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ISSUE 119 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/28/2006

Bush changes hands, again

By Jared Wall
Staff Writer

Friday, April 28, 2006

The “White House shuffle” is ostensibly just that: a trick of the eye where administration officials are changing jobs, but the hand stays the same. The men and women responsible for war woes and domestic debacles retain their posts.

If we organize the Bush administration the same way they characterized the leaders of the old Baathist regime of Saddam, we would still have all the aces, while having lost some eights and twos and even managed to have gained a joker in the person of “spymaster” John D. Negroponte. It seems as if the White House picked a card, any card, and now we have a new trade representative, chief trade negotiator, chief-of-staff, deputy chief-of-staff, and press secretary, to name a few.

And all anyone can say is, “So what?” The topical effort to stem the bleeding of this administration is like applying Band-Aids to a gunshot wound, and the response has been overwhelming as people speak out to condemn Donald Rumsfeld and his (lack of) strategy in Iraq. At the same time, Condoleeza Rice admitted to making “thousands of tactical errors” (extraordinary rendition), and as military officials retort that the real issue in Iraq was and is the lack of administrative planning and cooperation.

I thought that revamping the military and reorganizing the Department of Defense and Homeland Security was supposed to provide for greater communication, efficiency and increased accountability. We need only look as far as New Orleans to realize that this is not so.

When a president’s approval rating crumbles to the point where his only supporters are those who do not read or watch the news, it cannot help but reflect on the president’s party itself. Now that the president’s “disapproval rating” is roughly the same as gas prices per barrel, the Republican party has recognized that its warship is sailing and is scrambling to fix the leaks.

As much as we fear the lack of accountability in our current administrators, we should be thankful that they have finally realized they have something to lose. The past four years have seen the Bush team bungle every hurdle set in its path, a political juggernaut in control of both houses of Congress with no organized Democratic opposition to fear.

Bush’s “change agent,” more than any other individual, should be fired from his post. Pick up any newspaper and you will see Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense who thought that the world’s largest tactical army was not powerful enough. He refuses to admit that he sent an inadequate number of troops into Iraq, and he seems to be unaware that mistakes have been made.

Maybe he is. “He tended to surround himself with those that support his agenda,” said Maj. Gen. John Batiste, a former commander of the First Infantry Division and retired general who has criticized Rumsfeld.

In addition to ignoring his advisors, it appears that his defense budget managers forgot to balance last year’s war checkbook. According to the Government Accountability Office, it was reported that the Pentagon has no accurate knowledge of the cost of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan or the fight against terrorism, limiting Congress' ability to oversee spending.

These are just a few oversights among many. Google “Rumsfeld’s mistakes” and you will get a never-ending list of Rumsfeld screw-ups. If you count carefully, the total hits may amount to 2,389, roughly the same number of American coalition casualties as of April 24.

But these are small prices to pay for the progress made in Iraq, right?

The White House shuffle has been scooting political pawns all over the board, and now it’s time for President Bush to realize he’s in check. Big changes must be made or our fearless leader may see the midterm elections realign the House or the Senate. Either way, it’s only a matter of time before the shuffle results in checkmate.

Staff Writer Jared Wall is a senior from Sioux Falls, S.D. He majors in English with a concentration in Middle East studies.

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