November 17, 2004


The day of reckoning has arrived for the Bush-hating foreign policy elite (GERARD BAKER, 11/18/004, Times of London)

THE RECASTING of George Bush's foreign policy team this week reminds me of one of the favourite Thatcherite observations on the administration of government. After a year or two observing the Civil Service, Norman Tebbit began to say that he now understood how Whitehall departments worked.

“The Ministry of Agriculture looks after the interests of farmers,” he said. “The Department of Trade and Industry looks after the interests of businessmen. And the Foreign Office looks after the interests of . . . foreigners.”

For the past four years the interests of foreigners in Washington have been thoroughly well looked after by the congenial and sophisticated people who inhabit Foggy Bottom, the home of the State Department.

Though Colin Powell himself served with characteristic loyalty and dedication as the head of the department, and though many of his officials worked tirelessly for policies that they sometimes disagreed with, there was never much doubt that the prevailing sentiment at State was that it was their job to rein in and, if possible, halt the lunatic policies of the ignorant cowboy who had become President of the United States.

It is not difficult to find people at the State Department who speak with open contempt of Mr Bush and his policies. Outside Manhattan, there was probably nowhere more miserable the day after his re-election in the entire country.

Many diplomats and officials have honourably resigned in the past four years. Others have struggled on into the gathering gloom, clinging to the distant hope that John Kerry, the son of a foreign service officer, would ride to their rescue.

At the CIA, there has been a similar anti-Bush rage, though with different roots. For years, conservatives have been highly critical of the folk at Langley, believing, not without justification, that a well-funded espionage organisation that has missed two of the biggest developments in recent modern history — the decay and collapse of the Soviet Union and the threat from Islamic terrorism — needed a bit of an overhaul.

The agency has retaliated with an unprecedented onslaught against the President. A series of leaks from Langley in the last few months of the presidential campaign — about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism — were carefully timed to ensure that Mr Bush was defeated.

November 2 put paid to the high hopes of the State Department. As for the CIA, mark the election result down as just another of its failed attempts at regime change.

Now comes the reckoning.

Now this is a wise essay.

Blood in the Potomac (Tony Blankley, 11/17/04, Washington Times)

If you think the fighting has been rough in Fallujah, wait until you see Washington in the springtime. President Bush's early personnel decisions for the second term suggest that he is preparing, unilaterally, to take on not only our foreign enemies, but also the Democrats and Washington's most cunning and vicious bureaucracies-all at the same time. This is heroism in its classic form. Hector, Lysander — move over. (Note to the president: Come heavily armed. Both Hector and Lysander died in battle, Hector's corpse being dragged by Achilles behind his chariot before the walls of Troy.) [...]

With the nominations of Condoleezza Rice at State, Porter Goss at CIA, Donald Rumsfeld (or an equally tough replacement) at Defense and Stephen Hadley at NSC, the president has created an all-Patton foreign and defense team. Moreover, he has a team that understands that among the necessary targets of their firepower must be, not only our foreign enemies, but also the slouching, sly, insubordinate bureaucrats under their chain of command.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 17, 2004 6:11 PM

Well, I think it needs to be done, but Bush is playing with fire by going after the CIA and State. I hope he survives it - literally. I'd hate to see him assassinated.

Posted by: Bret at November 17, 2004 8:37 PM


Would you want to be in the CIA or State during a Cheney presidency?

Posted by: oj at November 17, 2004 8:43 PM

A series of leaks from Langley in the last few months of the presidential campaign about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism were carefully timed to ensure that Mr Bush was defeated.

And Bush remembers.

In Texas, you don't bushwhack your boss in the back.

Payback time.

Posted by: Ken at November 17, 2004 8:47 PM

Something about if you are going to commit regicide, injuring him isn't enough. But tht line about "just another of its failed attempts at regime change" is perfect.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 17, 2004 9:53 PM

It would be the first mission the CIA handeled successfully in decades.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 17, 2004 10:10 PM

Burn baby burn!

Posted by: at November 17, 2004 11:08 PM

Hey is Bush gonna stand godfather at someone's christening anytime soon?

Shades of the end of Godfather I:

"Today I settle all Family business"

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 17, 2004 11:13 PM

One wonders if the CIA would have been reformed earlier if Bill Clinton required it to actually do something. Or if Tom Clancy hadn't convinced middle America that it could do something.

Also, it is now obvious that having so many lawyers at Langley is not wise.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 17, 2004 11:17 PM

Reform of the CIA should be a top priority.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at November 18, 2004 12:16 AM

Fortunately Bush is pretty overt in both his messages and his plans, because any covert operations that involve the CIA or State under the current climate are going to be about as secret as the next Paris Hilton video. But were the administration to consider action against Iran, Syria, North Korea or elsewhere, they're going to have to be very careful about the preparation to keep it off the front pages of the Times or the Post.

Posted by: John at November 18, 2004 1:01 AM