Sunday, September 24, 2006

Losing the Iraq War - A Carefully Wrought Plan

The Republican Party has a nickname, Grand Old Party, or GOP for short. That was a nice catchy nickname in a bygone era, but not too meaningful today. I humbly suggest a new nickname with the same acronym.

Get On Payroll

That's what Republicans are all about, you see. When you are in power, your people get on the payroll.

The Washington Post ran a story on just this kind of thing last Sunday. I missed it. I was grading tests. But now that I've read it, and you should, too, I'm madder than a one-legged pole vaulter.

Case in point. Who do we send to rebuild Iraq? Our best and brightest? No way. After the dust settled in Iraq, the White House maintained an office in the Pentagon whose sole task was to interview potential hirelings of the 1500-strong Coalition Provisional Authority or CPA. The screening process was to make sure these people were politically correct. They were asked questions about whether they voted for Dubya in 2000, whether they approved the way the government was handling things in Iraq, and whether they thought that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Correct answerers got the job, incorrect answerers were shown the door.

No, instead of sending our best and brightest, they sent our least and loyal.

They sent a 24-year old financial naïf to reconstruct the destroyed Baghdad Stock Exchange.

They sent the accountant daughter of a neo-con supporter to manage the $13 billion Iraq budget.

To oversee Iraq's public health system they replaced a physician with a master's degree in public health and postgraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and the University of California at Berkeley with a social worker who ran a large Christian adoption agency in Michigan that urged pregnant women not to have abortions.

Of this, Frederick Smith, who served as the deputy director of the CPA's Washington office observed:
"We didn't tap -- and it should have started from the White House on down -- just didn't tap the right people to do this job. "It was a tough, tough job. Instead we got people who went out there because of their political leanings."
Is it any wonder that after three years, Iraq is still in a shambles? Is it any wonder that, in Iraq, militias spring up daily? Were I an Iraqi citizen during these times, I would be taking a hard look at the people being sent over to rebuild my country, their programs and motives, and maybe start thinking about some alternatives.

Harry Truman rebuilt Europe with The Marshall Plan. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld rebuilt Iraq with The Sycophant Plan.

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