Even British Conservatives Think It’s a Rum Business

Even the UK's Telegraph is running away from this one.

Rumsfeld is running this operation like a pizza parlour: Mr Rumsfeld has expressed his profound regret, although it is not entirely clear whether that is chiefly for the treatment of the Iraqis or the political damage that the scandal has caused the US government. He has, however, refused to resign, and – according to the recent polls – 70 per cent of the American public agrees with his decision.

I found it rather confusing, however, when Mr Rumsfeld also indicated that he would “resign in a minute” if he felt he could not be an effective leader. On that basis, he should be gone already: he has already proved an ineffective leader, and will be much less effective in the wake of this miserable scandal. For what has leaked out of Abu Ghraib, along with the stomach-churning whiff of chaos and sadism, is the fundamental incompetence in the running of the US military from the top down.

As for George W. Bush, the Telegraph produces the best narrative of events from a bureaucratic perspective I've seen yet. Read this article and ask yourself how it could be that no one told the President?

At some stages the answer plausibly is, 'Because no one showed the pictures to Rumsfeld' (perhaps on the theory that if you keep the pictures locked in a safe in Iraq, they're less likely to leak?) and thus he had no chance to see just how bad it was.

But the plausibility of that answer vanishes once the Pentagon learned that 60 Minutes had the pictures. And still no one told Bush. Rumsfeld et al are trying to say it was just a mistake. No way. Too many people made that mistake. No, it's either a massive CYA attempt gone wrong (and you'd think they'd been around too long the think the press would sit on this story for long? or are they that used to a tame press?) or, most likely, no one thought to tell GWB because, well, why would you?

(I'd sure like to know when they told Cheney — why hasn't anyone asked that question?)

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One Response to Even British Conservatives Think It’s a Rum Business

  1. Brad DeLong says:

    But it would have been incredibly irresponsible to tell the P… to tell George W. Bush. He would make a snap decision, without gathering information, without having the patience to let the issues be thrashed out in front of him. And he is then so stubborn that it would have been next-to-impossible to move him off that decision. And the decision would probably have been to do something stupid.

    Anyone who tells George W. Bush about anything until the issue and his prejudices have been carefully aligned to produce the greatest probability of a good outcome is not serving their country.

    Brad DeLong

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