Day By Day

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The War On The Bureaucracy, Continued.... Resisting Rummys Reforms

Brendan Miniter has a terrific piece in today's WSJ on the resistance of the American military culture to reform.

He writes:
This isn't the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against five decades ago. It's the Cold War culture that military "transformation" was supposed to break apart. That culture is proving to be more resilient than many had hoped. And as revealed by a recent ruling by federal judge Emmet Sullivan, which tossed out new personnel rules designed to allow Mr. Rumsfeld greater flexibility in using his civilian workforce, that culture enjoys entrenched union support.
Read it here.

One of the most admirable aspects of the Bush presidency has been his determination to reform the federal bureaucracy. This has provoked a firestorm of resistance from the most directly affected agencies -- the State Department, the Intelligence community, FEMA, and the Military. The weapons of choice have been leaks eagerly lapped up by an adversarial press, and defamatory accounts by "former" officials. As the article points out, there have also been lawsuits launched by employee unions. And, of course, there is the standard tactic of simply ignoring orders from above, hunkering down, and waiting for the next administration to come in.

The bureacratic wars that are raging up and down along the Potomac would be amusing were it not for the fact that we are at war with radical Islamists. At times the backbiting and sniping has verged on treason. So far the administration has been stalwart in pressing its initiatives, but it's a long slog and bureaucratic inertia, as many of Bush's predecessors found to their dismay, is extremely difficult to overcome. But the effort is eminently worthwhile. The federal bureaucracy has become fat, corrupt, arrogant, and resentful of any interference from the politicians who in a democratic system are their masters. But in a perilous world we cannot afford to continue with business as usual. Bush understands this, and hopefully so do most of the voters.

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