Today’s opining on the public discourse.
I really wish that news of corruption surprised me:
Was the State Department involved in a shoddy and potentially illegal ammo shipment that led to the arrest of a 22-year-old Miami arms dealer last week?
That’s what Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) now says. The House oversight committee says it has evidence that the U.S. embassy in Albania helped Albanian officials keep the allegedly illegal shipment of Chinese-made ammunition to Afghanistan under wraps and then failed to disclose that information when Waxman’s committee asked about it.
Waxman’s new– and potentially explosive — evidence stems from an interview by the oversight committee of Army Maj. Larry Harrison, the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Albania. Harrison told the committee about a previously undisclosed November meeting that included Albanian officials and U.S. Ambassador John Withers and others from the U.S. embassy in Tirana.
I just wonder, when all is said and done, if we’ll find out that anything the Bush Regime did wasn’t corrupt.
The man is the anti-Midas: everything he touches turns to solid shit. Consider the cunning plan to increase homeownership – which failed:
WASHINGTON — Driven largely by the surge in foreclosures and an unsettled housing market, Americans are renting apartments and houses at the highest level since President Bush started a campaign to expand homeownership in 2002.
The percentage of households headed by homeowners, which soared to a record 69.1 percent in 2005, fell to 67.8 percent this year, the sharpest decline in 20 years, according to census data through the end of March. By extension, the percentage of households headed by renters increased to 32.2 percent, from 30.9 percent.
The figures, while seemingly modest, reflect a significant shift in national housing trends, housing analysts say, with the notable gains in homeownership achieved under Mr. Bush all but vanishing over the last two years.
And then there’s this spectacular failure:
At first blush, there’s nothing especially wrong with the notion of the U.S. government trying to improve the nation’s image in the Middle East. After the attacks of 9/11, American officials knew we had some work to do in the region. After the fiasco in Iraq, those same officials surely noticed that the nation’s reputation had been tarnished, and was even more in need of rehabilitation.
It’s how the Bush administration went about making these improvements that’s the problem. State-sponsored news outlets are always problematic, but the administration’s Al-Hurra initiative is one of the more embarrassing propaganda efforts in recent memory.
Al-Hurra — “The Free One” in Arabic — is the centerpiece of a U.S. government campaign to spread democracy in the Middle East. Taxpayers have spent $350 million on the project. But more than four years after it began broadcasting, the station is widely regarded as a flop in the Arab world, where it has struggled to attract viewers and overcome skepticism about its mission.
Since its inception, al-Hurra has been plagued by mediocre programming, congressional interference and a succession of executives who either had little experience in television or could not speak Arabic, according to interviews with former staffers, other Arab journalists and viewers in the Middle East.
Remember: this is the same Administration that now wants to push a war with Iran. I think we all know how that’s gonna go.
The Bush Presidency: Beyond Epic Failure.