Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday Morning Sidewalk

Guess what.

A senior Army civilian contracting official who was critical of the no-bid $10 billion contract awarded to a subsidiary of Halliburton for oil work in Iraq has been demoted.

Can you believe it?

Bunnatine H. Greenhouse has worked in military procurement for 20 years. For the past several years, she has been chief overseer of contracting for the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for much of the reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

A spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers says that Ms. Greehouse's demotion was "...based on her performance and not in retaliation for any disclosures of alleged improprieties that she may have made."

Ms. Greenhouse's attorney asserts that his client received glowing job performance ratings until she began questioning the no-bid contract award to the Halliburton subsidiary, Kellog Brown and Root.


In other news, Geoffrey "Camp Gitmo" Miller is still a major general, former CIA director George Tenet still has his Medal of Freedom, Donald Rumsfeld is still Secretary of Defense, and George W. Bush is still president of the United States.

Vice President Dick Cheney, former Halliburton CEO, remains in an undisclosed location.


We have no reason to believe any statement from any source in the military establishment. The Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman fabrications were merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the extent that the entire department of defense has been transformed into the armed branch of the neoconservative movement. The senior generals who stood up to Rumsfeld from the beginning are gone. No one's left but the yes men, and they're committed to going along with the entire neocon game plan, a key ingredient of which is its misinformation/propaganda campaign.


The shame of it all is that the troops in the trenches are doing brave, honorable work. It's too bad they don't have brave, honorable civilian and military leaders.


The Bush White House has created a neo-conundrum in civilian-military relationships. In theory, civilian authority over the military guarantees the country will not become a militaristic oligarchy. In practice, under this administration, the civilian authorities are the militaristic oligarchs.

The politicians run our wars, and our generals--if they want to keep their jobs--are forced to play politics.


Recommended reading:

Military correspondent Thomas E. Ricks' novel A Soldier's Duty is one of the best fictional examinations of the internal struggles that ensue when military personnel are forced to choose between their sworn duty and their personal values. Set in a "Clinton-like" era, Ricks' observations are even more relevant in today's environment.


  1. I thought these seemed relevant:

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." --Ernest Benn

    "Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important." --Eugene McCarthy

    "Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politcs with bloodshed." --Mao Tse-Tung

  2. LOL!

    Excellent Kristie.

  3. Maybe Cheney's undisclosed location is the icu at a certain Vale hospital...

    Natural causes indeed.

  4. I can't believe that we can't get the American public to pay attention to this sort of b.s. The politicization of the civil service is one of the most important yet undercovered stories of the Bush administration--from the firing of those who blow the whistle to bringing back bonuses for political appointees to the altering of documents detrimental to the administration's goals.

  5. Terry:

    It's bad. Very bad.


    Thanks for stopping by and posting.

  6. Terry:

    The American public don't care about much these days. Maybe if you turned the politicization of the civil service into a reality show and got Paris Hilton on it, they'd be concerned. Otherwise, you have four groups of people

    1) the majority who aren't in the least bit interested in politics and could care less about this stuff;

    2) the Democrat partisans who don't really care about issues or ideals per se, but are just about drinking kool-aid for the party;

    3) the Republican partisans who don't really care about the issues or ideals per se, but are just about drinking kool-aid for the party; and

    4) the small minority like me who care about issues and ideals and don't give a toss about political parties, and consequently don't have anyone to represent us :)

  7. That's quite a vicious cycle, R. Scott. I only wish it weren't the case!

    You ever think about running for anything, Jeff?

  8. Ariadne:

    There is some threshhold, I'm sure, that will snap the American public out of it. But whatever it is, we haven't reached it yet.

  9. Yes, Ariadne: shelter.

  10. HA!


  11. Anonymous7:42 PM

    Based on eading the other comments, this may be off-topic.

    I haven't read Ricks' novel so I can't comment on it. But from what I gather it's a common thread story about field soldiers, vs political dancers and prancers, a type becoming all too common in our Army of One.

    Another work that explres this sad thread is Anton Myrer's "Once An Eagle." The book was made into a mini-series about 25 years ago. Even if you saw the series, read the book. Read it again. It's an excellent primer on what leadership really is. On the subject of leadership, BTW, back when GEN Wes Clark was Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, and was on an inspection tour with a politician, an escorting Hummer hit a mine, and slid over a cliff and down an embankment. The first man to rappel down the hillside to give aid was GEN Clark.

    That told me all I needed to know about the man.


  12. You also have the segment who say it doesn't matter whose in charge. I told my gay co-worker to remember that when he is marched onto a cattle car and sent to a reeducation center.

  13. The segment that says it doesn't matter is wrong.

  14. Jeff:

    Yep. A lot of people are wrong. It's the fact that they persist in being wrong that troubles me :)