Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gee, this is comforting

Bush talks tough on national security. But there can no longer be any doubt that his administration puts political gain above national security:

By Warren P. Strobel
Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON | State Department officials appointed by President Bush have sidelined key career weapons experts and replaced them with less experienced political operatives who share the White House and Pentagon's distrust of international negotiations and treaties.

The reorganization of the department's arms control and international security bureaus was intended to help it better deal with 21st century threats. Instead, it's thrown the agency into turmoil and produced an exodus of experts with decades of experience in nuclear arms, chemical weapons and related matters, according to 11 current and former officials and documents obtained by Knight Ridder.

The reorganization was conducted largely in secret by a panel of four political appointees.


Much more than personnel disputes are at stake, said the officials who are critical of the changes. They said they were concerned that Rice, who announced the changes last July but apparently hasn't been deeply involved in their execution, will be deprived of expertise on weapons matters.

Among those who have left is the State Department's top authority on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of the international push to curb the spread of nuclear arms.

"We had a great group of people. They are highly knowledgeable experts," said former Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf, who often clashed with Bolton. "To the extent they now are leaving State Department employ, or U.S. government employ, it's a real loss to State Department. It's a real loss to the government."

Half a dozen current department officials expressed the same view, but spoke on condition of anonymity because they said they feared retaliation.

(emphasis mine)

"Political appointees" were in charge of re-organizing the State Department's arms control and international security bureaus. One can only hope these appointees were a teeny bit more qualified than some of this administration's other picks.

Incidentally, the article's writer, Warren Strobel, is part of the Knight-Ridder team that was getting it right about Iraq when most other big media was getting it wrong.


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