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When Iraq Calls Us Incompetent, We Have Work To Do

Well......we have that in common, anyway

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, April 04, 2007.

NPR’s Iraq correspondent Ann Garrells recently said that Iraqi “resentment and disbelief in the incompetence of America was profound.” That’s something we share with them. The man who made his incompetence ours was elected in a process that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and we should get more for that money. Let’s look at the presidential candidates for 2008, skipping over lesser offerings like Biden and Tancredo.

An example of Bush’s incompetence and his lies to conceal them is his claim that Iraq is improving during the Surge. Garrells says that’s news to her, because the dangerous, one-way, seven-mile taxi ride between the airport and downtown Baghdad costs $3500 to $5000. The alleged Republican front-runner was just there and is fluffing the Bush line. John McCain’s main attraction is our guilt for his imprisonment and torture in a previous pointless war we demanded he fight. Crippled, John McCain is now old and thinks a walk through a Baghdad market with a hundred highly armed soldiers and five helicopters above and his sheltered body further protected with a flack jacket is an illustrative example of how Bush’s Surge, which he supports, is working.

McCain can no longer be thought of as the principled maverick, either. He once told the religious right to get bent, he once stood up to the moneyed Bush family’s political machine, he once made us all proud that we produced men of his sort, son and grandson of famous admirals, who learned from ordeal and sought no vengeance. But he bent and then broke to get the Bush backing, he’s suckled up to the Christian Right in a most unseemly way, he nearly salivates at the thought of the Presidency. It’s over, though. McCain is third in money raised in the first quarter of this year among the GOP.

The winner was the Mormon Mitt Romney, who carpet-bagged his way to the Massachusetts governor’s mansion, and whose father also ran for President until he mentioned he’d been brainwashed in Vietnam by our own military, a politically poor choice of words, however accurate in retrospect. The younger Romney has reversed his opinions on so many issues - from abortion to gays in the military - to try and get conservative backing, the fact he’s a Mormon may not arise as an issue till that dust settles. He has at present only single digit support, and yet he raised all this money. Creepy. But he's competent.

The real glaring hypocrite is poll leader Rudi Giuliani. Not only did this former federal prosecutor and New York Mayor promote Bernard Keric to positions of authority for which the man was not qualified and who routinely abused his power, Rudi pushed Keric upon Bush as the head of Homeland Security. Bush’s notably lousy HR department was all for it, since loyalty was the criteria, but Keric’s felonies and incompetence caught up with him in time. As it stands, he’s about to be indicted for Mob connections. This is the guy Rudi and Dubya wanted in charge of our nation’s security.

Giuliani himself still poses as a Catholic, which apparently was okay in a municipal Catholic hierarchy famous for hypocrisy and corruption. He was married to his second cousin for sixteen years before, he claimed, he knew they were cousins, and got his marriage annulled. He married a divorcee and eventually cheated on her openly despite their children. He divorced her for another woman, also married three times. His children don’t seem to like him much. His glowing moments were during 9-11, when he was indeed a rock of stability. He has vindictive and power hungry characteristics, and let’s not forgets he wanted New York City to postpone the mayoral election so he could stay in office longer.

On the Democratic side, we have Barack Obama and John Edwards. Edwards served one term as a United States Senator. He’s obviously a good guy, smart, and learns fast. What we don’t know is can he run anything beyond his admittedly successful law practice. That’s tons more than we know about Barack Obama, who has yet to finish his first Senatorial term and hasn’t really got much of a resume for President. He’s also sharp, and a compelling politico and speaker, but he’s a construct of PC positions.

Then, there’s Bill Richardson, who is totally qualified except he brings all of Bill Clinton’s bad behavior with him, if rumor is fact.

This leaves Senator Clinton, who I try hard to like. I agree with her on a lot of things, not all, and she is clearly very smart. Can she ever be as good a public speaker as her husband, as good at touching so many shared emotions in a mass audience and leading them to water? No, I think not. Does that matter? It certainly can. We currently have a president who not only cannot lead when he has every egg to be had in his basket, he can’t follow when he loses some, either. Worse, he doesn’t notice the difference. Even the Arab street noticed.

It’s not the failures that gall, it’s the incompetence and inability to react and improve. When Iraq justifiably calls us incompetent, we have got to do better next time.