The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Responsibility Watch

What does it mean: to take responsibility for something? We’ve been hearing the phrase an awful lot these days, and I think it worthwhile to examine the saying in more detail.

First, let’s examine what it means to NOT take responsibility for something…

September the 11th was the single worst intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor, and it occurred during the Bush Administration. On April 13, 2004, President Bush was asked the following question: “Two and a half years later, do you feel any sense of personal responsibility for September 11?” Bush gave a long-winded reply, saying he wished we had had the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security before the attack and that he wished the country had been on a “war-footing” before the attack, but his answer regarding personal responsibility was essentially “no”.

SO President Bush feels no personal responsibility for not preventing the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. He feels no personal responsibility for ignoring an urgent request from Richard Clark on January 25, 2001 for a high-level National Security Council review on al-Qaeda. He feels no personal responsibility for not trying to get Osama Bin Laden in the first eight and a half months of his reign. And most of all, he feels no remorse for ignoring the August 6, 2001 presidential briefing entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” that detailed “suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks…” So that is what it means to NOT accept responsibility for a mistake -- a mistake that resulted in the deaths of almost three thousand Americans.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated huge areas of the Gulf Coast and resulted in the destruction of the levees around New Orleans, Mr. Bush announced that no one could have predicted that the levees would break. No one, of course, except PBS, and Nova, and meteorologists, and climatologists, and engineers, and the National Weather Service, and CNN, and CBS, and NBC, and ABC, and perhaps even the FOX network… Then, despite massive evidence to the contrary, with people dying in the streets of New Orleans, Mr. Bush praised FEMA Director Michael Brown as doing a “heckuva job”. Later, Mr. Brown would be forced out of FEMA, and Bush would state, “And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility.” Since it is clear to most Americans that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, one would conclude that Mr. Bush is therefore responsibility for at least a large portion of the suffering and deaths that occurred as a result of his bungling. And what did Mr. Bush do to atone for his part in the disaster? Nothing.

When it turned out that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- which as we all know was pretty much the only reason given to the American public for going to war -- Mr. Bush took a different tack. First, on March 24, 2004 at the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner, he joked about it, pretending to look for the weapons under his desk. That was really funny, particularly since lots of people were dying as a result of the war! Later, in December of 2005, Mr. Bush changed his mind and stated, “It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As President, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.” At the time, 2140 American soldiers had been killed in Iraq, and Bush estimated that about 30,000 Iraqis “more or less” had been killed as a result of the war. And what did Mr. Bush do to atone for his part in the disaster? Nothing.

Now, almost four years into a war that Mr. Bush proudly touted as “Mission Accomplished” and announced the “End of Major Combat Operations” back in 2003, Mr. Bush has taken again responsibility for the nightmare. “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me,” he stated. Over 400 billion dollars have been wasted, hundreds of Iraqis have been tortured at the hands of our military, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed (even the Iraqi government estimates that over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed -- and those are only the deaths that are officially reported), over three thousand American soldiers have been killed, over 20,000 American soldiers have been wounded and maimed, our military is dangerously overextended, the civil war continues unabated, religious militias rule the streets, the Iraqi infrastructure is much worse than it was under Saddam Hussein, the Islamic world (both Sunnis and Shiites) is furious with us, Al Qaeda is thriving, Afghanistan is slipping quickly into chaos, and the world is a much more dangerous place than it was before we went into Iraq. So when the President takes responsibility for the mistakes in Iraq, that surely must mean something, right? Nope. Only a few days later, Mr. Bush would be interviewed on 60 Minutes and asked whether he thought he owed the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job… Mr. Bush responded with a smirk (no exaggeration), and asked whether the interviewer meant “That we didn't do a better job or they didn't do a better job?” He then stated that we owed the Iraqis an apology “not at all”. He criticized the Iraqis for not being grateful enough for all that we have wrought in Iraq. So much for accepting responsibility!

I know I live in a dream world. That much is readily apparent. But even in the corporate world (where much excess and corruption can be overlooked), if a president of a company made a mistake that cost, say, only a billion dollars, that corporate president would resign in shame. If the lies that were told were sufficiently egregious, that president might be charged with a crime (e.g. Kenneth “Kenny Boy” Lay). If a president of a company habitually made so many mistakes that thousands or tens of thousands of people died as a result of those mistakes, that corporate president would resign in shame.

Similarly, in the military, if the captain of a US Navy ship hits another ship and kills a few people, that captain is usually relieved of command (whether or not the captain was even awake during the incident). If a commander in the US Army makes mistakes that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, not only would that commander resign in shame, but he or she might be looking at a war-crimes tribunal…

You might think that President Bush, looking back on the utter and complete disaster that his Presidency has been, would conclude “Holy crap! You know, I really suck at this!” and resign before he makes any more disastrous decisions. You might think that, but you would be wrong. These days, Mr. Bush accepts “responsibility” for any mistakes that are made, but his sort of “responsibility” is only a means of asking “Can we please stop talking about this and move on to something more pleasant?”

Mr. Bush needs to be impeached; it is as simple as that. However, it is important to note that even impeachment is not really good enough for him, but it is the only legal punishment that even comes close to addressing the breadth and depth of his stupendous and vicious incompetence.

-John Locke


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