Senate panel gets it half right

A Senate panel got it half right on dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

“We propose to abolish FEMA and build a stronger, more capable structure within (the Department of Homeland Security),” the report said. “It will be an independent entity within DHS, but will draw on the resources of the department and will be led and staffed by capable, committed individuals.”

Senate panel urges replacing disaster agency | Reuters.com

Abolish it? Yes. Reconstitute it? No. Federal disaster aid is a shell game that only enriches bureaucrats. Last year it was hurricane aid to Florida, Texas and Louisiana. The last month it’s been tornadoes in the Midwest. I’m not sure if Minnesota ever gets any federal disaster aid, but otherwise the money flows in from the states and back out to them.

The Constitution is a great thing to refer to in this situation. IT doesn’t make any provision for the federal government to “manage” local emergencies. The idea of federal management of local issues is, in fact, antithetical to the idea of federalism. The federal government has no business managing local problems.

If the federal government is to have a role, it should minimize bureacracy, keep federal management to a minimum and, to the greatest extent possible, occur automatically. The best solution – provide a safety net for the states in the form of loan guarantees so local taxpayers and voters can decide at the local level how much they want to be “helped” by the government and how much they simply want to help themselves.

FEMA

Replacing the Hard to Replace

President Bush accepted McClellan’s resignation, and praised the press secretary for his service to country and for his handling of the job “with class, integrity.”

“It’s going to be hard to replace Scott,” Bush told reporters on the South Lawn as he prepared to leave for a speaking engagement in Alabama.

MySA.com: Metro | State

Rumors abound that the position of White House spokesman may be offered to Tony Snow of Fox News. Saturday Night Live had the job filled admirable by a teenage babysitter who called ’em like she saw ’em. The President thinks the position will be hard to fill. Let me add a suggestion. Remember this guy:

Baghdad Bob Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf Iraqi information Minister

Baghdad Bob aka Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the deuce of diamonds. I can hear him now:

The budget is in surplus. Federal spending is at an all time low. Millions of Americans are illegally immigrating to Mexico. Republicans are going to add seats in Congress in November. And did I mention that we have the infidel troops on the run outside Baghdad?

White House

Rumsfeld Must Stay, Time for Generals to Fade Away

When the criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came from strictly civilian quarters, there was some room for debate as to whether he should continue to lead the Department. Now there is no question that Rumsfeld absolutely must stay. There are two points here, one minor and one major. The minor point is that when 6 generals, those most responsible for building and directly responsible for implementing the battle plan, start criticizing the way things turned out, their motives are certainly not clear.

Douglas Macgregor, a retired Army colonel who now works as a military analyst, says the critics are trying to pin blame on the defence secretary for their own errors of planning and execution.

Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment conducting a foot patrol through the streets of Haditha
Critics doubt there are enough troops on the ground
“The generals see it as everyone else’s fault other than theirs,” he says.

He says Mr Rumsfeld set goals for the military to accomplish and left the generals to make the battle plans – as he should have done.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Vocal Rumsfeld critics break ranks

The second, much more important point, is that civilian control of the military is a bedrock principle of the American Constitutional system. One of the ex-generals commented that had he made these statements while in the military he would have been subject to arrest. What he left out is that there is excellent reason for that. Making the civilan bosses subject to the public criticism of generals, even after their retirement undermines civilian control of the military. General MacArthur was right tactically and strategically in Korea, but Harry Truman was right on a more important matter in firing him. Likewise, while these generals may be correct in their Monday morning quarterbacking, the President is right on a much more important matter in sticking with his civilian leadership. Now, it’s time for Batiste, Zinni, Riggs, Newbold, Eaton and Swannack to fade away.

Update: Sorry, I uninentionally left comments off. Kevin emailed a link to this Chicago Sun Times editorial “If Rumsfeld’s so bad, why didn’t generals resign?”. Here’s a bit:

But the question really isn’t whether Rumsfeld should resign. He has already resigned several times and had President Bush tear up his letters of resignation. He clearly is taking responsibility for his actions on a continuing basis.

But now that a galaxy of flag officers [note: I don’t know if 6 is a “galaxy” in a universe of 880 active duty flag officers and at least several hundred retired. Maybe a backwater solar system.] are raining down on Rumsfeld demanding his resignation, no one seems to have bothered to ask which, if any, of these generals had ever submitted his own resignation in protest against the conduct of the Iraq war, or the bumpy transition we are locked in now.

Rumsfeld,generals,Iraq

Cue Beach Boys Music

Talk about out of touch. Apparently the Left thinks they’re going to get some traction out of a claim that the Pentagon and/or the White House has a plan afoot for airstrikes against Iran.

Many military officers and specialists, however, view the saber rattling with alarm. A strike at Iran, they warn, would at best just delay its nuclear program by a few years but could inflame international opinion against the United States, particularly in the Muslim world and especially within Iran, while making U.S. troops in Iraq targets for retaliation.

U.S. Is Studying Military Strike Options on Iran

Any real patriotic American over the age of 30 secretly delights at the thought of doing what should have been done in 1979. Add the factor that their current President makes the Ayatollah Khomeini seem more like the Dalai Lama and I can’t see how the Post could expect people to take this as anything but good news.

A Rockin’ and a rollin’,
Nuke them ’till their glowin’
Bomb Iran, Bomb, Bomb,
Bomb, Bomb Iran

And airstrikes would certainly be preferable to getting “bogged down in a quagmire” of a “ground war in Asia,” right? But maybe they’re just afraid that the airstrikes might hit something other than an aspirin factory. Or maybe the left would would prefer American soldiers to die in the desert of Iran again.

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, BOMB IRAN!
Let’s take a stand, bomb Iran.
Our country’s got a feelin’
Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Went to a mosque, gonna throw some rocks.
Tell the Ayatollah…”Gonna put you in a box!”
Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.
Our country’s got a feelin’
Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Ol’ Uncle Sam’s gettin’ pretty hot.
Time to turn Iran into a parking lot. Bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Call the volunteers; call the bombadiers;
Call the financiers, better get their ass in gear.
Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.
Our country’s got a feelin’
Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Call on our allies to cut off their supplies,
Get our hands untied, and bring em’ back alive. Bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.
Our country’s got a feelin’
Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, BOMB IRAN!
Let’s take a stand, bomb Iran.
Our people you been stealin’
Now it’s time for keelin’, bomb Iran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Bomb Iran