Feith may have been one of the Bush Administration's most fervent supporters of war with Iraq but, in truth, he was only a bit player. Indeed, he is the third bit player in the Iraq fiasco to be paying for the sins of his superiors recently. For a couple of weeks now, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been in the dock in federal court in Washington, trying desperately to keep his one-time boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, from being stained by the responsibility for Libby's chats with reporters and government officials about Valerie Plame's CIA job. Then, just yesterday, Army General George Casey was raked over the coals by Senators who didn't think his past 30 months in command of U.S. ground forces in Iraq warrants his elevation to Army chief of staff. While he did get the promotion, the Senate vote of 83-to-14 was the poorest showing for an Army chief since Vietnam. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Casey should be held accountable for giving Congress too-rosy assessments of the war as the situation there spiraled downward into chaos. "I have questioned in the past and question today a number of decisions and judgments that Gen. Casey has made in the past two and a half years," McCain said. "During that time, conditions in Iraq have gotten remarkably and progressively worse."
This trio of woes seems to have a common thread: Underlings snared while trying to please their bosses. It's almost like blaming the hammer instead of the carpenter for a bent nail. Speaking to the Associated Press, Feith took umbrage at descriptions that his work was "inappropriate." Said he: "The policy office has been smeared for years by allegations that its pre-Iraq-war work was somehow 'unlawful' or 'unauthorized.'" He has a point: it was the Bush Administration that chose Feith's reports over those generated by its $1 billion-a-week intelligence operation. Feith's work was most certainly authorized from the very top.