Mistakes, though never admitted, were made

Jacob Weisberg gives us a Slate piece that tries to ask the meta-question not so much about how catastrophic Bush’s mistakes in office were… but about how the mistakes were made. As Weisberg notes, right now, it’s virtually impossible to name so much as a single area in which Bush left things better than he found them, capped with the triple threat of disasters looming: a bogged down war in Iraq, a world-wide so-called “war on terror” that has debased our standing in the world and yet still managed not to capture one guy, and fiscal mismanagement of a scale heretofore unprecedented in human terms that has led us to the financial precipice we are now in. We won’t even talk about Katrina, the environment, or what state “the education president (TM)” has left children with “no child left behind.” Or, of course, the torture. No, no, no. Or Guantanamo Bay, of which today is ignominiously the seventh anniversary.
One possible exception to Bush’s dynasty of doom, is, as The Onion noted, that things got so bad, that at least the genuine social progress of electing a Black man to the Presidency became possible. But that’s it… other than being good at creating disaster, this is not a man who succeeded at anything in his entire life other than getting Poppy to get his friends to bail him out… and unfortunately, it’s no longer Junior who needs bailing out, but the 300,000,000 of us, and even Poppy’s friends just ain’t that rich.
With around 10 days left of the debacle known as the Bush Administration, Weisberg goes beyond merely cataloging the disasters and asks what kind of deranged ideology would enable not a mere mediocrity, but an unqualified legacy hire hack to take command and then ram our ship of state into the ground over and over again… and then go full astern… and then ram it aground again. Weisberg asks about the specifics, given how secretive the Bush Administration, of specifically why, how, and by whom such decisions were made, and when we may ever learn the specifics.
With due respect to Mr. Weisberg, the answers are either that we know already– the ideology is the good old Reagan legacy of telling us government doesn’t work and then making it a self-fulfilling prophesy by filling government with cronies and hacks– or else… who cares? In the end, for example, we must note that the Vice President has no Constitutional authority or power to do anything… that the Decider defaulted and dithered, and Cheney simply acted to fill the vacuum… is the responsibility of the Decider, and not Cheney… or Rice… or Tenet… or Laura or Barney the dog, for that matter. Whether the Decider “decided” by affirmatively trying to make intentionally bad decisions, by being an incompetent and making bad decisions because he was unqualified for office, George W. Bush gets to take full credit blame for everything that happened on his watch, from Abu Ghraib to Zimbabwe.
By rights, George W. Bush [and, for enabling him to be President by legacy, George H.W. Bush] should both be stripped of their presidential pension and Secret Service detail and any other privileges and emoluments of office, and they should be forced to live out here, in the country they have wrecked… with the rest of us. But that’s not how we do things here in America, of course.
A wise man recently pointed out to me that the human condition is such that accountability requires patience: the Bushmen, led by George W. Bush himself, will not be brought to account quickly… if they are brought to account at all, a slow, painstaking process of data gathering must first occur, and eventually, maybe, some of them will be treated as Pinochet-Pariahs in their old age, before God gets to give them their final reward. We can only hope that such will eventually be… the Bush legacy, and that we will live long enough to see it.