Thursday, November 02, 2006

Winning isn't everything, it's the way to lose your job

In the Bush administration if you do your job well you get fired.First there was Lt. Commander Charles Swift. He's the lawyer who represented Salim Hamdan, a Gitmo enemy combatant before the Supreme Court. Swift argued that the military commissions were unconstitutional and won. The National Law Journal ranked Swift as one of the top 100 lawyers in the country. Swift's reward for standing against the Bush administration's kangaroo courts and winning the case in the Supreme Court? He got kicked out of the military. Swift was passed over for promotion and in the up and out world of the military that means you need to pack your things and move on. The denial of promotion to Navy commander happened about two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled the White House.

Now there is the case of another lawyer, Stuart W. Bowen Jr. Bowen, a Republican who worked for George W. Bush in Texas and the White House, heads the Office od Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. His investigations "in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces." Bowen's reward for his good work? A Medal of Freedom? No. A promotion to a job that doesn't require wearing bullet-proof vests? No. A simple thank you? Nope. Bowen got a pink slip. And not just him but the entire office. They were legislatively deleted.

The New York Times reports that, "tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago" Bowen and his office were de-funded. "The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who followed the bill closely as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, says that she still does not know how the provision made its way into what is called the conference report, which reconciles differences between House and Senate versions of a bill." Shocked. Shocked I tell you!

"Neither the House nor the Senate version contained such a termination clause before the conference, all involved agree. "It’s truly a mystery to me,” Ms. Collins said. “I looked at what I thought was the final version of the conference report and that provision was not in at that time. The one thing I can confirm is that this was a last-minute insertion,” she said." Maybe it wrote itself in the bill. Maybe what we need is a Office of Legislative Oversight to do oversight on the legislature that doesn't do any oversight.

So the moral of the story is do your job as incompetently as possible and the world is your oyster. Do your job well and your job security in government will shrink to the size of an oyster.


Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

The differences between the US and any corrupt third world country are shrinking by the day.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

The differences between the US and any corrupt third world country are imaginary.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Ouch, but true.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Viajero said...

I hope that after the worst president we've ever had leave office, the next president will offer Lt. Swift's job back to him. We need truth-tellers like him to protect the most important thing we have: the rule of law.

9:02 PM  

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