The sins of the father’s appointees

Here is a disturbing piece by Jeffrey Bell in the Weekly Standard about the clash between elements of the Bush I administration and the current Bush administration. This is the key passage: “[The] Bush I view that is now engaged in a death struggle with Bush II. . . has a micro, not a macro, interpretation of what happened on 9/11. It sees Osama and Islamism as limited and aberrational. It mildly supported the invasion of Afghanistan, but would favor no other significant military actions, backing mainly police actions geared toward catching Osama and other al Qaeda figures. It believes many of our problems in the Islamic world relate to our support for Israel. Bush I does not like Yasser Arafat, but believes the United States and Israel have no choice but to try to strike a deal with him. In the Islamic world, Bush I favors economic development through trade and internal, top-down reforms. While it does not oppose attempts to achieve democratic reforms in Islamic countries, it has little hope that this will be much of a factor in the immediate decades ahead. Bush I retains a generally benign view of the Saudi monarchy. It believes unrest in the kingdom can be alleviated by internal economic reforms and by U.S. support for a revived peace process with Yasser Arafat.”
According to Bell, the Bush I world view provides its adherents with a vested interest in the failure of our efforts in Iraq. They would like to see the U.N. rescue the situation. Absent that, Bell suggests that they would like to see things go badly in Iraq. This, says Bell “is the best explanation of the accelerated urgency of the effort by Bush I loyalists within the current administration to discredit Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, the two most powerful advocates other than the president of the Bush II worldview.”
The deadly Joseph Wilson, an ambasador in the first Bush administration President Bush, likes to call himself “the Bush I administration appointee who did the most damage to the Bush II administration.’ If Bell is correct, however, he has competition.

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