As Richard Nixon once said, let me be perfectly clear. I believe it is a noble endeavor to try to construct a democracy in Iraq. I believe it was morally correct to remove the killer Saddam Hussein. And I believe that nations which actively supported Saddam by doing business with him and undermining American policy are not friends to the USA.
Is that perfectly clear?
However, Talking Points is disturbed that the Bush administration continues to muck up the aftermath of the Iraqi war. The latest controversy illustrates that concern. President Bush wants France, Germany and Russia to forgive the debt that Iraq owes them, but at the same time the Defense Department says those countries are not allow to do bid on reconstruction projects in Iraq.
So why would those countries forgive any debt when they're being chastised in public? That's just dumb. The president says he didn't know that the Defense Department was going to single out France, Germany, Russia and Canada as nations not allowed to do business in Iraq. Well, if that's true, then somebody in Defense should be fired for releasing the memo.
How about a little accountability here?
All this confusion does not help “we the people” or our country's image abroad. I mean, come on. If you want cooperation from someone, you don't whack them around.
Also, Newsweek magazine has interviewed the guy who brings messages from Usama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader. The CIA can't find Usama or Omar, but Newsweek can find a guy who sees them all the time? What's that all about?
We have real trouble on our foreign intelligence operations. And President Bush continues to do little about it, at least publicly. There's no question America's foreign policy apparatus is a mess right now. Secretary of State Powell doesn't like Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. There are rivalries all over the place. And the CIA remains chaotic.
This is not a partisan critique. This is a real life problem and a big problem for all of us in this country. And President Bush better do something about it quick.
And that's The Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Your humble correspondent -- that's me -- will be appearing on NBC's Today show next Monday, around 7:30 a.m., they tell me. Since that venue has not been very friendly to us in the past, it should be interesting.
We are hoping for detente and hoping they actually take a look at Who's Looking Out for You? which I will be signing this coming Sunday at Costco in Westbury, Long Island, about two miles from where I grew up.
I'll be there at 12:30 in the afternoon, and this is the last signing I can do, which is ridiculous, but so is my workload. Sunday, Costco, Westbury, New York, on the G'Island, 12:30.
Hope to see you there. We'll have some fun like we did last year.