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Step off, old man!
Tuesday, 11 January 2005
Rewarding incompetence
There has never been anything in history quite like the Bush Administration's drive to reward incompetence. It would be like if the Red Sox made Grady Little manager for life.

First, Condi is promoted to Secretary of State because she sucked as National Security Advisor. And hey, let's make Gonzalez Attorney General because he gave advice that the US should go hot-and-heavy into the torture business.

Here's the latest from today's Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON -- The man who insisted that President Bush make the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in Africa is poised to assume a top State Department job that would make him the lead US arms negotiator with Iran and North Korea, according to administration officials.

Robert G. Joseph, a special assistant for national security to President Bush until a few months ago, is on the short list to become undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, the nation's senior diplomat in charge of negotiating arms control treaties, said the officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named.

Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, who was Joseph's boss at the National Security Council, has been a strong supporter of Joseph, the officials said. Joseph did not respond to messages yesterday.

White House and intelligence officials have identified him as the official who included the uranium claim in the president's 2003 State of the Union address, despite strong CIA objections. Joseph has said he believed the CIA's disagreement was over the sourcing of the assertion, not whether the claim was accurate, the White House said about six months after the speech. But the apparent willingness of the administration to consider promoting someone who was involved in one of its biggest embarrassments drew immediate fire from critics.

"He should have been fired or reprimanded," said Joseph Cirincione, a senior arms-proliferation specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "We see instead that he could be given the key position in the Department of State for all treaty and nonproliferation matters."

In addition, some diplomatic observers worried that Joseph's appointment, which would have to be confirmed by the Senate, would mark a further consolidation of US foreign policy under the tight-knit group of national security officials that dominated in the first Bush term and aggressively promoted intelligence linking Iraq to weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda terrorist network, despite cautions in the intelligence community.

Under the leadership of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, the State Department served as a check on the so-called neoconservatives in the Pentagon and the White House who strongly backed the Iraq war. With Rice as secretary and Joseph as her chief arms negotiator, many specialists outside the White House fear that the State Department will no longer provide a counterbalance to administration hawks who long have been suspicious of arms-control agreements and have espoused the doctrine of preemptive war.

"With Rice at the top it means that in terms of the one, two, and three posts at State you will now have two-thirds from the conservative ideology working for the president," said Greg Thielmann, who served as the State Department's top analyst on weapons of mass destruction until the fall of 2003.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:28 AM EST
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