Richard Cohen, feeling rather full of himself, lectures the President of the United States about Accountability. If you have any doubt about what form Cohen’s article took, just recall that Cohen writes under a copyright called the “Washington Post Writer’s Group”.
Anyway, in a rant in the New York Daily News entitled “Enough. Let’s Try ‘Accountability’”, Cohen goes off on Dubya, and like most Liberals, he ignores the facts and just goes off on a tantrum. Given his scale of audience, it seems appropriate to answer him according to context and perspective.
Cohen begins, as a good Liberal, by attacking the President on Iraq, saying “In his Sunday night speech to the nation, Bush once again ran up this tattered rhetorical banner: ``I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.'"
Yes, Mr. Cohen, the President made clear that the decision to remove Saddam Hussein, install a democratic republic, rebuild the infrastructure and protect the security of the entire region was his choice. That’s hardly “tattered”, Mister Cohen, especially in the light of the just-completed elections in Iraq, where turnout was extremely high and confidence extremely strong. Many millions of people, including many Americans, consider this to be a good thing, actually even a sign of victory and a wise decision by the President. It speaks volumes that Cohen would still regard the decision as a mistake, something which seems to be the starting point for any Liberal talking point.
Cohen goes on:
“I take responsibility,'' he said Sept. 13 about the botched Hurricane Katrina relief effort.”
Of course, anyone familiar with the actual events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, is well aware that the breakdown began with Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, and it was only when the federal officials were allowed to take charge, that supplies and organized relief began to work. So again, where the actual actions by the President were effective and useful, Cohen prefers to assign blame, in clear defiance of the evidence and actual events.
Cohen, having displayed clear Liberal credentials, now moves into his true message:
“This recitation of the obvious is a bit of clumsy rhetorical strutting, but also a way of ducking the ultimate in responsibility: accountability. This is something Bush will not accept or countenance. He will not be trammeled or constrained or answer to any person. He will, as we recently learned, not give a fig for the law as passed by Congress when it comes to restrictions on domestic spying. He asserts, but does not show, that asking for a warrant from the special intelligence court would endanger the country and -- his idea of a jolly-good debating point -- shows irritation when pressed.”
Here Cohen proves himself quite the fool. In the first place, the Liberal assertion that President Bush must take blame and prostrate himself for the unforgivable sin of doing his job is the usual flame game we see from pompous asses like Cohen in places like New York or Los Angeles. But more, Cohen fails to recognize that the authority for the surveillance came from Congress. As much as Cohen would like to cast Bush as a dictator who cares nothing for the law, Cohen would do well to go back and actually take a look at the Congressional bills passed since September 11th.
I also find the “domestic spying” canard amusing, although the malicious deceit applied by the Mainstream Media is a bit disturbing. That is, the “spying” means that certain phone calls, under certain conditions, are surveilled, examined to see if they represent a threat. This is no different than a police officer following a car which is acting strangely, to decide whether it may be driven by a drunk driver, or whether the driver is involved in some other illicit activity. Drug smugglers have been caught, specifically because a police officer followed their truck or car for a while to see why they were acting strangely. That has never been illegal, and in practical use, paying attention to people who mention bombs, names of specific terrorist individuals and groups, or otherwise reference suspicious behavior.
Further, the United States has done this for years under a variety of circumstances and conditions, it’s not something which just started under President Bush. During the War of 1812, troops would enter the house of a suspected spy to determine whether the person inside was acting against American security. Same during the Civil War, and in all the Wars of the 20th Century, from the First World War through the Second, Korea, and Vietnam, the government regularly intercepted mail and phone calls involving international communications and soldiers, and this was commonly understood to be a necessary security action to protect lives and secrets. That has not changed now, despite Mister Cohen’s intense desire to protect the sanctity of people discussing terrorists and bombs while on the phone to foreign countries.
Undeterred by facts or a functional sense of history, Coehn then says “It was the same with the intelligence failure that was Bush's prime justification for the war. The president asserts repeatedly that he's responsible for that -- but so is Congress. It saw the same intelligence. But it is the president who runs the spy agencies, not Congress, and it is he who ought to be accountable for their dismal performance.”
If anything proves Cohen to be both an idiot and a liar, this claim does it. Liberals have always screamed about the need for a Congressional Authorization for War, even though the 2002 Congressional action was the first undeniable authorization for the use of force in almost half a century. Actually, I think that’s the heart of it – Liberals are outraged that President Bush can point to a clear, specific authorization by Congress.
What’s more, Cohen surely remembers that the reason we went to war in Iraq was because the Intelligence Community, not just here in the U.S., but also in the United Kingdom, in Russia, even in France, agreed that Saddam very likely had WMD, and if he had them he certainly planned to use them. In fact, David Kay explained later that if anything, the instability in Iraq in 2002 made Saddam even more dangerous than we thought, and Kay said the decision to invade was the right one. Does Cohen mean to say that President Bush also controls the opinions and recommendations of Intelligence Agencies in Europe and Asia, too? And no, Bush does not “run” the “spy agencies”, he appoints the Director of the CIA. Other agencies are overseen by the military, and by Congress. We should also recall that the chief deficiency of the Intelligence Community in answering the question of WMD, was Human Intelligence, and for that issue we must fall back to the Clinton Doctrine of depending on Satellite Reconnaissance and reducing field agents. In other words, if you feel you have to pin the Intel blunder on a specific person, the “Gorelick” Wall at the Department of Justice, and the Clinton Doctrine of reducing HUMINT in the region are the two chief causes for the poor information used to make such a critical decision. I have no intention of blaming President Clinton for this, because I understand the limits to what a President can anticipate and plan, but I observe that Cohen has wholly missed the cause and nature of the error – it’s just so much easier for him to lie so that he can blame President Bush.
So, one must wonder why Mister Cohen is so desperate to smear President Bush. Surely he realizes that President Bush, with a rising Approval rate and a solidly Republican Congress, is not about to be cowed by a man who can’t bother to get his facts straight, and whose hatred for the President has clearly unbalanced him. The truth comes out as Mister Cohen closes his little rant:
“He works with the same team of happy incompetents who failed him once (bad intelligence), then again (going to war), then again (the administration of it) and then again (postwar reconstruction). A responsible leader would get some people around him with the guts to challenge him. This is a White House of the meek.
Finally, the ``responsibility president'' would understand that his crew has lost all credibility. He cannot expect a nation, and in particular its military, to accept the assurances of people who will be mocked by history or to have faith in leaders whose failures are sadly obvious in the only ledger that really matters -- the body count in Iraq.”
And there it is. The Bush Administration, far from being the dismal band of failures Mister Cohen hopes we will believe, is actually quite accomplished in their success. It occurs to me that Mister Cohen might perceive what I do; that while Neither Bush nor Cheney will be running for office in 2008 (although Cohen seems to have the Liberal’s requisite fear of anything involving Cheney), there are others within the White House who may do quite well indeed in a Presidential campaign run. Cohen and his ilk would hate, beyond words, the effectiveness of a Republican President elected in 2008, if that Republican happened to be named Rice or Chertoff, or someone who thinks like Bush, say, Kyl or Barbour. So, they must be demonized, by proxy and as a group until they know at whom to aim their vitriol.
In summary, only a fool, a malicious liar, that is to say, a Liberal spokesman, would pretend that the war in Iraq is of no import beyond counting bodies. That was not the ledger for victory in any war of consequence, and it is a typical but mean slap form the Left, to so attempt to diminish the work and accomplishment of our military, and of their Commander in Chief. Millions of Iraqis and Afghanistans are free to build their own future, because of Bush’s decision and the efforts of the U.S. Military. The entire Middle East is more secure because the United States acted with decision and resolve. The authority and influence of the United States is unmatched, because President Bush was clear and thorough in his decisions, promises, and actions. You are fooling nobody, Mister Cohen, and there is no honor in your blatant attempt to smear a far better man than yourself.