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Commentary on the present and future of culture, politics, economics, and social values................... "At any given instant/All solids dissolve, no wheels revolve,/And facts have no endurance." W.H. Auden.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: the Paradox

The paradox in Washington these days is that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's power is increasing as the war in Iraq fails. Is this an example of the old axiom twisted: nothing succeeds like failure?

Rumsfeld is more powerful now than he was just beore the Iraq war started. Part of this change is explained by the departure of impediments to his power: Powell of State and Tenet of the CIA, most notably.

But there is another factor. Rumsfeld does not see the Iraq war primarily as something to be fought and won. It is rather a means for him to increase his control in the bureaucratic war in Washington. And he has played that game well.

It is true that at the top level of the US government, Rumsfeld and his neo-con cronies are called "the crazies." That does not matter since it is their power and not their policies that matter. And their power is increasing. Only President Bush can stop Rumsfeld, and it is clear that he lacks the will to do so.

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