Bush Aides Quitting Early




 
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Bush Aides Quitting Early
 
May 8th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Bush Aides Quitting Early


Bush Aides Quitting Early
Miami Herald
May 8, 2007
At least 20 senior aides have either retired or resigned from important posts in the Bush administration, way ahead of schedule.
By Matthew Lee, Associated Press
Top members of President Bush's national security team are leaving in one of the earliest waves of departures from a second-term administration -- nearly two years before Bush's term ends.
As rancor in the nation rises over handling of the war in Iraq, at least 20 senior aides have either retired or resigned from important posts at the White House, Pentagon and State Department in the past six months.
Some have left for lucrative positions in the private sector. Some have gone to academic or charitable institutions. The latest was Deputy National Security Advisor J.D. Crouch, who spoke favorably of Bush's policies as he announced he was leaving last week.
Turnover is normal as an administration nears its end, but ''this is a high number,'' said Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University and an expert on government.
''You would expect to see vacancies arise as things wind down, but it's about six months early for this kind of a mass exodus,'' he said.
One reason may be that Vice President Dick Cheney will not run to succeed Bush in 2008, setting the stage for wholesale changes at all levels of government no matter who wins the election. Also, several of the departures were not voluntary.
Then just this month, Randall Tobias, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development who held a rank equivalent to deputy secretary of state, resigned after being linked to a Washington call-girl scandal.
Some officials, however, speaking only privately, say some people may be leaving to avoid being associated with the increasingly unpopular Iraq conflict.
About six in 10 Americans say the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq and almost as many say they think it's a hopeless cause, according to recent AP-Ipsos polling. Less than a third support Bush's handling of the war.
At the White House, four top officials have stepped down, including Crouch; Meghan O'Sullivan, another deputy national security advisor who worked on Iraq; Tom Graham, the senior director for Russia; and Director for Asian Affairs Victor Cha, point man for the Koreas.
O'Sullivan's departure has set off a search for a ''war czar'' to oversee operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a job reportedly turned down by a number of senior or retired generals.
Graham's resignation comes as tensions with Russia rise over U.S. missile defense plans in Europe, and Cha leaves amid concerns over North Korea's failure to comply with deadlines over its nuclear weapons programs.
Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld resigned under fire in November and is not included in the list of 20.
His close associate and chief of intelligence Stephen Cambone followed him out the door as did Peter Rodman, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. Army Secretary Francis Harvey was fired over shoddy conditions at Walter Reed hospital.
Another Pentagon official, Richard Lawless, senior policy coordinator for Asia, may leave this summer.
 


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