White House officials said Mr. Bush and his aides had been surprised by both the timing and the blunt wording of the Pentagon’s declaration. But they said the White House had signed off on the policy, after a committee of deputies from a number of departments and the National Security Council agreed that the most lucrative contracts must be reserved for political or military supporters.
Those officials apparently did not realize that the memorandum, signed by Paul D. Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, would appear on a Defense Department Web site hours before Mr. Bush was scheduled to ask world leaders to receive James A. Baker III, the former treasury secretary and secretary of state, who is heading up the effort to wipe out Iraq’s debt. Mr. Baker met with the president on Wednesday.
Yes you read that right. The White House signed off on the plan excluding these countries from reconstruction contracts, and then asked them to fund their reconstruction by forgiving Iraq’s debt. Diplomacy and administration at it’s absolute worst. Now of course the Bush team is playing dumb, saying that they didn’t know this Pentagon announcement would come out right before their asking for debt relief, but this is not some poorly-run non-profit organization here. This is the freakin’ White House. They signed off on it. They should know what their government is doing. and worst of all, they shouldn’t be making stupid diplomatic decisions that slap our allies with one hand while holding our hands out for spare change with the other.
We need a president that has some grasp of reality, some ability to control his administration, and some ability to not continually alienate our closest allies.