Monday, August 29, 2005

Gotta keep that perfect record intact

Once again, the Bush government has taken action against someone who said something they didn't like.

In the latest hit, the Pentagon announced the firing of Bunnatine Greenhouse . Ms. Greenhouse is a senior civilian auditor of military contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers, and last year went public with her concerns about the no-bid contract given to Kellogg, Brown and Root for construction and other services in Iraq. KBR is a subsidiary of Halliburton, which Vice President Dick Cheney served as president of before leaving to serve on the Bush ticket. Ms. Greenhouse testified at a congressional hearing that the decision to award the bid to Halliburton was "the most blatant and improper abuse I have witnessed" in 20 years as a government contract supervisor. Despite initial denials by the White House, Cheney himself was later proven to have coordinated the deal, but which Republicans have swept under the rug by virtue of their control of Congress along with about a half dozen other serious scandals that would have resounded for months if they had occurred in the Clinton administration.

Also from the article on Ms. Greenhouse, As the senior civilian in charge of procurement at the Army Corps of Engineers, Ms Greenhouse developed a reputation as a stickler for proper procedure and won high marks in her performance reviews. Those reviews began deteriorating at almost the same time she began speaking out against the KBR contract, causing her lawyer to accuse the Pentagon of malicious retaliation.

The Joseph Wilson/ Valerie Plame/ Karl Rove scandal aside, does anyone sense a pattern here? Greenhouse follows after Teresa Chambers, fired as National Parks chief after going to the media about how she had been forced to cut back staff at most National Parks because she had not been reimbursed for the funding she had been forced to spend on protecting a few high profile National Monuments since 9/11, there was Sibel Edmonds who was fired after blowing the whistle on the failure of the FBI and the Bush administration to even hire translators who knew the languages of the documents they were supposed to be translating, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who said in a 60 Minutes interview in January 2004 that invading Iraq was discussed in the framework of a decision that had already been made during cabinet meetings very early in the Bush administration, well before 9/11, and was smeared and investigated commencing the next day (the probe ended in March 2004 with a determination of no wrongdoing on the part of O'Neill, but the smears remain out there), and many others (including members of the press) who have gotten on the wrong side of the Bush administration.

Is it possible that in these cases the people involved might have actually deserved the treatment they got? Sure, it is possible, despite the uniformly high marks all of these people got before criticizing Bush policy, but with the ongoing pattern of this (that sooner or later everyone who is in a position to question Bush policy from the inside is fired or otherwise retaliated against on some charge) it seems highly unlikely to just be a coincidence.

Whatever you may think about the Clinton administration, they never engaged in the politics of personal destruction and revenge against those who they angered them the way the Bush administration has (did you ever hear of them firing Monica Lewinsky or any of those other women who claimed that Clinton sexually harrassed them?). Today it is Bunnatine Greenhouse's turn to be fed to the wolves.

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