Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Accumulated Wisdom

In what seems like an extraordinary effort to reach out and tap the wisdom of previous administrations, President Bush recently met with living prior Secretaries of State and Defense. It is an impressive picture:

If he were truly seeking wisdom and guidance from this treasure trove of accumulated experience, it would be a stunning change and major improvement in the running of this country.

From the New York Times:

But if it was a bipartisan consultation, as advertised by the White House, it was a brief one. Mr. Bush allowed 5 to 10 minutes for interchange with the group – which included three veterans of the Vietnam era: Robert S. McNamara, Melvin R. Laird and James R. Schlesinger – before herding the whole group into the Oval Office for what he called a “family picture.”

Those who wanted to impart more wisdom to the current occupants of the White House were sent back across the hall to meet again with Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But as several of the participants noted, by that time Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had gone on to other meetings.

When cameras were in the room, Mr. Bush displayed no hint of defensiveness, only gratitude. “I’m most grateful for the suggestions that have been given,” he said. “We take to heart the advice, we appreciate your experience and we appreciate you taking the time out of your day.”

Typical, just a photo-op.

All hat, no cattle.

Oh, and eleven american soldiers killed in Iraq yesterday alone, not to mention 150+ Iraqis.

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Your source differs considerably regarding the meeting from that given by Albright and Schlesinger as related in their discussion with Jim Lehrer on Wednesdaay’s News Hour (PBS). Suggest the streaming audio on Though not a three day seminar, sounds like more than a five minute preamble to a photo op. Why not view it as a step in the right direction and hope for more, rather than to react negatively in haste? Guess it depends on what your priorities are.

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