Friday, March 25, 2011

NSC Chief Donilon the Ultimate Eff-Up in the Libya Fiasco?

Actually, I combine stupidity and stubbornness to equal degrees...a perfect bureaucrat!

PJM's Richard Pollock has a very good takedown of the complete fool in charge of the NSC, a political operative along the lines of Sandy Berger of National Archive document-stealing fame.

Donilon is portrayed by Bob Woodward as an opinionated oaf far out of his depth in the opinion of his predecessor James Jones and SecDef Gates. But as the most politicized and corrupt presidency in US history since Warren Harding, Donilon fits right in, with ties to serial-gaffer Joe Biden that are secured with hoops of steel. The fact that the brewing crisis in Libya did not avert Obama's "trade-mission tour" to Brazil is simply astounding, as silly as this pickininny's addiction to golf when the going gets tough.
Tom Donilon’s other major liability is his long-time reputation as a harsh political operative. He learned the art of sharp elbowed politics as a 23-year-old assistant to Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan. Jordan dispatched him to the 1980 Democratic National Convention to do President Carter’s dirty work. He successfully shot down Senator Ted Kennedy’s challenge to the president.

But Donilon may be best-known as the chief lobbyist for government-backed mortgage giant Fannie Mae — just before it imploded. For six years he was a fierce fighter at Fannie Mae, fending off reform efforts by Republicans to rein in the federal agency. He also was deceptive about the agency’s troubles. According toABC News, he painted a rosy picture of the agency while it was going south:

Donilon is described as someone who lobbied for and helped paint a rosy picture of Fannie Mae’s financial health to the company’s board. He did so at a time when Fannie Mae faced accusations that it was misstating its earnings from 1998 to 2004.

A 2006 federal investigation caught Donilon as part of a group of Fannie Mae executives who exchanged “scripts” in advance of meetings of the agency’s independent compensation committee. When Fannie Mae’s independent regulator — the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight — sought to investigate Fannie Mae, Donilon aggressively attacked it. David Frum wrote: “Donilon is the ultimate Democratic Party politico.”

But why is Donilon the NSC Chief in the first place? Is this another example of Demonrat wrongheaded politics overn foreign policy? Why are certifiable buffoons like Donilon and Clapper remaining on the job while steady-as-they-go types like Jones and Gates looking to exit this sinking ship? Why is Obama looking to appoint a certifiable politico embroiled in the DOJ scandal of keeping FBI & CIA from each other, the ineffable insufferable Jamie Gorelick, as FBI Director? Gorelick went from the DOJ to Fannie Mae to collect a cool $30 million while a corrupt and mindless lamestream media looked the other way.
The well-connected Donilon initially served as Obama’s transition chief at the State Department, and hoped to land a top job there. His controversial role at Fannie Mae convinced Obama that Donilon would never receive Senate confirmation, so he landed at the NSC.

A number of State Department officials have told PJM that when they see what looks like seat-of-the pants management, it looks like Donilon’s work: “This is pure Tom Donilon,” a USAID official told told PJM. “He makes it up as he goes along.” The official spoke to PJM on the condition of anonymity.

On the conservative side of the fence, the analysis about Donilon isn’t much better. Andy McCarthy of the National Review Institute told PJM the administration’s Libyan operation “looks like what you would expect it would look like if they didn’t have a plan going in and they didn’t have an objective.”

As the Libya adventure goes south, Washington seems to be entering the fingerpointing stage. Even now, so early in the deployment, many issues seem to point to strategic military and diplomatic blunders, and much of them fall onto Tom Donilon’s desk.

For example, few are clear even now whether the U.S. military mission is to protect Libyan civilians or to topple the regime of Col. Muammar Gaddafi. The NATO alliance itself appears to be fracturing. From the NATO command in Brussels there is reported criticism of the “hastily improvised nature of the military coalition.” The German military now has entirely pulled out its military forces from the Libyan coalition. The Brits and Americans are in a public brawl as to whether or not Gaddafi should be assassinated. Turkey has tried to exercise a veto about NATO leadership.

And there is near universal uncertainty about whether the continuing military action will be directed by the U.S., NATO, or a new unspecified international coalition. “The NSC is kind of the hub that’s the intersection between intelligence, national security and the military,” McCarthy says. “It seems to be a failing of arriving at a coherent strategy from all those different components of government.” This is all Donilon’s portfolio.

The verdict from the State Department and Congress is unequivocal:
And how could Donilon permit President Obama to take a whirlwind tour of Latin America as a major wartime mission was getting underway? The State Department source called it “purely astonishing.”

There also is the rupture with Congress and liberal Democrats. Donilon, a consummate political operative, should have foreseen the need to formally notify Congress under the War Powers Act, which requires formal notification of Congress when military hostilities begin. And the White House did not reach out with kid gloves to the party’s left wing, who are enraged by the use of military force in a third Muslim country.

Certainly there is enough blame to go around, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Secretary Gates and President Obama. But the nexus of the entire operation is Thomas Donilon, and fingers seem to be pointing at him as the possible fall guy.

But competence and judgment skills take a back seat in this administration to the much more important qualification that Donilon enjoys:
In addition to President Obama, Donlion enjoys the confidence of Vice President Joe Biden: Donilon served as a close confidant to Biden in the late 80s. When Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Donilon was a key player in the destruction of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. He was also part of a close-knit group of advisors behind Biden’s presidential bid in 2007. Brother Mike Donilon currently serves as counselor to the vice president, and wife Cathy Russell is Jill Biden’s chief of staff. Few were willing to talk publicly about Donilon. Typical was this statement from a former political colleague:
Everybody I know who knows Tom Donilon wouldn’t say that he his unqualified — even if they believe he is. This is mostly due to the fact they are all former campaign colleagues, or they want to curry favor with him.

When you have a silly sh*thead for a protector like Joe Biden, who needs the skills required for the NSC job?

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