Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 9 News List

The triumph of loyalty over competence


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 former president GeorgeBush, or Scowcroft, or 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 US and the world, and I wonder, with a sense of deep sadness, where the adults have gone.

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