A Lonely Voice in a Vast Wasteland

From Holden:

Thank god for Bob Herbert, without his columns the NY Times editorial page would have no redeeming value. Between Bill Safire’s increasingly incomprehensible skreeds (January can’t come fast enough), Paul Kruggman on sabatical, Tom Freidman’s futile attempts to explain himself to himself, Maureen Dowd’s childish attempts to join the kewl kids, David Brooks C- logic, and guest colmnist like gurgling David Gergen praising the “bold” Chimp, Bob Herbert is a shaft of light when all else is darkness.

Competence has never been highly regarded by the fantasists of the George W. Bush administration. In the Bush circle, no less than in your average youth gang, loyalty is everything. The big difference, of course, is that the administration is far more dangerous than any gang. History will show that the Bush crowd of incompetents brought tremendous amounts of suffering to enormous numbers of people. The amount of blood being shed is sickening, and there is no end to the grief in sight.


As I watch the disastrous consequences of the Bush policies unfold – not just in Iraq, but here at home as well – I am struck by the immaturity of this administration, whatever the ages of the officials involved. It’s as if the children have taken over and sent the adults packing. The counsel of wiser heads, like George H. W. Bush, or Brent Scowcroft, or Colin Powell, is not needed and not wanted.

Some of the world’s most important decisions – often, decisions of life and death – have been left to those who are less competent and less experienced, to men and women who are deficient in such qualities as risk perception and comprehension of future consequences, who are reckless and dangerously susceptible to magical thinking and the ideological pressure of their peers.

I look at the catastrophe in Iraq, the fiscal debacle here at home, the extent to which loyalty trumps competence at the highest levels of government, the absence of a coherent vision of the future for the U.S. and the world, and I wonder, with a sense of deep sadness, where the adults have gone.