Wednesday, September 7, 2005

America's mismanagement culture

The unconscionable suffering in Katrina's wake resulted from complete failures by people whose cocky boasts of can-do skills wildly exceeded the reality of their can't-do performances.

American institutions today are beset with executives whose collective incompetence has created a culture of mismanagement, displacing celebrated U.S. genius for production quality, daring vision and industrial greatness.

In government, statecraft is a stranger to people of petty personal ambitions. In business, personal greed has replaced idealism and social responsibility. Listen to conservative columnist David Brooks:

"We have seen intelligence failures in the inability to prevent Sept. 11 and find WMDs in Iraq. We have seen incompetent postwar planning. We have seen the collapse of Enron and corruption scandals on Wall Street. We have seen scandals at our leading magazines and newspapers, steroids in baseball, the horror of Abu Ghraib.

"People are mad as Hell, unwilling to take it anymore."

Because our insulated president has cultivated a tin ear by speaking only to invited, applaud-on-cue audiences, his attempt at "compassionate conservatism" without a script backfired during a photo-op when he told a Katrina victim where she could find help. Not from his federal disaster team, TV viewers heard, but from the Salvation Army.

Now, President Bush would investigate botched Gulf Coast rescue and relief efforts—a probe of causes his administration created. Can a political whitewash be far away?

Looks like Iraq isn't the only place where White House policies have become scandalous, deadly failures.

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