WASHINGTON—No matter how bracing Arnold’s California victory was for the GOP, Bush is going to have to do something about the guerrilla war in Iraq as well as the fighting in Afghanistan. As the president stood before the New Hampshire National Guard this morning, once more reciting his mantra about our victory against terror on the “central front” in Iraq, guerrillas blew up a Baghdad police center and killed Spain’s information attaché to occupied Iraq. Aside from Britain, Spain was the only major government to join the U.S. coalition, which also included places like Albania, Latvia, and the Ukraine. And while the Spanish government went in with Bush, the Spanish populace seemed overwhelmingly opposed to the Iraq war, considering that tens of thousands of Spaniards took to the streets before it started.
Not only does fighting war in faraway places cost billions of American taxpayer dollars, but now Israel wants more money to support Sharon’s wild foreign policy, which has widened from the daily bashing of Palestinians to attacks on Lebanon and Syria.
The simplest way for the president to help himself is to dump Donald Rumsfeld, the Strangelovian figure who heads a runaway Department of Defense. At home, Rumsfeld has built himself an intelligence apparatus that competes with the CIA. He has his own foreign policy, created and executed by a unique set of neocon foreign policy advisers. With his crew of apparatchiks, Rumsfeld can brush aside Secretary of State Colin Powell and even drag Bush along in the wake. The Pentagon has the biggest budget in the government. While the rest of the nation talks about fiscal integrity, the Pentagon applies its own strange brand of Keynesian economics, pumping more and more dollars into the military-industrial complex. Rumsfeld has no accountability and never has had. All this while he oversees not only the Iraq war efforts but also the political and economic terms of the occupation.
Internationally, Rumsfeld’s HQ is the center of the attack on the United Nations. Rumsfeld created and endorsed the “new Europe,” that ragtag group of Kremlin leftovers and others who have replaced, in Bush flackery, the “old Europe” led by France and Germany. This week, just as Bush was trying to mend ties with Germany and France, Rumsfeld lost it with a German broadcast reporter, snippily asking him, “Can’t you understand English?” The White House tried to laugh it off as just one more example of Grandpa Rummy’s grumpy good humor.
Internally, Rumsfeld tries to use the same bulldozing tactics on rival agencies. Last week he openly scorned CIA intelligence estimates.
But it’s on the other side of the planet where Rumsfeld is doing the most damage. That’s where he presides over an Iraq that is soon to be engorged with $87 billion in pork-barrel money paid out to U.S. corporations screwing around with training police, building police headquarters buildings, and trying to guard the nation’s dilapidated oil industry, its pipelines, and the airport—all of which is described in great detail in today’s Washington Post.
As Rummy celebrates the New Europe, the Old Europe is striking back. Reports today are that Russia is moving to sell its oil in euros—not dollars—a very big slap in the face to the already dwindling purchasing power of the U.S. dollar and a body blow to the U.S.’s standing at the center of the global economy. Isn’t it time to take away Grandpa Rummy’s license?
Research: Ashley Glacel