Tuesday, October 09, 2007

White House sacrifices national security for political gain

I know, this is sort of a "water is wet" variety of statement, but here's the latest outrage:


The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group's communications network.

"Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless," said Rita Katz, the firm's 44-year-old founder, who has garnered wide attention by publicizing statements and videos from extremist chat rooms and Web sites, while attracting controversy over the secrecy of SITE's methodology. Her firm provides intelligence about terrorist groups to a wide range of paying clients, including private firms and military and intelligence agencies from the United States and several other countries.

As ever, political considerations take priority over security considerations. Nothing surprising, but perhaps people need to be reminded that Bush actually does care what people think, just not as much as he cares about money:


Now, Bush is trying to reach out to the party's base and re-establish his credentials as a fiscal conservative, beginning with his veto of a bill that would boost federal spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $35 billion over five years. Bush called the legislation part of an effort to "federalize health care."

Bush also has threatened to veto nine of the 12 appropriations bills that make up the federal budget.

"One of the big lessons from the 2006 election loss was that Republicans have let spending get out of control," said GOP consultant Scott Reed. "I think the White House is focused on a Bush legacy that includes getting spending back under control."

Still, said Reed, "In some states, especially in the Senate races, running against the president on specific issues like this will help the Republican candidate."

Economic and libertarian-minded Republican conservatives suggest Bush's overtures are too little too late to help a despondent Republican party bracing for the possibility that the White House will end up in Democratic hands.

Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion and other veto threats ring hollow because of Bush's past support for expensive programs like the Medicare prescription drug benefit and his failure to wield his veto pen, said Bruce Bartlett, an economist who was an adviser to Ronald Reagan and a Treasury official during the elder George Bush's presidency.

"Because he was so lax earlier in his term, he has no choice but to overcompensate," said Bartlett. "At the White House, they understand belatedly that they have destroyed the Republican party's reputation for fiscal responsibility. And they are trying to play catch-up."

I've come to the conclusion that Republicans don't consider military spending (whether in Iraq or elsewhere) to be actual "spending", despite the fact that we're rampantly wasting money overseas on these adventures (and while I consider the entire fiasco to be a huge waste of money, I've seen money wasted at unbelievable rates on a more practical level, e.g., buying quick release blades for computer technicians -- my shop purchased these blades for each of us, and we got to take them home. They're nice knives, but we really didn't need them. This type of thing happens over there with alarming regularity. "Fraud, Waste, and Abuse" is a punchline over there.) Pretty much any money that goes straight to American businesses is considered "investment", and any money that goes toward making the lives of poor or middle class Americans is considered "run-away spending". They buy into the supply-side theory that any money pumped into businesses will come straight back to the government in the form of increased tax revenues... and then they cut taxes to compensate, figuring that the money lost on the tax cuts will come back in the form of increased tax revenues. Basically, no critical thought goes into their economic theories at all, and the Democrats somehow can't seem to counter that.

No comments: