The First Oral History (non-revisionist version)
The new Vanity Fair is out on the news stands, and on the internet with a very, very interesting piece…an "oral history" of the last eight years. Independent interviews with both players in the recently-departed 1600 Crew and those who opposed it, paint a revealing first sketch of the inner-workings and bubble that our unlamented and recently-departed Decider Guy lived in.
December 20, 2006 In a news conference Bush states that the year ahead will “require difficult choices and additional sacrifices.” Noting that it is important to maintain economic growth, he adds, “I encourage you all to go shopping more.”
The famous "go shopping" bubble… but like they say in the infomercials "Wait, There’s More!"…
One of the things that was invoked out here on the inter-toobz since before I started blogging in ought-2 was the existence of something called "Godwins Law"… basically it was that anyone who first mentioned that the Administration was like a bunch of Nazis lost the argument by default, since that’s a nonsensical argument (American? Nazis? Nahhhhh) well, except maybe Powell buddy Rich Armitage…
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell: … I think the clearest indication I got that Rich [Armitage] and he both had finally awakened to the dimensions of the problem was when Rich began—I mean, I’ll be very candid—began to use language to describe the vice president’s office with me as the Gestapo, as the Nazis, and would sometimes late in the evening, when we were having a drink—would sometimes go off rather aggressively on particular characters in the vice president’s office.
Not that I think that Armitage was any kind of a saint in the world of Beltway intrigue, but it’s interesting that these characters (Addington, Libby?) were worthy of such derision by a man like Armitage.
And the wars… there is so much written about both Afghanistan and Iraq that it’s an instructive read just to get the flavor of the thinking inside the White House, but this from Anthony Cordesman is a particularly telling indictment of the conduct of the wars: (my emphasis)
It’s important to note that we made even more mistakes in Afghanistan than we did in Iraq. We were far slower to react, but in both cases we were unprepared for stability operations; we had totally unrealistic goals for nation building; at a political level we were in a state of denial about the seriousness of popular anger and resistance, about the rise of the insurgency, about the need for host-country support and forces; and we had a singularly unfortunate combination of a secretary of defense and a vice president who tried to win through ideology rather than realism and a secretary of state who essentially stood aside from many of the issues involved. And in fairness, rather than blame subordinates, you had a president who basically took until late 2006 to understand how much trouble he was in in Iraq and seems to have taken till late 2008 to understand how much trouble he was in in Afghanistan.
So it was a case of the ideology of Free-Market Capitalism that failed Cheney and Rumsfeld and a President who failed to grasp that there were actually problems on both fronts until late 2008? What, was he living in a bubble of some fucking thing? (Don’t answer, it’s rhetorical).
The whole article is worth a read, Cullen Murphy, Todd Purdham and Phillipe Sands have done a masterful job of a "first cut" at taking the 1600 Crew to task in a way that is more explicit than Obama and more detailed than anything to be found in the alleged "news media", all in a magazine with a glamour shot of Cate Blanchett on the cover.