Team Bush Accountability
Matthew Yglesias, responding to a rather dubious post from Atrios, snarks
Eric Shinseki was dismissed for accurately predicting the needed levels of troops in Iraq. Larry Lindsey was sacked for accurately predicting the financial cost of Iraq. Paul O’Neil was fired for believing that ever-increasing deficits are unsustainable. Richard Clarke was demoted for having been associated with Bill Clinton. People were threatened with dismissal in case they told the truth about the Medicare bill’s costs.
It’s only the people who’ve been consistently wrong about pretty much everything who don’t get held to account.
Shinseki served a four-year term and retired. While he could have been re-appointed to a second four-year term, it’s not unusual to bring in your own team. Shinseki’s stint at Chief was a mixed bag. While I was skeptical of the Stryker, it appears to be doing quite well in limited duty in Iraq; time will tell how it functions in major combat ops. On the other hand, he was very much a slow-go guy on transformation, wanting to hang on to expensive and unnecessary toys like Crusader and was very much the McClellan-type go-slow guy on Afghanistan and Iraq. Shinseki might have been right on the need for more troops for stability ops in Iraq, but he was dead wrong on the size of the force needed to topple Saddam. Plus, his replacement, Pete Schoomaker, is doing an excellent job by all accounts.
Lindsay and O’Neil were sacked because the economy was in the tank and someone had to take the fall to give the illusion of “doing something” until the business cycle did its thing. The economic team seemed like a logical choice for that. And, of course, it’s probably a good idea to get rid of subordinates who try to undermine administration policy.
I suspect Clarke was demoted for being a royal pain in the ass, although that’s just a guess based on what I’ve learned about him over the last few weeks.