Sunday, May 8, 2005

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)

Promoting Democracy: Incredible Shrinking Budget Line Item

My co-blogger Lorelei Kelly, who works on Capitol Hill, has a piece about how and why the latest budget slashes funding for the newly created State Department Office for the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization.

This goes directly to the debate that Dan, Kevin Drum, Abu Aardvark and others were mired in last week about how much credit Bush deserves for the positive political developments now underway in the Middle East.

When the creation of the Office for the Special Coordinator was first announced last Spring, everyone seemed to take it as a sign that the Bush Administration had finally gotten serious about post-conflict reconstruction, a precursor to democratization in countries that have endured violence. Truthfully speaking, I never had a lot of faith that a State Department "office," could take on what I view as a herculean and multi-faceted task that requires a host of standing capabilities. That's why I favor the creation of a Stabilization Corps to deal with post-conflict and like situations.

But whether you think the Office of the Coordinator is a solution or just a starting point, its astounding to learn that more than half its budget has been de-funded. If the Bush Administration cared to acknowledge mistakes, its failure to adequately plan and execute its operation in post-war Iraq would be top of the list. Yet there is no serious program underway to rectify the glaring capability gaps that operation revealed. Lorelei has a good, if depressing, analysis of why.

posted by on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM


The game of "Bush is evil / stupid because of X" and all the latest "gotcha" talking points from Kevin Drum / KOS is getting real old.

posted by: Matthew Cromer on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

Well, money talks and bullshit walks. Guess we know what category reconstruction and stabilization falls into.

And MC, this is not "gotcha" or "Bush is evil" or whatever. This is simply looking to see whether the administration puts its money where its mouth is. It does not.

Why, then, should we take its pronouncements seriously?

posted by: Doug on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

I would caution that it is a game to suggest the reason you stop funding a program is because you dont care about what it purports to solve. Is it not possible that this agency is simply ineffective?

posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

"Is it not possible that this agency is simply ineffective?"

How could it be ineffective? It's brand new.

posted by: praktike on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

"How could it be ineffective? It's brand new."

Maybe its just overlapping another agency and causing problems, who knows? Or maybe not. The point is every time a budget gets cut in Washington, somebody is going to be screaming about it. I think you have to hear all the arguments before deciding whether the cut is wise or not.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

American Military Dead in Iraq > 1600

posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

"American Military Dead in Iraq > 1600"

Union casualties at Antietam Sept 17, 1862: 2,108 killed, 9549 wounded.

Allied casualties D-Day June 6, 1944: 2500 dead, 10,000 wounded.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

By my reckoning, 54 dead in April. Near, but not quite at the 2 per day average of Sept, Oct last year. Up from the (it now appears) temporary post-election lull. Does 'democracy' matter? Apparently not to the Iraqi (Sunni) resistance.

posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

Two dead a day?

Hey, Mitch- if you think 2 dead a day on our side is bad, why don't you calculate the daily rate for the other side and let us know how we compare?

posted by: rosignol on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

(1)Because I am not an Iraqi--so I care more about Americans.

(2)Because I am a Vet with fairly recent active duty experience, and so I still know people who have been, will be in Iraq, quite well. (I was never there)

(3) But I see that '100' resistance fighters were killed in a recent operation, (Yahoo news). So I guess the 'we don't do body counts' pledge went out the window.

posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

About 100. That isnt a count, its an estimate.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.08.05 at 10:44 PM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?