch Bush in the nose, and who thinks that thirty year old cultural references will make her point. Groovy.
    You’ve also linked to the site of an organization whose SOLE PURPOSE is to convince people that global-warming is both a catastrophe, and caused by humans.
    To advance that effort, they’ve featured an article about a group of scientists who have changed real-world data, so that it will support their climate model.

    Do you TRULY, in your heart-of-hearts, believe that anyone who doesn’t already agree with you will find these sources to be anything but laughable ?

    For instance, you just linked to The Union of Concerned Scientists (!!!), in an effort to point out that missile defense doesn’t work.

    Are you unaware that the UCS is a punchline to a joke ?
    They are notorious Chicken Littles who have been preaching imminent doom, for a variety of reasons, for decades.
    Of course, the fact that NONE of their predictions has come to pass doesn’t stop them from issuing more somber predictions of sure disaster, just a few more years down the road…

    The UCS has opposed the SDI for 22 years, since the time that it was a figment of Reagan’s imagination.
    I’ll wager $ 100 that if you scoured the Web, you couldn’t find a more partisan and less convincing source for an analysis of missile defense.

    Missile defense is not, as you point out, an effective defense against terror.
    It’s a defense against international warfare, and a very cost-efficient one.

    Now, you may be utterly convinced that nations will never again engage in warfare, and that asymmetrical warfare is the only form that future conflicts will take.

    I will just point out that Alfred Nobel, (of the Nobel Prizes), invented dynamite in 1866.
    In 1891, he commented about his dynamite factories: “Perhaps my factories will put an end to war […]: on the day that two army corps can mutually annihilate each other in a second, all civilised nations will surely recoil with horror and disband their troops.”

    In 1918, WW I was known as “The War To End All War”, and they believed it. The denizens of 1918 could not believe that after the mind-destroying horrors of WW I, any peoples would be so foolish as to knowingly engage in modern warfare again.

    The thought that war will cease to be waged, since it’s become too costly, bloody, or immoral, has a long history of being incorrect.

    As for me dissecting posts, I note that you never refute any of my arguments about the illogic or fallacies of the articles that I tear apart; in fact, you’ve commented several times that I’m correct in my analyses.
    If you want to refute me, you have to do more than go out and find another loony story that you like, you have to show where I’m incorrect.

    [T]ell us how do you get from research done at Lawrence Livermore Labs to “An organization that exists to disseminate stories about global warming”?

    Well, I read the mission statement of the site you referenced, which apparently you have not, even though you just posted it:

    “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and JOURNALISTS.”
    “We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary.”

    On RealClimate you would find articles and posts by scientists that do what the Administration likes best on this subject, inject uncertainty. Which of course can be used as a rational to do nothing.

    I find it hilarious that you would first admit that neither you nor your handpicked source knows exactly what’s happening, why it’s happening, nor what to do about it, but in your next breath you imply that waiting for clarity is stupid, that we should immediately run around like beheaded chickens.

    That’s not “science”, my friend, that’s “religion”.


    A different perspective argued that de-escalation of military spending [was a] better approach to the problem.

    You may be interested and surprised to know that Orrin Judd and you agree on this point – although for different reasons.

    But that perspective wasn’t friendly to the hegemons of the American military-industrial complex, nor did it produce the elevated level of public paranoia necessary to the maintenence of a reasonably docile and malleable citizenry…

    Since the USSR had just beaten the Wehrmacht nearly single-handedly, and then taken over Eastern Europe, how could the Pentagon assume that the Kremlin would convert to some Peace ‘n Lightness philosophy ?
    As history shows, they never did, so the “hegemons of the American military-industrial complex” were correct in their 1950s assessment of the Soviet threat to the U.S., and to the world.

    As for a “docile and malleable citizenry”, is that how you would characterize the 60s ?
    If so, you’re probably the only one who would do so.

    Now, we have the problems of terrorism and radical Islam, and one approach again supports our country’s hegemonists and military-industrial interests, while demanding a cowed and fearful public to abdicate its power to a federal government that will protect it from evil. Any other approach counseling less belligerence or a greater understanding of the costs of meeting violent extremism with extreme violence is again dismissed as defeatist appeasement.

    Are you aware that the “military-industrial complex” is SHRINKING, that the U.S. spends LESS on the military now, as a percentage of the American GNP, even in the midst of war, than it did in the 80s ?
    Defense contracters are merging left and right, since there’s not enough business to go around.
    The number of personnel in the U.S. military will fall as well, if SecDef Rumsfelds’ proposed reforms are carried out.

    The government isn’t demanding that a cowed and fearful public abdicate its power, the public is demanding that the government protect them, and is willing to give up a little privacy to make it happen.

    Further, the public rarely uses its power anyhow, so as a practical matter, the abdication happened long ago.
    America is far, FAR from what it could be, but any maximization of potential would require that everyone WANT to do so, which so far has not happened.
    Perhaps we’re just too fat ‘n happy to strive for even larger greatness.

    I think that the decision makers are well aware of what the costs of meeting violence with violence are; they are just convinced that the potential gains are worth it.
    Violence worked very well in converting Afghanistan, the second most oppressive nation on Earth, so radical that even most Muslim nations didn’t support it, into a democratic republic bustling with opportunities, and finally rebuilding from the Soviet invasion of decades past.

    How is Dubya NOT 100% Texan ?
    He was raised in Texas, went into business in Texas, made his fortune in Texas, was a two-time Governor of Texas…

    Are you of the opinion that an immigrant to America can never be a “real” American ?

  30. Bubbles - September 11, 2005 @ 11:05 pm


    I’m beginning to think you do work with the Administration’s propaganda machine. You’re certainly true to rhetorical form with your compatriots. Distortion twisting the words of others and name-calling is not refutation at best its contradiction. It’s not even an argument its just childish bickering and it grows ever so tiresome.

    Damit forget my “partisan” sources already!!!!

    What ‘non-partisan’ sources do you have that support your positions?

    What sources at all?

    Show us anything that.

    a) Supports a working Missile Defense System

    b) Refutes Global Warming

    c) Supports the value the American Public is receiving form the War on Terror/War in Iraq

    d) Shows that the Administration is not awarding massive tax payer funded contracts to its friends and family.

    I’ve seen exactly 0

    Put up or shut up.

  31. Bubbles - September 11, 2005 @ 11:35 pm

    Ok Michael, As frustrated as I’ve gotten with you, I’d like to redirect both of our energy towards some positive potentially constructive areas of agreement. Below you’ll find a long quote. I’m not going to tell you where its from -yet-. Go ahead rip it apart 😉

    “Partisans of one scenario shrug off the challenges of the other, expressing “confidence” that they can be handled without actually doing much to ensure that they are. Once you blow away the fog of ideology, the outlines of a comprehensive action plan begin to emerge. It is hardly the only way forward, but it can serve as a starting point for discussion.

    A recurring theme of this plan is that business is not necessarily the enemy of nature, or vice versa. Traditionally the economy and environment have not even been described in like terms. The most-watched economic statistics, such as gross domestic product (GDP), do not measure resource depletion; they are essentially measures of cash flow rather than balance sheets of assets and liabilities. If you clear-cut a forest, GDP jumps even though you have wiped out an asset that could have brought in a steady stream of income.

    More broadly, the prices we pay for goods and services seldom include the associated environmental costs. Someone else picks up the tab–and that someone is usually us, in another guise. By one estimate, the average American taxpayer forks out $2,000 a year to subsidize farming, driving, mining and other activities with a heavy environmental footprint. The distorted market gives consumers and producers little incentive to clean up. Environmentalists inadvertently reinforce this tendency when they focus on the priceless attractions of nature, which are deeply meaningful but difficult to weigh against more pressing concerns. The Endangered Species Act has provided iconic examples of advocates talking past one another. Greens blamed the plight of spotted owls on loggers; the loggers blamed unemployment on self-indulgent ornithology. In fact, both were victims of unsustainable forestry.

    In recent years, economists and environmental scientists have come together to hang a price tag on nature’s benefits. Far from demeaning nature, this exercise reveals how much we depend on it. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, published earlier this year, identified services–from pollination to water filtration–that humans would have to provide for themselves, at great cost, if nature did not. Of the 24 broad categories of services, the team found that 15 are being used faster than they regenerate.

    When the environment is properly accounted for, what is good for nature is often what is good for the economy and even for individual business sectors. Fishers, for example, maximize their profits when they harvest fisheries at a sustainable level; beyond that point, both yields and profits decline as more people chase ever fewer fish. To be sure, life is not always so convenient. Society must sometimes make real trade-offs. But it is only beginning to explore the win-win options.”

    So just get it over with Michael, are you another partisan hack or are you a problem solver?

  32. Michael Herdegen - September 12, 2005 @ 1:10 am


    Please point out where I’ve twisted anyone’s words. I often quote people, to highlight that their words are often inconsistent with their stated goals, but I’m not about “winning” a rhetorical contest.
    What would be the point ?

    Further, please point out where you feel that I’ve called you any names. You’ve insulted me several times, but I’ve specifically refrained from doing the same, because again, what would be the point of doing so ?

    Support for a) can be found in the fact that THEY’VE ALREADY DEPLOYED A MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM. Now, perhaps you think that the military routinely puts defective weapons systems into use, but that’s not the case.
    Also, see if you recognize this quote:

    “If what you mean by ‘working’ is you can fire one projectile at another and some percentage of the time you may hit one of the multiple entry vehicles that may or may not contain a nuclear warhead well then yes, its ‘working’.”

    That’s all that it’s designed to do, and it does it successfully.
    Also, in part it doesn’t really matter if it works or not, since any potential enemies have to ASSUME that it works, when doing war planning.
    The American Atlas D ICBMs of the 60s were more show than go, but it was enough.

    As for b), it’s never been my contention that the Earth isn’t warming, it’s that we don’t know if it’s Global Warming&#153.
    The Church of Global Warming contends that any warming will both continue, and is caused by the actions of humans.
    As you point out several times upthread, we DO NOT KNOW what is causing such warming, for how long it will continue, what the average temperatures will be when it stops, or whether humans can or SHOULD do anything to avert it.

    However, suppose that we agreed that humans are responsible for the Earth warming, and that we should do something about it.
    What do you propose ?

    Regarding c), are you seriously claiming that you perceive NO VALUE in there having been no terror attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 ?
    Iraq is harder to parse, since the costs are immediate, but the benefits may not be felt for years. Essentially, Iraq is a gamble that if conditions improve in the Middle East, and the peoples there have an outlet for expressing their frustrations with their leaders, (i.e., democracy), then they’ll be less likely to foment terror.

    For all I know, d) is accurate.
    It certainly would be in the tradition of politics and politicians.

    As for your long quote, the concept is entirely accurate and long overdue.
    I see nothing there that I disagree with.

    Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir got things started, but it’s hard to make the environment a practical consideration without quantifying the costs and benefits.

  33. Michael Herdegen - September 12, 2005 @ 10:17 am

    Here’s a very short DoD article from last year that explains a little bit about how missile defense of America will work.

    Here‘s a detailed description of the critical sea-based X-band radar.

    Here is a picture of the SBX.

    Here’s a report about another successful missile interception test:

    “Sea-Based Missile Defense Intercept Successful
    February 24, 2005 :: The Missile Defense Agency

    The Missile Defense Agency again today tested the Aegis ballistic missile interceptor system, with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor successfully destroying a mock enemy missile.”

    Here’s a recently released poll:

    71% of Europeans Support Missile Defense

    September 7, 2005
    The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies have conducted another missile defense poll, this time of Europeans in the countries of France, Germany, the U.K., Spain, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Overall, 71% of those surveyed were in favor of the deployment of missile defenses by NATO, and only 16% opposed NATO having such capability. […]

    Asked whether they think their own country should have a missile defense system, the following percentages answered affirmatively: France (69%), Germany (68%), the U.K. (72%), Spain (54%), Italy (60%), Poland (84%), the Czech Republic (62%), the Netherlands (63%) and Denmark (44%). In the aggregate, 56% of the adults surveyed would support a deployment of such a defensive system in their own country.

    Finally, here‘s a pro-missile defense site which will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the philosophy, strategy, and technical aspects of missile defense.

  34. Michael Herdegen - September 12, 2005 @ 12:20 pm

    Results of WoT.

    “Al Qaeda has marked the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington […]

    For some US analysts, the frustration expressed in the most recent tape is more a reflection of the failings of Al Qaeda since the success of their Sept. 11 attacks […]

    Others say the frustration expressed in the tape probably reflects more than anything the reality of an Al Qaeda that is unable, four years after Sept. 11, to mount a terrorist action in the US at will.

    “Had the terrorists had any residual ability to strike in the US they would have done it in the wake of Katrina and with the 9/11 anniversary, but all they could do was make a tape,” says Ralph Peters, a retired Army intelligence office and terrorism expert.”

  35. Bubbles - September 12, 2005 @ 10:27 pm


    Granted the Union of Concerned Scientists, is a ‘liberal-leaning’ group. Yet like say ‘Doctors without Borders’ it contains many of the nation’s leading scientists and physicians, and it by no means only contains liberals. It also doesn’t run around giving awards to Michael Moore.

    Umm.. people in glass ‘partisan’ house’s should run around throwing ‘partisan’ stones. Enough of that, I’ve also cast my share of stones.

  36. Bubbles - September 12, 2005 @ 11:05 pm

    The quote I took above was lifted from Scientific American, and article titled ‘The Climax of Humanity’:

    Its just one of a group of fantastic articles in this month’s special issue devoted to “Crossroads for Planet Earth”. Yes I’m a subscriber but it so happens that the whole issue this month is available free online.

    I would hope you would agree that Scientific American is non-partisan. Unfortunately, neither Democrats nor Republicans have advocated much in terms of policy direction that is described therein. There is great stuff in many of these articles that should make us all think and think hard about how to effect meaningful positive changes.


    ENERGY More Profit with Less Carbon
    By Amory B. Lovins
    Using energy more efficiently will not only protect Earth’s climate, it will make businesses and consumers richer

    POLICY How Should We Set Priorities?
    By W. Wayt Gibbs
    Even as leaders begin to converge on solutions for the world’s problems, market-based approaches may be preempting them

    ECONOMICS Economics in a Full World
    By Herman E. Daly
    Society can no longer safely pretend the global economy operates within a limitless ecosystem. Planners must think afresh about how to increase prosperity

    DISEASE Public Health in Transition
    By Barry R. Bloom
    Chronic ailments now sweep both the industrial and developing nations, while infectious disease remains a threat. New public health priorities are urgently needed

    Lets at least try and change the tone around here.

  37. Michael Herdegen - September 13, 2005 @ 11:36 am


    What is it that you don’t like about ballistic missile defense ?

    As we’ve established, it’s not supposed to be an impenetrable wall of steel, and it works well within the design parameters.

    It’s essentially the equivalent of putting a steering wheel bar on your parked car, or a padlock on your storage shed – it makes it somewhat more difficult to do harm.

    So, America is somewhat safer, and we also get the benefits of all of the bleeding-edge research into lasers, radar, acquisition & tracking ability, better satellite design, better optics, and better algorithms to separate warheads from decoys.

    Like the military and industrial research in WW II and the continued work in the space programme, the spillover benefits to the rest of society are enormous.

  38. Bubbles - September 13, 2005 @ 4:06 pm


    I admit they have made more progress recently than I’ve seen in a long time. I also really like advanced technology and I support the government funding of military technologies that have civilian applications. I’m not sure I see that here yet but I won’t dismiss that they potentially do exist. I also don’t fundamentally have a problem technically or strategically with intercepting inbound weapons. I think its cool.

    However, my understanding is that its far easer and cheaper for your attacker to overwhelm such a system than it is to beef it up to the point where is really protects you. I do understand that it raises the stakes. Which many in the defense establishment have argued -for what appear to be self-interested reasons- is a viable strategy. (I actually doubt that rational and agree with lonbud that the Soviet Union for example was crumbing before we upped the ante. I believe the record has shown that the Soviet build-up of conventional weapons for which we countered with strategic weapons was consistently over stated, but I digress) Missile defense is and always will be a ‘sub-zero sum game’. Keeping in mind that we are talking about nuclear not conventional bombs a ‘sub-zero sum game’ would appear to be an unviable strategy.

    Additionally, I have problems with;

    1) Its sold to the public as a ‘shield’ and as you admit its not a ‘shield’. Most of the public will never understand the difference between what it does and does not protect you from and in that respect it is a political ‘bait and switch’.

    2) Its not cheap, it maybe cheaper than adding substantially to our nuclear arsenal but that’s a different claim/calculation in the post cold war world. I remain unconvinced that the same or less money spent on controlling proliferation wouldn’t yield a better and ultimately safer result.

    3) I question it as a priority. As an engineer I consistently counsel my clients on how to allocate their limited resources. Essentially how to use people and money most effectively and efficiently while balancing needs like; performance, flexibility, high-availability and disaster recovery. I often find myself telling them to stop worrying about the once in a 1000 year earthquake and worry more about the things that they know will happen and happen frequently. For example, disk failures and backups, testing restore functions, simple equipment failures, personnel failures, turnover, telecom and power system and distribution instabilities and the need to provide preventative maintenance. Basically be prepared for the things that happen more frequently first than later worry about the things that happen once in a 1000 years. I get the very same feeling about missile defense. It smells to me like solving a very interesting but ‘wrong’ problem.

  39. Michael Herdegen - September 13, 2005 @ 5:55 pm

    Those are good points.

    The fundamental difference between us is simply what weight we give to the numerous variables.

    Deciding to pursue a ballistic missile defense system isn’t a “no brainer”, but IMO America is rich enough to gamble that we might be able to make it work, since the payoff is so large.

    I’m not sure that it’s the “wrong” problem, since potentially the survival of most Americans, and certainly of the nation itself, not to mention most of the Northern Hemisphere, rests on there not being an all-out nuclear war involving America.
    It’s a problem that we’ve been wrestling with since the 50s, and so far the best that we’ve come up with is to assure that anyone attacking us would be committing suicide, which is a sub-optimal solution.

    Non-proliferation isn’t a complete answer.
    While it’s a really good idea to attempt to convince or bribe any nation seeking nuclear devices and the ICBMs to deliver them, not to do so, what do we do about those that are adamant about it, such as North Korea and Iran ?

    Ultimately, we either have to feel secure from attack by them, or we have to attack them first.

    As for priorities…
    These things have a LOOOOONG lead time.

    People were discussing the SDI concept in the 70s, Reagan proposed it in the early 80s, and we finally deployed an active missile defense TWO DECADES plus later. And, it’s not the “shield” that you speak of the public envisioning, which is what Reagan had in mind too, but more or less a screen.

    When it was first proposed, the USSR was the big threat…
    By the time it was deployed, it’s positioned as a deterrent to threats from Asia.

    If we hadn’t been working on it, and Bush started funding it in ’05, we wouldn’t have been deploying it until 2030.

  40. harshmoon - September 17, 2005 @ 10:32 pm

    “Y’all come back, now. Y’hear?”
    I do declare I hope you didn’t mean to imply such a man as Mike Johnston was of Southern Hertiage. I found nothing in his short rant to suggest the sort. I, as a Southern Gentleman do take offensive Sir! If I owned a pair of gloves, I would most assuredly slap you across the face & then offer you the use my second best .38.
    Cheers to Lonbud, still the Chief – and his allowance of all voices; the true power of ideas at work.

  41. lonbud - September 17, 2005 @ 11:43 pm

    Keep your Peacemaker in its holster there, Harshmoon. ‘Twas I revealing my own southern gentility in showing Mr. Johnston the door… like pretty girls at the bar, we can always use more powerful ideas.

  42. Tam O’Tellico - October 14, 2005 @ 3:16 pm

    What follows is a list of casualities of incompetence, unless one chooses to believe that ALL these people were inept or corrupt civil servants who were discovered and displaced by the brilliant minds in the current White House:

    The Fallen Legion: Casualties of the Bush Administration
    By Nick Turse

    Friday 14 October 2005

    In late August 2005, after twenty years of service in the field of military procurement, Bunnatine (“Bunny”) Greenhouse, the top official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of awarding government contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, was demoted. For years, Greenhouse received stellar evaluations from superiors – until she raised objections about secret, no-bid contracts awarded to Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) – a subsidiary of Halliburton, the mega-corporation Vice President Dick Cheney once presided over. After telling congress that one Halliburton deal was “was the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career,” she was reassigned from “the elite Senior Executive Service… to a lesser job in the civil works division of the corps.”

    When Greenhouse was busted down, she became just another of the casualties of the Bush administration – not the countless (or rather uncounted) Iraqis, or the ever-growing list of American troops, killed, maimed, or mutilated in the administration’s war of convenience- but the seemingly endless and ever-growing list of beleaguered administrators, managers, and career civil servants who quit their posts in protest or were defamed, threatened, fired, forced out, demoted, or driven to retire by Bush administration strong-arming. Often, this has been due to revulsion at the President’s policies – from the invasion of Iraq and negotiations with North Korea to the flattening of FEMA and the slashing of environmental standards – which these women and men found to be beyond the pale.

    Since almost the day he assumed power, George W. Bush has left a trail of broken careers in his wake. Below is a listing of but a handful of the most familiar names on the rolls of the fallen:

    Richard Clarke: Perhaps the most well-known of the Bush administration’s casualties, Clarke spent thirty years in the government, serving under every president from Ronald Reagan on. He was the second-ranking intelligence officer in the State Department under Reagan and then served in the administration of George H.W. Bush. Under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he held the position of the president’s chief adviser on terrorism on the National Security Council – a Cabinet-level post. Clarke became disillusioned with the “terrible job” of fighting terrorism exhibited by the second president Bush – namely, ignoring evidence of an impending al-Qaeda attack and putting the pressure on to produce a non-existent link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. (His memo explaining that there was no connection, said Clarke, “got bounced and sent back saying, ‘Wrong answer. Do it again.'”) After 9/11, Clarke asked for a transfer from his job to a National Security Council office concerned with cyber-terrorism. (The administration later claimed it was a demotion). Quit, January 2003.

    Paul O’Neill: A top official at the Office of Management and Budget under Presidents Nixon and Ford (and later chairman of aluminum-giant Alcoa), O’Neill served nearly two years in George W. Bush’s cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury before being asked to resign after opposing the president’s tax cuts. He, like Clarke, recalled Bush’s Iraq fixation. “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” said O’Neill, a permanent member of the National Security Council. “It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.'” Fired, December 6, 2002.

    Flynt Leverett, Ben Miller and Hillary Mann: A Senior Director for Middle East Affairs on President Bush’s National Security Council (NSC), a CIA staffer and Iraq expert with the NSC, and a foreign service officer on detail to the NSC as the Director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs, respectively, they were all reportedly forced out by Elliott Abrams, Bush’s NSC Advisor on Middle East Affairs, when they disagreed with policy toward Israel. Said Leverett, “There was a decision made… basically to renege on the commitments we had made to various European and Arab partners of the United States. I personally disagreed with that decision.” He also noted, “[Richard] Clarke’s critique of administration decision-making and how it did not balance the imperative of finishing the job against al Qaeda versus what they wanted to do in Iraq is absolutely on the money… We took the people out [of Afghanistan in 2002 to begin preparing for the war in Iraq] who could have caught” al Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri. According to Josef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terror and Unconventional Warfare, Abrams “led Miller to an open window and told him to jump.” He also stated that Mann and Leverett had been told to leave. Resigned/Fired, 2003.

    Larry Lindsey: A “top economic adviser” to Bush who was ousted when he revealed to a newspaper that a war with Iraq could cost $200 billion. Fired, December 2002.

    Ann Wright: A career diplomat in the Foreign Service and a colonel in the Army Reserves resigned on the day the U.S. launched the Iraq War. In her letter of resignation, Wright told then-Secretary of State Colin Powell: “I believe the Administration’s policies are making the world a more dangerous, not a safer, place. I feel obligated morally and professionally to set out my very deep and firm concerns on these policies and to resign from government service as I cannot defend or implement them.” Resigned, March 19, 2003.

    John Brady Kiesling: A career diplomat who served four presidents over a twenty year span, he tendered his letter of resignation from his post as Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. He wrote:

    “…until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer. The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.”

    Resigned, February 27, 2003.

    John Brown: After nearly 25-years, this veteran of the Foreign Service, who served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev and Belgrade, resigned from his post. In his letter of resignation, he wrote: “I cannot in good conscience support President Bush’s war plans against Iraq. The president has failed to: explain clearly why our brave men and women in uniform should be ready to sacrifice their lives in a war on Iraq at this time; to lay out the full ramifications of this war, including the extent of innocent civilian casualties; to specify the economic costs of the war for the ordinary Americans; to clarify how the war would help rid the world of terror; [and] to take international public opinion against the war into serious consideration.” Resigned, March 10, 2003.

    Rand Beers: When Beers, the National Security Council’s senior director for combating terrorism, resigned he declined to comment, but one former intelligence official noted, “Hardly a surprise. We have sacrificed a war on terror for a war with Iraq. I don’t blame Randy at all. This just reflects the widespread thought that the war on terror is being set aside for the war with Iraq at the expense of our military and intel[ligence] resources and the relationships with our allies.” Beers later admitted, “The administration wasn’t matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They’re making us less secure, not more secure… As an insider, I saw the things that weren’t being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out.” Resigned, March 2003.

    Anthony Zinni: A soldier and diplomat for 40 years, Zinni served from 1997 to 2000 as commander-in-chief of the United States Central Command in the Middle East. The retired Marine Corps general was then called back to service by the Bush administration to assume one of the highest diplomatic posts, special envoy to the Middle East (from November 2002 to March 2003), but his disagreement with Bush’s plans to go to war and public comments that foretold of a a prolonged and problematical aftermath to such a war led to his ouster. “In the lead up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption,” said Zinni. Failed to be reappointed, March 2003.

    Eric Shinseki: After General Shinseki, the Army’s chief of staff, told Congress that the occupation of Iraq could require “several hundred thousand troops,” he was derided by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Then, wrote the Houston Chronicle, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “took the unusual step of announcing that Gen. Eric Shinseki would be leaving when his term as Army chief of staff end[ed].” Retired, June 2003.

    Karen Kwiatkowski: A Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force who served in the Department of Defense’s Near East and South Asia (NESA) Bureau in the year before the invasion of Iraq, she wrote in her letter of resignation:

    “…[W]hile working from May 2002 through February 2003 in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Near East South Asia and Special Plans (USDP/NESA and SP) in the Pentagon, I observed the environment in which decisions about post-war Iraq were made… What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of ‘intelligence’ found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Hussein occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense.”

    Retired, July 2003.

    Charles “Jack” Pritchard: A retired U.S. Army colonel and a 28-year veteran of the military, the State Department, and the National Security Council, who served as the State Department’s senior expert on North Korea and as the special envoy for negotiations with that country, resigned (according to the Los Angeles Times) because the “administration’s refusal to engage directly with the country made it almost impossible to stop Pyongyang from going ahead with its plans to build, test and deploy nuclear weapons.” Resigned, August 2003.

    Major (then Captain) John Carr and Major Robert Preston: Air Force prosecutors, they quit their posts in 2004 rather than take part in trials under the military commission system President Bush created in 2001 which they considered “rigged against alleged terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.

    Captain Carrie Wolf: A U.S. Air Force officer, she also asked to leave the Office of Military Commissions due to concerns that the Bush-created commissions for trying prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were unjust. Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.

    Colonel Douglas Macgregor: He retired from the U.S. Army and stated: “I love the army and I was sorry to leave it. But I saw no possibility of fundamentally positive reform and reorgani[z]ation of the force for the current strategic environment or the future… It’s a very sycophantic culture. The biggest problem we have inside the… Department of Defense at the senior level, but also within the officer corps – is that there are no arguments. Arguments are [seen as] a sign of dissent. Dissent equates to disloyalty.” Retired, June 2004.

    Paul Redmond: After a long career at the CIA, Redmond became the Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. When, according to Notra Trulock of Accuracy in Media, he reported, at a congressional hearing in June 2003, “that he didn’t have enough analysts to do the job… [and] his office still lacked the secure communications capability to receive classified reports from the intelligence community… [t]hat kind of candor was not appreciated by his bosses and, consequently, he had to go.” Resigned, June 2003.

    John W. Carlin: According to the Washington Post, Carlin, the “Archivist of the United States was pushed by the White House… to submit his resignation without being given any reason, Senate Democrats disclosed… at a hearing to consider President Bush’s nomination of his successor.” “I asked why, and there was no reason given,” said Carlin, but the Post reported that some had “suggested Bush may have wanted a new archivist to help keep his or his father’s sensitive presidential records under wraps.” Although he had stated his wish to serve until the end of his 10-year term, and 65th birthday in 2005, Carlin surrendered to Bush administration pressure. Resigned, December 19, 2003.

    Susan Wood and Frank Davidoff: Wood was the Food and Drug Administration’s Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health and Director of the Office of Women’s Health; Davidoff was the editor emeritus of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine and an internal medicine specialist on the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee. Wood resigned in protest over the FDA’s decision to delay yet again, due to pressure from the Bush administration, a final ruling on whether the “morning-after pill” should be made more easily accessible – despite a 23-4 vote, back in December 2003, by a panel of experts to recommend non-prescription sale of the contraceptive, called Plan B. In an email to colleagues, Wood, the top FDA official in charge of women’s health issues, wrote, “I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled.” Days later, Davidoff quit over the same issue and wrote in his resignation letter, “I can no longer associate myself with an organization that is capable of making such an important decision so flagrantly on the basis of political influence, rather than the scientific and clinical evidence.” Wood: Resigned, August 31, 2005. Davidoff: Resigned, September, 2005.

    Thomas E. Novotny: A deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services and the chief official working on an international treaty to reduce cigarette smoking around the world, Novotny “stepped down,” claimed Bush administration officials, “for personal reasons unrelated to the negotiations”; but the Washington Post reported that “three people who ha[d] spoken with Novotny… said he had privately expressed frustration over the administration’s decision to soften the U.S. positions on key issues, including restrictions on secondhand smoke and the advertising and marketing of cigarettes.” Resigned, August 1, 2001.

    Joanne Wilson: The commissioner of the Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), she quit, according to the Washington Post, “in protest of what she said were the administration’s largely unnoticed efforts to gut the office’s funding and staffing” and attempts to dismantle programs “critical to helping the blind, deaf and otherwise disabled find jobs.” On February 7, 2005 the Bush administration announced that it would close all RSA regional offices and cut personnel in half. Quit, February 8, 2005.

    James Zahn: According to an article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in the Nation magazine, Zahn, a “nationally respected microbiologist with the Agriculture Department’s research service” stated that “his supervisor at the USDA, under pressure from the hog industry, had ordered him not to publish his study,” which “identified bacteria that can make people sick – and that are resistant to antibiotics – in the air surrounding industrial-style hog farms”; and that “he had been forced to cancel more than a dozen public appearances at local planning boards and county health commissions seeking information about health impacts of industry mega-farms.” As a result, “Zahn resigned from the government in disgust.” Resigned, May 2002.

    Tony Oppegard and Jack Spadaro: Oppegard and Spadaro were members of a “team of federal geodesic engineers selected to investigate the collapse of barriers that held back a coal slurry pond in Kentucky containing toxic wastes from mountaintop strip-mining.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this had been “the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States.” Oppegard, who the headed the team, “was fired on the day Bush was inaugurated… All eight members of the team except Spadaro signed off on a whitewashed investigation report. Spadaro, like the others, was harassed but flat-out refused to sign. In April of 2001 Spadaro resigned from the team and filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Labor Department… he was placed on administrative leave-a prelude to getting fired.” Two months before his 28th anniversary as a federal employee, and after years of harassment due to his stance, Spadaro resigned. “I’m just very tired of fighting,” he said. “I’ve been fighting this administration since early 2001. I want a little peace for a while.” Oppegrad: Fired, January 20, 2001. Spaddaro: Resigned, October 1, 2003.

    Teresa Chambers: After speaking with reporters and congressional staffers about budget problems in her organization, the U.S. Park Police Chief was placed on administrative leave. Then, according to CNN, just “two and half hours after her attorneys filed a demand for immediate reinstatement through the Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent agency that ensures federal employees are protected from management abuses,” Chambers was fired. “The American people should be afraid of this kind of silencing of professionals in any field,” said Chambers. “We should be very concerned as American citizens that people who are experts in their field either can’t speak up, or, as we’re seeing now in the parks service, won’t speak up.” Fired, July 2004.

    Martha Hahn: The state director for the Bureau of Land Management, “responsible for 12 million acres in Idaho, almost one-quarter of the state” for seven years, Hahn found her authority drastically curtailed after the Bush administration took office. She watched as the administration blocked public comment on mining initiatives and opened up previously protected areas to environmental degradation. After she locked horns with cattle interests over grazing rights, she received a letter stating she was being transferred from her beloved Rocky Mountain West to “a previously nonexistent job in New York City.” “It’s been a shock,” she said. “I’m going through mental anguish right now. I felt like I was at the prime of my career.” Hahn was told to accept the involuntary reassignment or resign. Resigned, March 6, 2002.

    Andrew Eller: Eller “spent many of his 17 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protecting the [Florida] panther. But when his research didn’t jibe with a huge airport project slated for the cat’s habitat – and Eller refused to play along-he was given the boot,” wrote the Tucson Weekly. “I was fired three days after President Bush was re-elected,” said Eller. “It was obviously reprisal for holding different views than [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] management on whether or not the panther was in jeopardy, and pointing out that they were using flawed science to support their view.” Fired, November 2004.

    Mike Dombeck: The chief of the Forest Service resigned after a 23-year government career. In his resignation letter, the pro-conservation Dombeck stated, “It was made clear in no uncertain terms that the [Bush] administration wants to take the Forest Service in another direction ….” Resigned, March 27, 2001.

    James Furnish: A political conservative, evangelical Christian, and Republican who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 as well as the former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service (who spent 30 years, across 8 presidential administrations working for that agency), Furnish resigned in 2002 due to policy differences with the Bush administration. “I just viewed [the administration’s] actions as being regressive,” said Furnish. In acting according to his conscience, instead of waiting a year longer to maximize retirement benefits, Furnish lost out on about $10,000 a year for the rest of his life. Resigned, 2002.

    Mike Parker: In early 2002, Parker, the director of the Army Corps of Engineers testified before Congress that Bush-mandated budget cuts would have a “negative impact” on the Corps. He also admitted to holding no “warm and fuzzy” feelings toward the Bush administration. “Soon after,” reported the Christian Science Monitor, “he was given 30 minutes to resign or be fired.” In the wake of the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Parker’s clashes with Mitch Daniels, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, can be seen as prophetic. Parker remembered one such incident in which he brought Daniels, the Bush administration’s budget guru, a piece of steel from a Mississippi canal lock that “was completely corroded and falling apart because of a lack of funding,” and said, “Mitch, it doesn’t matter if a terrorist blows the lock up or if it falls down because it disintegrates – either way it’s the same effect, and if we let it fall down, we have only ourselves to blame.” He recalled of the incident, “It made no impact on him whatsoever.” Resigned, March 6, 2002.

    Sylvia K. Lowrance: A top Environmental Protection Agency official who served the agency for over 20 years, including as Assistant Administrator of its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance for the first 18 months of the Bush administration, Lowrance retired, stating, “We will see more resignations in the future as the administration fails to enforce environmental laws.” she said, “This Administration has pulled cases and put investigations on ice. They sent every signal they can to staff to back off.” Retired, August 2002.

    Bruce Boler: An EPA scientist who resigned from his post because, he said, “Wetlands are often referred to as nature’s kidneys. Most self-respecting scientists will tell you that, and yet [private] developers and officials [at the Army Corps of Engineers] wanted me to support their position that wetlands are, literally, a pollution source.” Resigned, October 23, 2003.

    Eric Schaeffer: After twelve years of service, including the last five as Director of the Office of Regulatory Enforcement, at the Environmental Protection Agency, Schaeffer submitted a letter of resignation over the Bush administration’s non-enforcement of the Clean Air Act. He later explained:

    “In a matter of weeks, the Bush administration was able to undo the environmental progress we had worked years to secure. Millions of tons of unnecessary pollution continue to pour from these power plants each year as a result. Adding insult to injury, the White House sought to slash the EPA’s enforcement budget, making it harder for us to pursue cases we’d already launched against other polluters that had run afoul of the law, from auto manufacturers to refineries, large industrial hog feedlots, and paper companies. It became clear that Bush had little regard for the environment-and even less for enforcing the laws that protect it. So last spring, after 12 years at the agency, I resigned, stating my reasons in a very public letter to Administrator [Christine Todd] Whitman.”

    Resigned, February 27, 2002.

    Bruce Buckheit: A 30-year veteran of government service, Buckheit retired in frustration over Bush administration efforts to weaken environmental regulations. When asked by NBC reporter Stone Phillips, “What’s the biggest enforcement challenge right now when it comes to air pollution?,” the former Senior Counsel with the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, and then Director of EPA’s Air Enforcement Division, was unequivocal: “The Bush Administration.” He went on to note that “this administration has decided to put the economic interests of the coal fired power plants ahead of the public interests in reducing air pollution.” Resigned, November 2003.

    Rich Biondi: A 32-year EPA employee, Biondi retired from his post as Associate Director of the Air Enforcement Division of the Environmental Protection Agency. He stated, “We weren’t given the latitude we had been, and the Bush administration was interfering more and more with the ability to get the job done. There were indications things were going to be reviewed a lot more carefully, and we needed a lot more justification to bring lawsuits.” Retired, December 2004.

    Martin E. Sullivan, Richard S. Lanier and Gary Vikan: Three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee, they all resigned from their posts to protest the looting of Baghdad’s National Museum of Antiquities. In his letter of resignation, Sullivan, the Committee’s chairman, wrote, “The tragedy was not prevented, due to our nation’s inaction,” while Lanier castigated “the administration’s total lack of sensitivity and forethought regarding the Iraq invasion and the loss of cultural treasures.” Resigned, April 14, 2003.

    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, eyes began to focus on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the political appointees running it. What had happened to the professionals who once staffed FEMA? In 2004, Pleasant Mann, a 17-year FEMA veteran who heads the agency’s government employee union told Indyweek:

    “Since last year, so many people have left who had developed most of our basic programs. A lot of the institutional knowledge is gone. Everyone who was able to retire has left, and then a lot of people have moved to other agencies.”

    Disillusionment with the current state of affairs at FEMA was cited as the major cause for the mass defections. In fact, a February 2004 survey by the American Federation of Government Employees found that 80% of a sample of remaining employees said FEMA had become “a poorer agency” since being shifted into the Bush-created Department of Homeland Security. What happened to FEMA has happened, in ways large and small, to many other federal agencies. In an article by Amanda Griscom in Grist magazine, Jeff Ruch, the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, made reference to the “unusually high” rate of replacement of scientists in government agencies during the Bush administration. “If the scientist gives the inconvenient answer they commit career suicide,” he said.

    However defined, the casualties of the Bush administration are legion. The numbers of government careers wrecked, disrupted, adversely affected, or tossed into turmoil as a result of this administration’s wars, budgets, policies, and programs is impossible to determine. Although every administration leaves bodies strewn in its wake, none in recent memory has come close to the Bush administration in producing so many public statements of resignation, dissatisfaction, or anger over treatment or policies. The aforementioned list of casualties includes among the best known of those who have resigned or left the administration under pressure (although not necessarily those who have suffered most from their acts). Perhaps no one knows exactly how many government workers, at all levels, have fallen in the face of the Bush administration. Those mentioned above are just a few of the highest profile members of this as yet uncounted legion, just a few of the names we know.

  43. Michael Herdegen - October 16, 2005 @ 8:52 am

    So what ?

    I read through the list, and it’s simply detailing the complaints of a bunch of egotists and malcontents, some of whom NOTHING HAPPENED TO !!

    Major (then Captain) John Carr and Major Robert Preston [and] Captain Carrie Wolf – Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.

    Oh my goodness, they were granted reassignments, and then Cpt. Carr was promoted !
    The horror !

    Richard Clarke was the most-correct person in the Clinton admin about fighting Islamofascist terror…
    But the Clinton admin ignored him too.

    Paul O’Neill was dead wrong about the tax cuts, according to Alan Greenspan.

    Eric Shinseki was CLEARLY wrong about the troop levels needed to occupy Iraq, since we’ve managed to do it with HALF the number that he maintained that we’d need, while taking fewer than 2,000 fatalities.
    Remember, more troops also means more targets for the insurgents, with no guarantee that more troops means fewer attacks.

    Charles “Jack” Pritchard, formerly the State Department’s senior “expert” on North Korea, makes the ASTOUNDING assertion that the “administration’s refusal to engage directly with the country made it almost impossible to stop Pyongyang from going ahead with its plans to build, test and deploy nuclear weapons.”
    However, North Korea was cheating on the Clinton admin’s Agreed Framework before the ink was dry, and they tested their first nuke in 1998, while Bush was still the Governor of Texas.

    James Furnish is simply a moron.

    Paul Redmond, Joanne Wilson, Teresa Chambers, Martha Hahn, and Mike Parker all quit or were fired due to their distress over their agencies’ budgets or authority being reduced.
    However, the fact that they wanted to remain important people in the Federal government in no way implies that their agencies’ budgets shouldn’t have been cut – decisions that the Bush admin made jointly with Congress, by the way.

    Then we have 28 mostly mid- or low-level bureaucrats and functionaries who resigned or were fired over differences of opinion over policy – but policy is ALWAYS set by the head of the organization, in this case Bush.
    If these folks had quit Hewlett-Packard over the merger with Compaq, would they be called “casualties” making up “a trail of broken careers” ?

    Most of these folks just went on to their next job, and several retired, with pensions intact. “Broken careers” my spleen.

    It’s just a fact of life that if you can’t get along with your boss, you’re going to get canned.
    It doesn’t mean that you were right, nor that you were wrong, it just means that you’re either unhappy or have poor people skills.

    The only person on the list that bothers me in the least is Bunnatine Greenhouse.

    Still, if all that Nick Turse can come up with over the first five years of the Bush admin is 41 people who were unhappy over policy issues, only six of whom have any case at all, plus one clear-cut case of injustice, I’d have to conclude that Bush is doin’ pretty well – a point that even Mr. Turse concedes:

    [E]very administration leaves bodies strewn in its wake…

    Keep digging, Mr. Turse, and come back when you find something useful.

  44. Tam O’Tellico - October 17, 2005 @ 4:03 pm


    I am happy to hear you are also concerned about the Bunnatine Greenhouse travesty. I happened to catch some of her testimony on CSPAN, and frankly, I found it chilling to say the least. But unlike you, I am unable to blithely dismiss all the other episodes mentioned in the quoted piece as merely a bunch of malcontents disagreeing over policy.

    It is plain that the disagreements which led to many of these persons being replaced were not over policy — unless you consider ignoring or altering scientific evidence legitimate public policy. Clearly, this administration suffers from a case of “if the facts don’t fit, you must alter it”. But when science is made a step-child to dogma, the results are always disastrous; that is true whether the dogma is a “terra-centric universe” or “intelligent design” or “global warming”. In the end, such irrational ideas can only lead to bad science, bad religion and bad policy. Ask Galileo.

    Nor do I regard paranoid secrecy as a necessary element of policy, and this administration has operated as though anyone who disagrees is an enemy to be removed and silenced no matter how insidious the methods. Take just one example you blithely dismiss:

    “Eric Shinseki was CLEARLY wrong about the troop levels needed to occupy Iraq, since we’ve managed to do it with HALF the number that he maintained that we’d need, while taking fewer than 2,000 fatalities.
    Remember, more troops also means more targets for the insurgents, with no guarantee that more troops means fewer attacks.”

    In fact, your argument is Rumsfeld’s, and that is exactly why we are in are present straits in Iraq. Frankly, I prefer Shineski’s foresight to Rumsfeld’s hindsight, and I still say the best advice Bush got was from Colin Powell (another victim of this adminstration’s machinations):

    “If you break it, you bought it.”

    It wasn’t just that Shineski was removed for offering his opinions; he was publicly humiliated for daring to disagree. Forgive me, but I thought that sort of freedom was the last excuse we were offered for this idioitic war. It appears that excuse was merely the last refuge of scoundrels.

    Furthermore, I would argue Shineski was CLEARLY right about troop levels, and that just as he warned, trying to go to war half-assed and on the cheap has left us CLEARLY more vulnerable. We certainly know that having fewer American soldiers encouraged looters in Iraq, just as having no National Guard encouraged looters in New Orleans. In fact, the chief complaint of most Iraqis is not that we deposed Saddam and his henchmen — for that they are indeed grateful — but that we failed to replace them with any semblance of a police force. It is this indifference or appearance of indifference to the legitimate safety concerns of ordinary Iraqis that has made our occupation to this point a failure.

    And I do mean failure, for if you truly believe we control Iraq with our present level of forces — which by the way is far larger than Rumsfeld recommended in the beginning, take a ride from the Green Zone to the Bagdhad airport — a route that is obviously a very high priority. But we don’t control even that important route, and it’s CLEARLY not safe.

    CLEARLY, our bumbling prosecution of the peace (as opposed to our overwhelming success in the war) has made us the fool and has encouraged old enemies and created new ones. We do not have the insurgents under control, and any lull in the action is because they are simply nursing their wounds and biding their time.

    Finally, your argument in this instance seems a bit absurd. If less is more and having fewer soldiers and fewer targets means fewer deaths, then we should have even fewer troops. Okay, I accept your argument, but for my own reasons. Let’s bring all the troops home!

    But now that fools have gotten us into this fix, I’m afraid that leaving will only exacerbate our problems. So we are left to vacillate like Hamlet, just as I’m sure many of those confronted by this administration vacillated while trying to decide whether to speak out against the madness or suffer in silence.

    Those who chose to speak out are long-gone from this administration. But those who suffered in silence are now beginning to take their revenge against the tyranny. The lowly are beginning to speak and leak, and it will not be long before the sordid truth begins to appear. And when it does, there are more than a few in this administration who will have real reason for their paranoia.

  45. Michael Herdegen - October 17, 2005 @ 10:38 pm

    Yes, I may be wrong about several of these people.

    My point is simply the same as yours – that these situations aren’t clear cut.

    Time will tell.

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