Why Zelikow Departure is Really Bad


I’m rushing, but I wanted to share this email I scribbled out this morning. It’s a bit blunt, says more than I perhaps should at this point — but Philip Zelikow‘s departure as Condi Rice’s Counselor is very bad for those hoping for a more enlightened Bush administration foreign policy course.
This email was a response to one from a prominent social leader asking me if Zelikow was forced outi:

I do not believe Zelikow was forced out. At some level, he probably does have legitimate expenses related to his family, but my hunch as to the real reason that he is leaving is that he is fed up with having all the reasonable/constructive ideas in the administration and having little clout to implement them with “Cheney’s gang” shutting him and the Rice-team down so frequently.
This is not good news for our side. Zelikow leaving indicates a few things — Cheney still has significant power; regional deal-making in Middle East is still more fantasy than real (despite Olmert’s recent moves); and our ‘chances’ of finding a third option between bombing and acquiescing to Iran diminish significantly with Zelikow’s departure (my take anyway).
Zelikow had faults as we all do — but he really was the only master strategist left who might have played a historic role in reshaping the US’s foreign policy future. I think Rice really needed him.
Stephen Krasner is very smart and would be a cool 21st century Kennan type, but he doesn’t dominate the bureaucratic process in a way that can keep the State Department’s efforts from being so regularly choked to death. This leaves John Bellinger who is terrific in my view — but more of a legal strategist and architect than a foreign policy grand strategist. Nick Burns is also great — but doesn’t have Cheney’s confidence. Condi’s power depends on her one-on-ones with President Bush but that cannot get her where one needs to go on every issue, every hour, every day.
This departure, and the administration’s obsession with John Bolton say something — and that is that while Bush is flirting with Baker-Hamilton, the interest from the White House is extremely thin.
I just can’t believe Zelikow would leave if he knew there was a genuine chance of being the architect or leading deliverer of a new and healthier equilibrium of interests in the region.
I have to write about this — and do so in a constructive way about Zelikow — but it’s very, very hard not to be very depressed by his departure.

More later — from Vienna.
— Steve Clemons


28 comments on “Why Zelikow Departure is Really Bad

  1. Blake Austin says:

    Prior to 9/11 Philip Zelikow felt the FBI was not the right agency to coordinate with the Department of Defense and private industry to address threats posed in cyberspace and information assurance issues.
    Already the FBI and the DOD were starting to move independently in this area but Zelikow wanted to formalize it and magnify it.
    Zelikoe wrote glowingly of the benefits private industry could reap from his scheme while completely ignoring an obvious problem: The FBI and the DOD needed MORE connectivity and more focus on REAL ISSUES surrounding catastrophic bojinka terror threats – not on far-fetched sci-fi scenarios. What Zelikow proposed would both weaken the connection, and take away valuable resources which would be better spent aimed at stopping the most likely catastrohic threats.
    The upshot of Zelikow’s proposal is a brazen attempt to hijack the issue of Catastrophic Terrorism while keeping information regarding the most probabale catastrophic threats away from the public.
    While Zelikow mentions “intensive cyberattacks” as serious concerns throughout his 1998 article on Catastrophic Terrorism, he failed to address airline security or hijackings at all, much less comment on the growing threat posed by Islamic Bojinka plotters. Zelikow felt America was already taking the issue of conventional attacks – like the embassy or plane bombings – seriously enough and now needed to devote more resources to stopping chemical, biological, nuclear, and cyberattacks. Zelikow’s lack of real-world experience and penchant for fiction over facts put everyone at risk.


  2. Enlightenment says:

    Pauline said: “Wasn’t this guy the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission? Something smells here –”
    You are absolutely correct that something smells here, and it is more than just Phil Zelikow.
    One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying “We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]”. Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I’ve ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four “pilots” among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake “pilot” of the bunch, with someone who was there when he was attempting to fly a small airplane saying that Hanjour was so clumsy that he was unsure if he had driven a car before. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports after Mohammed Atta supposedly leaves two rental cars at two impossibly far-removed locations. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn’t work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn’t work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won’t let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you “aren’t supposed to think about”. Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name (“Hi mom, this is Mark Bingham”), more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn’t respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn’t happen, not even close. Somehow these “hijackers” must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that is not at all like a jumbo jet, but didn’t have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were “supposed to see”. Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these “hijackers” wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces most no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn’t even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying “We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down” attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers’ magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be “Muslim hijackers” the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don’t laugh) one of their passports was “found” a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously “surviving” the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also “survived” the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be “indestructable” like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn’t bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the “official story” being true with no other alternatives allowed to be c
    onsidered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only “testifying” together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their “testimonies” not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the “nineteen hijackers” is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.


  3. Den Valdron says:

    The reality is that the Bush administration is so far beyond the boundaries, so psychotic, so corrupt, so malevolent, that anyone who is connected with the Bush administration is forever tainted.
    It’s like being a good nazi. The idea that you were a good nazi, or a moderate nazi, or a liberal nazi, a positive nazi, etc. that’s all irrelevant. The fact is, you were a nazi.
    Forgive the Godwinism. But when you lie down with pigs, you get up with mud.


  4. Nell says:

    “very bad for those hoping for a more enlightened Bush administration foreign policy course”
    Yeah, there’s so many of those people.


  5. albertchampion says:

    phil zelikow is a traitor.
    i want a nuremberg trial for that guy.
    don’t you? if you don’t, why don’t you?


  6. pauline says:

    Wasn’t this guy the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission? Something smells here —
    “There’s a raft of evidence to suggest that Zelikow has personal, professional and political reasons not to see the commission hold Rice and other Bush officials accountable for pre-9/11 failings, and may be the de facto swing vote for Republicans on the panel.[1] Here are just a few of them:
    He and Rice worked closely together in the first Bush White House as aides to former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. Zelikow was director of European security affairs, and Rice was senior director of Soviet and East European affairs, as well as special assistant to the president. Rice reportedly hired Zelikow. Both started in 1989 and left in 1991.
    A few years after leaving the White House, Zelikow and Rice wrote a book together called, “Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft.”
    The two associated again when Zelikow directed the Aspen Strategy Group [2], a foreign-policy strategy body co-chaired by Rice’s mentor Scowcroft. Rice, along with Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, were members.
    Zelikow also directed the Markle Foundation’s Task Force on National Security in the Information Age [3]under co-chairman James Barksdale, a Bush adviser and major Bush-Cheney donor. A 9/11 commissioner, Republican Sen. Slade Gorton, also served with Zelikow on the task force. (Interestingly, the pair serves together on yet another panel – The National Commission on Federal Election Reform – with Gorton acting as vice-chairman and Zelikow as executive director.)
    After the 2000 election, Zelikow and Rice were reunited when George W. Bush named him to his transition team for the National Security Council. Rice reportedly asked Zelikow to help organize the NSC under the Scowcroft model, which was insular and steeped in Cold War worldview.
    Former White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke says he briefed not only Rice and Hadley, but also Zelikow about the growing al-Qaida threat during the transition period. Zelikow sat in on the briefings, he says.
    A month after the 9/11 al-Qaida attacks, President Bush appointed Zelikow to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which is chaired by Scowcroft.
    Zelikow’s regular job, the one he’ll return to after the commission releases it final report in late July, is director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. The center is dedicated to the study of the presidency, and maintains contact with the Bush White House, which fought the creation of the commission.
    Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow, insists Zelikow has a “clear conflict of interest.” And she suspects he is in touch with Bush’s political adviser, Rove, which she says would explain why the White House granted him, along with just one other commission official, the greatest access to the intelligence briefing Bush got a month before the 9/11 suicide hijackings.”


  7. Hyperion says:

    re: Off topic but still touching on the ME problem…did anyone see President Carter on MSNBC tonight?
    i saw him on PBS talking to the pathetic Judy Woodruff. he WAS impressive and did not allow her lame questions to distract him. (i was amazed at how transparent her idiocy is. please, judy, go back to CNN.) Carter is a smart guy who obviously knows a lot about the ME. So let’s just ignore him!


  8. Den Valdron says:

    Possibly true, MP, I acknowledge the possibility that he was a deluded fool trying to moderate the mad impulses of monsters.
    I just don’t think it makes a difference. In the end, his efforts brought more harm than good. The only thing compromised was his own values and morality.
    So be it.


  9. MP says:

    Den writes: “Here’s the truth about this guy: He sucked the Devil’s cock. He got down on his knees willingly, and he gave head gladly. Whether he was intrinsically corrupt himself, or a self defined good man in the service of evil masters, or even a deluded fool trying to moderate the mad impulses of monsters is irrelevant. When the time came to stand or kneel, he knelt.”
    Here’s another interpretation. After he decided that it was impossible to moderate the monsters, he decided to move on.
    I have to agree with Carroll and Steve on this: The loss of any moderating and smart voice on these issues is regrettable. And bodes even more ill for the future.
    I think that’s Steve’s point here–not that Z was a hero.


  10. marky says:

    Following the perverse practice of the White House, in which the proper answer to any crisis is to deflect attention to another subject, even if that means manufacturing another crisis, I think that the more Iraq falls apart, the more Bush will be tempted to attack Iran.
    After all, when Iraq falls into a civil war that even the White House will notice, Bush might think that bombing Iran couldn’t make things too much worse, and it would certainly get people talking about something besides Iraq. This would work ESPECIALLY well if Israel did the bombing.


  11. Easy E says:

    Zelikow departure is continuation of neocon rats jumping ship of criminal policies realizing that victory cannot be achieved when the mission was a lie from the beginning. As chief facilitator of 9-11 cover up, not surprised to see him go. Wake up folks, this thing is really broke and something’s about to happen.


  12. Marcia says:

    Is there any news of Billmon at Whiskey Bar? He has not posted since Nov. 15


  13. Easy E says:

    Zelikow undoubtedly decided to get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge upon finally realizing the delusional ineptitude of the buffoon-in-chief………….
    A selection of 50 quotes from President George W. Bush
    by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay
    •A man lost in his geography:
    1-“We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe.”
    George W. Bush
    2-“It’s time for the human race to enter the solar system.”
    George W. Bush
    3-“The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.”
    George W. Bush
    •A man lost in his logic:
    4-” It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment.
    It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. ”
    George W. Bush
    5-“Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.”
    George W. Bush
    6-“These people are trying to shake the will of the Iraqi citizens, and they want us to leave…I think the world would be better off if we did leave…”
    George W. Bush
    7-“I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”
    George W. Bush
    8-“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”
    George W. Bush
    9-“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
    George W. Bush
    10-Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.
    George W. Bush
    •A man lost in space:
    11-“For NASA, space is still a high priority.”
    George W. Bush
    12-“I believe God wants me to be president.”
    George W. Bush
    13- [I was] “chosen by the grace of God to lead at that moment.”
    George W. Bush
    14-“God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.”
    George W. Bush
    15-“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”
    George W. Bush
    •The man lost in his vocabulary:
    16-” Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.”
    George W. Bush
    17-“The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’.”
    George W. Bush
    18-“One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is, ‘to be prepared’.”
    George W. Bush
    19-‘There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.’
    George W. Bush
    • Thoughts coming straight from George Orwell’s ‘1984’:
    20-“Iraq and Afghanistan …are now democracies and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace.”
    George W. Bush
    21-“Ariel Sharon … is a man of courage and a man of peace.”
    George W. Bush
    22-“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”
    George W. Bush
    23-“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.”
    George W. Bush
    24-“This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table.”
    George W. Bush
    25-“Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.”
    George W. Bush
    26- “Governments accountable to the voters focus on building roads and schools—not weapons of mass destruction.” (N.B.: The U.S. has 10,000 nuclear weapons)
    George W. Bush
    •The Theologian:
    27-“Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion.”
    George W. Bush
    28-“The Islam that we know is a faith devoted to the worship of one God, as revealed through The Holy Qur’an. It teaches the value and the importance of charity, mercy, and peace.”
    George W. Bush
    •THE Flip-Flopper:
    29-“I favor leaving up to a woman and her doctor the abortion question.”
    George W. Bush
    30-“I am pro-life.”
    George W. Bush
    31- “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.”
    George W. Bush
    32- “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”
    George W. Bush
    33-“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories…for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.”
    George W. Bush
    •The forecaster of things to come:
    34-“Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties [in Iraq].”
    George W. Bush
    35-“We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur. ”
    George W. Bush
    36-“I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.”
    George W. Bush
    37-“Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them: If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you.”
    George W. Bush, (speech of March 17, 2003)
    38-“To the C students, I say you too can be president of the United States.”
    George W. Bush
    •The astute observer:
    39-“A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.”
    George W. Bush
    40-“Brownie (Michael Brown of FEMA), you’re doing a heck of a job.”
    George W. Bush
    •A man and his environment:
    41-“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
    George W. Bush
    •The double-talker:
    42-“There’s a lot of suffering in the Palestinian territory, because militant Hamas is trying to stop the advance of democracy.” (N.B.: The Hamas government was elected)
    George W. Bush
    43-“We look forward to analyzing and working with legislation that will make—it would hope—put a free press’s mind at ease that you’re not being denied information you shouldn’t see.”
    George W. Bush
    44-“In a time of war, the president must have the power he needs to make the tough decisions, including, if need be, the decision to grant himself even more power.”
    George W. Bush
    45-“I’m also not very analytical. You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things.”
    George W. Bush
    46-“If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”
    George W. Bush
    47-“I’m the commander — see, I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.”
    George W. Bush
    48- “I will not withdraw [from Iraq], even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me.”
    George W. Bush
    49- “I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best.”
    George W. Bush
    •And, last but not least, CONSIDERING THE MESS IN IRAQ:
    50-“I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy.”
    George W. Bush


  14. Carroll says:

    Off topic but still touching on the ME problem…did anyone see President Carter on MSNBC tonight?
    I was impressed. He looked and sounded sharp as a tack and echoed Baker’s belief that we must talk to Syria and Iran and all other countries involved in the ME….something Carter said long ago btw.
    He also talked about his book on Isr/Pal and did not back down an inch..in fact he took total control of his interviewer…and told it just like it is regarding the “real estate war” waged by Isr and the horrific conditions in Palestine.
    Bravo for Carter…the only ex-president who has spent his time trying to do some good in the world and for the country instead of making money on corporate boards, selling his prior political position to the highest bidder or kissing up to the right wing mougels so his wife can run for president.


  15. Marky says:

    Waiting for sanity from the Bush administration is as sensible as waiting in the 1930’s for a “Hitler goes to Jerusalem” moment.


  16. Pissed Off American says:

    So right on the eve of the expected recomendations from the so called “Iraq study group”, what does this fucking buffoon Bush say?
    “The idea of this regime having a nuclear weapon, by which they could blackmail the world, is unacceptable to free nations,”
    So much for any constructive dialogue or diplomacy with Iran, eh? There are those in the blogosphere that are advancing the theory that Zelikow is slithering for his rock because he realizes this insane little AWOL pissant in the Oval Office actually intends to attack Iran. When you you see him making statements like the one above, it becomes believable that he might be insane enough to actually do it. If the incoming Congress really wanted to “set a new course”, they would be working to get this fucker OUT of the Oval Office, NOW, as Carroll suggests above. But alas, there is obviously no such action forthcoming, We will be lucky if these crazy bastards don’t nuke someone while the Dems are preoccupied in counting their AIPAC vouchers.


  17. DonS says:

    . . . another quote from Ron Suskind’s “One Percent Doctrine”, just at the end:
    “A delusion of fierce partisanship is the view that political opponents are so uttely bankrupt of good sense,of basic human feeling, that for one to be defeated will not only mean diminution for oneself,but for an unwitting country.
    The strident posture of self-defense that stems from this kill-or-be-killed idea flows directly into an infalllibility trap. Mistakes can’t be publiclly acknowledged; ‘certainty’, even in the face of countermanding evidence, becomes a surrogate for courage; ‘will’ stands in for earned — and regularly tested — conviciton” (p. 345)


  18. Pissed Off American says:

    Geez, Den, it appears this thread pissed you off as much as it did me. It amazes me that people like Steve can’t see the gravity, the seriousness, of what these sons of bitches like Zelikow did. It goes back to the “monster” thing. Zelikow DEFINITELY belongs in that category, with all the rest of the OSP ghouls.


  19. Carroll says:

    Based on the fact that Zelikow has, at least in his public statements, urged more reasonable policies re: the ME and Isr/Pal…I take his leaving as a bad sign also. Maybe he sees or knows what is likely to come and wants no part of it.
    I really have an more urgent, overwhelming feeling lately that Bush must be removed from office somehow..immediately. His continuing attitude toward Iraq/Iran now has intensified and become more delusional, despite all the information contrary to his statements. I think Baker as Bush I’s guy coming in to help solve the problem of Iraq has increased Bush’s personal petulance and petty resentment of any interference in his “decider” role..particulary where it concerns his father and himself. He will “act out” his resentment if he isn’t stopped. Cheney and other neo’s will use Bush’s wounded ego to encourage him to do something dramatic to show he is still the boss. Bush may be legally mentally competent, but his is emotionally insane. He is more dangerous now than ever.


  20. Pissed Off American says:

    “…..but Philip Zelikow’s departure as Condi Rice’s Counselor is very bad for those hoping for a more enlightened Bush administration foreign policy course.”
    It always cracks me up to see Steve make comments like that. Zelikow, like everyone else that participated in the OSP, is guilty of treason, in my opinion. Steve seems to want to cherry pick through these lying slimey sons of bitches, and convince us that some of these scumballs are redeemable. He seems to forget that NONE of these people have yet come forward and came clean with the American people about the multitude of BALD FACED LIES that this mess in Iraq was launched upon. Who can doubt that Zelikow, should he have an epiphany to do the right thing, could HANG this fucker Bush by merely stating what he knows through his tenure with the OSP?
    If there is any one GOOD thing that Zelikow has done, it was when he actually stated that the war in Iraq was launched in large part to protect Israel. Unfortunately, his honesty was short-lived, as he tried to weasel his way out of having had said it, but his denial was weak, and it is pretty well accepted as fact that he did in fact say it.
    But back to my original train of thought; How can the exit of ANY of these neocon liars be a bad thing for this country? Good God, the whole damned slew of them, by rights, should be languishing in a federal prison. If there is anything to be grateful about when we see these fuckers slithering for cover, its that sooner or later the animous between them will uncover a rat in their midst, and that rat will begin to spill the beans.
    Good riddance, Zelikow. May you rot in hell for being a part of this grand deception you helped launch. Join a right wing think tank, your kind of algae seems to thrive amongst them.
    And by the way Steve, this Administratrion has been “enlightened” for some time now. They know the score, they know the truth. Trouble is, they are such corrupt fucking liars, they cannot ADMIT the fact that they know the score. So they will twist, posture, lie, murder and con until they can figure out some way to convincingly blame this horrendous mess on someone else. Its ALL about CYA now, and these bastards don’t care how many Iraqis, or Americans, die before they figure out how to shift the blame, and escape indictment.
    But Zelikow, or any of the rest of these pukes? Until one off them comes clean with the American people by pointing at Bush and Cheney and telling the TRUTH about all the lies and fabricated intelligence, than they are just pure unadulterated SCUM in my mind. And Steve, that INCLUDES Rice. She KNOWS the truth, and was part of the deception. This WHOLE CREW has the blood of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people on thier hands. And there is NO WAY to wash it off.


  21. DonS says:

    . . . Estonia . . . .


  22. Den Valdron says:

    And here’s a big so what? So someone dubbed a ‘reasonable’ ‘moderate’ which probably translates into a smart conservative (as opposed to the usual kind has moved on? So frikking what?
    He did his job. He provided cover for Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. He advanced their agendas by helping to neuter the moderate opposition.
    Here’s the truth about this guy: He sucked the Devil’s cock. He got down on his knees willingly, and he gave head gladly. Whether he was intrinsically corrupt himself, or a self defined good man in the service of evil masters, or even a deluded fool trying to moderate the mad impulses of monsters is irrelevant. When the time came to stand or kneel, he knelt.
    And now, when he’s decided he doesn’t like the taste any more, he’s free to go off into the wider world of the beltway circle jerk, to seek and land a well paying sinecure, and to sit in wait for the day when the next masters of the universe should call upon him.
    Well, boo goddammed hoo for him. His integrity got sold a long time ago and the only thing he can take pride in is his price.
    650,000 Iraqi’s don’t have the options that he had. And several thousand more will find their departures rather more involuntary, and dramatically more permanent.


  23. DonS says:

    I’ve got nothing to say, really, that feels at all good. Just heard and excerpt of shrub’s speech from Latvia, “. . . the defining ideological batle of the 21st century, blah, blah, blah . . . our children, our grandcildren’s future, blah, blah blah”.. More fear and scare, and bring ’em on. Well, I gotta say, I don’t care all that much who is at State if the idiot-in-chief can do nothing but escalate. The man is a complete and utter sociopath.
    My wife’s right we need to be in the street (if only to let off steam). But I’m not sure the new democratic majority would be with us.


  24. Hyperion says:

    “those hoping for a more enlightened Bush administration foreign policy course”
    … need to seek professional help immediately.


  25. Marky says:

    Bush’s face sure looks like it has lots of new broken capillaries. He may not be bringing new ideas into the White House, but he’s sharing time with an old friend to ease his troubles.


  26. Marcia says:

    Can anyone continue to think there will ever be a “more enlightened Bush administration?
    There have been so few members to leave who were not forced out, these last were dumped, O’Neil, Powell, and lastely Rumsfeld.
    This administration is not like any we have ever had and we can only hope we will never have another such calamity if ever we are rid of them.
    Steve, you seems to admire Burns for example, and not having Cheney’s confidence having become a sign of merit in no way changes the policies and methods of those in power.
    To speak of a anyone in the present administration bringing “new and healthier equilbrium of interests in the region” is like waiting for Godot or believing in Santa Klaus, or at the very least the sign of an incorrigible optimist.


  27. Marky says:

    The pace of the Iraq war seems to have jumped several notches. Bush wanted to be able to keep a holding pattern for the next years, and then let the next President take the blame for failure. Bush still is practicing blame, deflect and stay the course. Basically he’s adding fuel to the fire by continuing to insist on impossible results from Maliki.


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