A Tale of Two Incompetents (Bush and Rumsfeld)

Bilde ""Yes, sir. Our report validated everything you told us — that Franks issued the orders to discard the original twelve-to-eighteen-month occupation deployment, that the forces were drawing down, that we were walking away from the mission, and that everybody knew about it. And let me tell you, the Secretary did not like that one bit. After we went in to brief him, he just shut us down. ‘This is not going anywhere,’ he said. ‘Oh, and by the way, leave all the copies right here and don’t talk to anybody about it.’"

"You mean he embargoed all the copies of the report?" I asked.

"Yes, sir, he did." "  Time


This is the characteristic Rumsfeld style; cruel, manipulative, unconcerned with the truth, eager to escape responsibility for failure.  He knows these generals are completely self-serving careerists and that they can be made to do anything that is desired by the implied or direct promise of reward or the threat of punishment.  These modern generals have been cultivatd like plants to have the reactions of people on the way up in the business world where the war of "all against all" is the underlying psychological paragdigm.  The inappropriateness of this mind set in the military world where cooperation and self sacrifice are called for completely escapes Rumsfeld.  For the blind, selfish narrowmindedness that leads to that fatal incomprehension, Rumsfeld must be judged incompetent.  pl


""What’s probably counterintuitive to you is that this has been a great experience for our family. I’ve lived in the White House now for seven and a half years, and the furniture is interesting but it’s like a museum," he said, the crowd laughing.

"And there’s love in that White House, thanks to a good wife," Mr. Bush said of first lady Laura Bush, as the crowd applauded. "She’s great … which is one of the reasons this has been a fabulous experience.""  Washtimes


It is a far, far better place that he goes to… and the sooner the better.  He says he might be a talk show host?  Yes.  He can do an afternoon radio show from Crawford, something akin to the radio fandango in "Tuna, Texas."  The grotesque buffoonery of this man offends the eye and the soul.  "A fabulous experience?"  History will judge him.  A true incompetent.  pl


This entry was posted in Current Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to A Tale of Two Incompetents (Bush and Rumsfeld)

  1. Arun says:

    We reelected him. History will not be kind to us either.

  2. radiofreewill says:

    According to Gen. Sanchez, before Rumsfeld ‘reviews’ with him the 2 page “Who told CENTCOM to leave?” Memo, this exchange occurs:
    “Ric, I wanted to tell you that I’m interested in giving you some options for follow-on employment as a civilian in the Department of Defense.” Rumsfeld then talked about a possibility with either the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. There was a director they were thinking of moving to make room for me, he explained.
    “Well, I’ll consider that, sir, but I’m not making any commitments. I have some other opportunities I need to explore.”

    Is there Any Other Way to interpret that conversation except as Rumsfeld Offering a Quid Pro Quo to collude on a Cover Story?
    Hat Tip to Gen. Sanchez for meeting the Moral Weakness of the Powerful with the Integrity of a Principled Leader – Huzza!
    Like my father told me when I was growing up – “No one can take your Integrity away. Only you can give it away.”

  3. JohnH says:

    A true incompetent?
    When you preside over the deaths of a million people and squander a few $Trillion, it’s more than incompetent.
    Incompetence is defensible. Knowingly criminal behavior, though incompetent, is not.

  4. LJ says:

    My recollection is that Bush used the same technique in an TV interview in which he expressed some bewilderment about how the dissolution of the Iraqi happened. The policy was to not do this but somehow it happened anyway. No follow-up question.

  5. Buzz Meeks says:

    A great experience for his family. That must make four thousand families across the country feel grateful they could supply the First S—s with an awesome time for the last seven and a half years.
    I hope RICO proceedings are started January 21, 2009 against anyone who put time in with these traitors.
    Buzz Meeks

  6. Will says:

    i wish i knew what he was talking about
    “There’s not a doubt in my mind that they all embraced this decision to some degree. And if it had not been for the moral courage of Gen. John Abizaid to stand up to them all and reverse Franks’s troop drawdown order, there’s no telling how much more damage would have been done.
    In the meantime, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars were unnecessarily spent, and worse yet, too many of our most precious military resource, our American soldiers, were unnecessarily wounded, maimed, and killed as a result. In my mind, this action by the Bush administration amounts to gross incompetence and dereliction of duty. ”

  7. arbogast says:

    Well, the quote from A Tale of Two Cities is slightly misplaced, simply because the notion of sacrifice or goodness is foreign to Bush, but Dickens would have had a field day with him. He is a Dickens character to his hair roots.
    The difference between Bush and Nixon is that Nixon was a moderately intelligent man. Bush is a moron. He is now the most unpopular and loathed President in history, which just shows that P.T. Barnum was not always right.

  8. Will says:

    ok, i get it, CENTCOM staff pulled out and left Sanchez untrained in COIN and strategy and without benefit of the preplanning in charge. But, of course, Wolfwitz, then No. 2 at the Pentagon had said they never anticipated that Saddam had preplanned a muqqawammah or intifida, an insurgency- duh. But they were all willing to send over Jefferies from Gitmo to show him how to do Abu Ghraib.

  9. basil_jelly says:

    I never thought I could look back on Nixon’s ‘Checker’s speech” and wish we could have someone that honest again. But that time has come.

  10. Sanchez is just ticked off about not getting promoted and wants to sell his book. Bush and Rummy did a great job.
    See how easy that is!
    Back to yard work. Ugh.

  11. Montag says:

    I hope we can do better than history to judge him, since Bush loses his legal immunity at 12:01 PM on Jan. 20, 2009. Democratic Underground had a good take on some bizarre comments he made to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush is #1 of their Top 10 Conservative Idiots:
    Perhaps Shakespeare beat us all to it. In Richard III, Act I, Scene III, he has Richard say:
    “I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad,
    That wrens may prey where eagles dare not perch:
    Since every Jack became a gentleman,
    There’s many a gentle person made a Jack.”

  12. frogspawn says:

    I saw this yesterday (Friday) morning, and the only two places I’ve seen it referred to since are here and Firedoglake. This should be front-paged everywhere.
    “The grotesque buffoonery of this man offends the eye and the soul.”
    The Bush legacy in a nutshell- thank you, Col.

  13. taters says:

    Thank you for a most excellent read, Col. Lang. You truly are a poet, sir.

  14. jon says:

    My first thought was that all of this can be sorted out at the Hague. But a mature country should be able to deal with problems of its own making.
    As part of the security precautions for Bush after he leaves office, I’f like to suggest a double row of 12′ high cyclone fence topped with concertina wire encircling Crawford. And no gate.
    Rummy might just have to stand at his desk a bit longer. naked, drugged, with a sack on his head, speed metal and the Teletubbies song blaring, while it’s freezing/boiling, and his arms chained up to the sprinkler pipe behind him. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t approach the pain of organ failure or death. Besides, it’s not like I want him to suffer. He should just think a little about his actions, and maybe receive a little encouragement to sharpen up his famous recollection.
    The comparison of quotes is poignant. They’re an ideal representation of mendacity. Corrupt, incompetent hypocrites, the whole lot.
    Maybe they can empty bedpans at the VA, and help amputees with their rehab. But that might let them become objects of pity, and that would be wrong.

  15. par4 says:

    A lot worse than just incompetence. Psychopathy and criminal negligence better describes this disaster of a President.

  16. Forrest says:

    “The grotesque buffoonery of this man offends the eye and the soul.”
    Despite all the gnashing of teeth and spilling of ink during the time Bush has been in office, nothing I’ve seen yet in print encapsulates more truthfully or more expressively the fundamental essence of both him and his presidency. Well said indeed!

  17. Neil Richardson says:

    Dear COL Lang,
    Perhaps the Army should waive the current age limit and ask Bush if he wants to enlist. He would have a much better chance than a 19 year old kid who won’t have a Secret Service detail to cover his rear.
    Bush heard tales of all-night tea drinking sessions to coax local residents into cooperating, and of tribesmen crossing mountains to attend government meetings seen as building blocks for the country’s democracy-in-the-making.
    “I must say, I’m a little envious,” Bush said. “If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed.”
    “It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks,” Bush said.

  18. alaric410 says:

    “Quo usque tandem abutere, Georgius, patentia nostra?” My apologies to Cicero, but this is nothing but treason. Keep up the good work Colonel.

  19. The Republicans got what they wished for namely son of Bush. Now let’s measure both the father and son legacy in the middle-east together. That legacy needs full analysis from January 20, 1989 to January 20, 2009. Why encompass the Clinton era between the Bushs because a remarkably large number of Clinton policies were Bush policies. If there is a published open source analysis demonstrating that Clinton foreign policy in the middle-east differed significantly from the bookend Bush Presidents please enlighten me. Both Bush and Clinton families are going down in history together whatever the 2008 outcome. A remarkable 20 year frittering away of American soft and hard power. A bipartisan and disasterous foreign policy for two decades in the middle-east.

  20. Mark K Logan says:

    I wonder what Dickens might have done with the aspect of Rumsfeld trying to get his father fired as
    CIA director. The father watching his own son allow the man to come to power,
    (to discredit his his own judgment?) and then suffer mightily from the the mans incompetence and arrogance.

  21. Publius says:

    Although it’s my sense that Ricardo Sanchez is yet another in a long line of general officers who can’t be trusted, I actually find him credible in this story about Rumsfeld. I don’t think he’s imaginative enough to make it up, even in the current extreme CYA mode, where he is desperately seeking people to blame to divert us from his own shortcomings.
    But there is one area where I don’t believe Sanchez. And that’s where he professes surprise at the fact that there was a Phase IV plan, the one he’s now saying Franks, Rumsfeld, et al, pitched over the side, thus leaving him holding the bag. No way anyone should ever believe that. Sanchez insults our intelligence by asking that we believe it. Sanchez’s whole schtick is being the minority general who wasn’t brought into the big picture by the bigots in charge. This is a three-star general talking.
    Sanchez has to profess ignorance of Phase IV planning to cover up the fact that he neglected to ask a lot of hard questions—along with demanding resources—at the time. He won’t sell many books if his role as a unquestioning yes-man for Bremer and the rest is confirmed. Just remember, this latter-day rebel was a three-star-general who apparently never asked any questions. Three-star-generals have clout, no matter who they are. Sanchez chose not to use it. He is a coconspirator.
    Rumsfeld: It’s hard to escape the impression that he’s suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Don’t laugh. Think of Reagan’s last years.
    Bush? I like the term “grotesque buffoonery” very much. I once thought he was just that, along with being an oafish frat boy who cares nothing about himself. But I always thought there was some actual intelligence there. Now I see this tra-la-la interview, where I learn that being a president’s son is more difficult than being president, and where he and his family have really enjoyed their time in the White House, and I see where the term “moron” is in favor these days. ISTM this man is either indeed either a moron or he’s clinically insane.

  22. Tim says:

    Guys and Girls, The grotesque buffoon was re-elected. Any comment?

  23. rjj says:

    The buffoon has one important function, and he performs it well: he is an animus magnet.
    It never fails, though few suppose he got up one morning and, after his PB&J, said:

    “Say, Dicktat,** I was just thinking your old pal Rummy would make an awesome Defense Secretary.”

    ** or “Sir” [he might not use pet names with the Lord Protector.]

  24. Anon says:

    You speak truth. Please keep doing so.

  25. Bobo says:

    I look forward to reading Sanchez’s book in detail. Men with great burdens, on their shoulders, tend to throw their elbows wildly.
    “Action without Vision is a Nightmare” a quote by Sanchez of a Japanese proverb is an indication of his eloquence and foresight.
    Rummy was an excellent businessman who took it to extremes and always had a fall guy in line when things just didn’t go right. Now if Gates was DS, a man with some vision, and Rummy Asst. DS running the business end that would be a team.
    As to the last paragraph, I do not think it could be said better, thus no comment on my part.

  26. Mad Dogs says:

    The thought, as highlighted by the Time article, that “Mission Accomplished!” immediately upon the taking of Baghdad, was shared by the Mayberry Mafia in the White House, DoD’s Über-Führer, and CENTCOM’s Tommy “The Toady” Franks, is at once, both shocking and at the same time, all too familiar.
    The “shocking” part is when I compare the anti-thesis of leadership shown in the Iraq War with that of Eisenhower’s role in WW II.
    Imagine if you will, Eisenhower declaring “Mission Accomplished!”, packing up his entire staff, and then flying off home to a hero’s parade just upon the completion of the storming of the Normandy beaches.
    My, my, the WW II American public would have applauded until their hands bled…NOT!
    Fast forward 60+ years and take a real hard look at what the definition of “success” has become with both the unrepentant denizens of this obscene and tawdry Administration, and even sorrier still, our “vaunted” military leadership.
    The “all too familiar” part is that I recognize much of the very same behavior in the corporate world as I see in this Administration.
    Toadies to the “Right” of us, Toadies to the “Left”. Style over substance. Appearance makes the man.
    When some scholar in a futute time (and certainly not from the extinct Americanus Imperium) writes about the fall of the American Empire, s/he will only have to crib some notes from any of the fine classical works on the fall of the Roman Empire.
    Change a few names, a few geographic locations, tidy up a few era-specific guffaws, and Voilà, another Opus to gather dust on the shelves of Humanity’s Ignoranti.
    We have made our bed and now, we must sleep in it! We will not rest well!

  27. Will says:

    “Guys and Girls, The grotesque buffoon was re-elected. Any comment? ”
    to paraphrase the Obama Baby.
    In times of economic dislocation, voters become {strike bitter} angry & frustrated {strike cling } and become sucesptible to the WEDGE issues of RELIGION, GUNS, & GAY BASHING, Muslim & Arab bashing which politicians such as DUMBYA are masters at exploiting and they get re-elected.
    Damn the Irak misadventure and the ruined economy and how bad things are going.

  28. jonst says:

    “”The grotesque buffoonery of this man offends the eye and the soul.”
    For sure it does. And yet, honestly, and sadly, this bunch represents America perfectly. They are the embodiment of what I see America becoming. Man, do I hope I am dead wrong about this. But I see the Age, and the see the people who govern (in the media as well as govt)and they match up well.

  29. arthurdecco says:

    “We reelected him. History will not be kind to us either.” Posted by: Arun
    “Guys and Girls, The grotesque buffoon was re-elected. Any comment?” Posted by: Tim
    You both are mistaken. The American citizenry did not re-elect this sociopathic buffoon to the Presidency – that was left to the unaccountable electronic voting systems controlled or owned by treasonous, partisan Republicans.
    I’m flabbergasted that this information is still regularly ignored by otherwise sensible people. Could it be that you’re afraid of being dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”?
    If so, you need to get over it.
    See the archives of: http://www.bradblog.com/

  30. jamzo says:

    we knew what happened but we didn’t know the details, and the details show a situation as bad as it was thought to be
    the boy president and his guardian created problems which eclipse the shock and helplessness felt by everyone in the country on 9-11
    col lang – what is your take on recent round of promotions?
    while everyone was focused on the increased responsibility of petraeus and the continuity and expansion of present military efforts, fred kapan at slate focused on the importance of the promotion of Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli
    But in some ways, the more intriguing—and perhaps significant—announcement was the move to pin a fourth star on Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli’s shoulders and make him the Army’s vice chief of staff.
    Chiarelli has spent the last year and a half as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ senior military assistant. The two met in August 2006, when Gates was a member of the Iraq Study Group (also known as the Baker-Hamilton commission), and Chiarelli, as the U.S. corps commander in Iraq, briefed the panelists during their fact-finding trip to the war zone.
    More to the point, Chiarelli is widely known as one of the Army’s smartest, most creative senior officers. Many of Gates’ boldest speeches and actions can be traced to Chiarelli. For instance, on several occasions, Gates has said that future wars are likely to be “asymmetrical” conflicts waged against insurgents or terrorists, not high-intensity, head-on set pieces against foes of comparable strength—more like Iraq or Afghanistan, not World War II or Korea. Therefore, Gates concludes, the military—especially the Army—must change its doctrine, training, promotion policies, and weapons-procurement plans to meet these new challenges.
    This notion comes straight out of an article that Chiarelli wrote just last summer for Military Review called “Learning From Our Modern Wars.” (An earlier article that he wrote for the same magazine, in 2005, served as a template for the Army’s field manual on counterinsurgency that Petraeus supervised a year later.)
    In the brief time that Gates has been defense secretary, the Army’s top generals and their assistants—most of whom rose through the ranks as tank or infantry officers geared to fight against Soviet tanks on the plains of Europe—have resisted these sorts of reforms.
    The Army’s current vice chief, Gen. Richard Cody, is a straight-talking officer. But he is the embodiment of the traditional Army—and he’s been among the resisters.
    When Chiarelli takes over the job, which involves running the Army’s day-to-day operations inside the Pentagon, he will be as well-positioned as anybody to maneuver these changes through the system. And since it has a two-year term, often extended to four years, he can keep doing this well after Gates’ term is up. If the Army is not too hidebound to change its stripes, the next few years might be the time it undergoes a metamorphosis.
    The original personnel plan was to make Odierno vice chief and to send Chiarelli back to Iraq as Petraeus’ successor. The switch announced Wednesday suggests a desire for continuity, both in Baghdad and in the Pentagon.
    Odierno was commander of the 4th Infantry Division at the start of the U.S. occupation and was, by all accounts, a disaster—a breathing stereotype of the hard-nosed American officer who breaks down doors, barges through homes, and humiliates suspects, “hearts and minds” be damned. (See Thomas Ricks’ Fiasco for the wrenching lowdown.) However, at some point, Odierno had a road-to-Damascus moment, and by the time he returned to Iraq as Petraeus’ deputy, he was a full-fledged adherent to the counterinsurgency doctrine.
    Chiarelli is on the same page, too, and he has been for a longer time. But Odierno has been at Petraeus’ side more recently, dealing with the same subordinates, the same Iraqis, the same situations. He can assume the helm with no transition. Meanwhile, Chiarelli has a better take on the politics inside the Pentagon—who’s doing what and where the levers of power lie.
    If the intention—for better or worse—was to stay the course in Iraq and advance reforms in the Pentagon, Odierno seems the right man for the former task and Chiarelli the right man for the latter.

  31. Nancy K says:

    I did not vote for Bush the 1st time or the 2nd. I think that saying that Bush mangles everytime he tries to say it is true, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

  32. Walrus says:

    Gentlemen, look up “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” and “Industrial Psychopath” on the internet.
    I’ve been making an informal study of these creatures since colliding with two of them about five years ago.
    They are now in plague proportions in both management positions in both Government and private sectors. The reason being that they are accomplished arse lickers and are not averse to subordinates who do the same to them.
    These people are “broken”. While they are often highly intelligent and hard working, they have no ability to empathise with humans at all. That is their defining feature.
    We let these people into management when we decided to focus on equity and merit instead of character in selecting managers. Narcissists do “merit” very well and thus get promoted.
    The old school tie, ivt league and class affiliations used to weed these people out for us because if you see how they operate over a period of years, it becomes self evident that they are freaks, but in a one on one meeting without the benefit of seeing them operate over time, you won’t pick them.
    They are very very good at “calibrating” people and saying and behaving in just the way you want them, hiding their true character.
    One of their chief characteristics is a huge sense of entitlement (ie: Laws don’t apply to me).If you ever seeing someone in high office doing something absolutely outrageously stupid, chances are you are looking at a narcissist. Leone Hemsley, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Martha Stewart are perfect examples.

  33. shortwall says:

    Colonel Lang, Thank you for having the guts to tell the truth about our general/flag officers and to point out their complicity in this affair. If some of them would have had the strategic vision and testicular fortitude to speak up, the world (and America’s situation) would likely be a whole lot different. There certainly are some wise and courageous generals, they just tend to get squashed as one stars.

  34. kim says:

    pretty much what walrus said. and what jonst said.
    sucks, but there ya go. went.
    please forgive me if i’m wrong (for once :]) but this seems like maybe an appropriate place to shoot the (failed) messenger too. and i know there are wannabe standup comics who earn there living instead writing headlines and titles, but, a moment of grotesque silence, please,for the tom friedman column titled “Who Will Tell the People?”
    the bush buffoon would not have made it this far without the friedman buffoon.

  35. Montag says:

    George W. Bush is like Maynard G. Krebs with an MBA. Maynard malapropped the slogan of “survival of the fittest” into “survival of the fattest.” Bush based his entire business career on that principle.

Comments are closed.