As we prepare to give thanks -- and as Obama continues to fill at least the higher and more public level of administration positions with with a disproportionate number of Clinton-Bush center-right retreads, including many who were latecomers (if at all) to his campaign, and too few who could be called progressives -- it is useful to remember some true American Heroes.
...in tribute to the striking number of "governmental casualties of Bush administration follies, those men and women who were honorable or steadfast enough in their government duties, and so often found themselves smeared and with little alternative but to resign in protest, quit, or simply be pushed off the cliff by cronies of the administration
This has been a topic near and dear to my heart, as I am a career Federal employee who has questioned staying on while, in effect, working for a war criminal, even if I am far removed from the White House and my particular area remained all do-goodnik.
You may wish to nominate others in comments.
But, these brave people, true American Heroes, stand in contrast to the hackitude of many of Obama's appointments of folks who are still being rewarded for being wrong over the eight, sixteen, and more years.
As Cenk Uygur noted yesterday (in the context of what turns out to be one of our so far rare victories):
What's more than a little infuriating about Washington is that being right is never rewarded. If you're a pundit who was wrong on the Iraq War, you will always have a seat at the table. God forbid you were right about not going into Iraq, well then you are a fringe player who can't be trusted to be mainstream.
This list is primarily career public servants who were fired or resigned in protest to the Bush/Cheney/Rove administration. I have excluded those that Turse listed who were primarily Bush political appointees who later turned against some extreme element, since anybody who actively chose to sign on as a Bushie after the stolen Florida election is no hero in my book. Sorry but this includes the fired AGs, Paul O'Neill, etc.
Bunnatine ("Bunny") Greenhouse, the top official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of awarding government contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, was demoted. For years, Greenhouse received stellar evaluations from superiors -- until she raised objections about secret, no-bid contracts awarded to Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) -- a subsidiary of Halliburton, the mega-corporation Vice President Dick Cheney once presided over. After telling congress that one Halliburton deal was "the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career," she was reassigned from "the elite Senior Executive Service... to a lesser job in the civil works division of the corps."
Richard Clarke: Clarke became disillusioned with the "terrible job" of fighting terrorism exhibited by the second president Bush -- namely, ignoring evidence of an impending al-Qaeda attack and putting the pressure on to produce a non-existent link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Quit, January 2003.
Flynt Leverett, Ben Miller and Hillary Mann: A Senior Director for Middle East Affairs on President Bush's National Security Council (NSC), a CIA staffer and Iraq expert with the NSC, and a foreign service officer on detail to the NSC as the Director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs, respectively, they were all reportedly forced out by Elliott Abrams, Bush's NSC Advisor on Middle East Affairs, when they disagreed with policy toward Israel, and moving resources from Afghanistan to Iraq. Resigned/Fired, 2003.
Ann Wright: A career diplomat in the Foreign Service and a colonel in the Army Reserves resigned on the day the U.S. launched the Iraq War. Resigned, March 19, 2003.
John Brady Kiesling: A career diplomat who served four presidents over a twenty year span, he tendered his letter of resignation from his post as Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Resigned, February 27, 2003.
John Brown: After nearly 25-years, this veteran of the Foreign Service, he wrote: "I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq. Resigned, March 10, 2003.
Rand Beers: "The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure... As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out." Resigned, March 2003.
Anthony Zinni: A soldier and diplomat for 40 years, Zinni served from 1997 to 2000 as commander-in-chief of the United States Central Command in the Middle East. The retired Marine Corps general was then called back to service by the Bush administration to assume one of the highest diplomatic posts, special envoy to the Middle East (from November 2002 to March 2003), but his disagreement with Bush's plans to go to war and public comments that foretold of a prolonged and problematical aftermath to such a war led to his ouster Failed to be reappointed, March 2003.
Eric Shinseki: After General Shinseki, the Army's chief of staff, told Congress that the occupation of Iraq could require "several hundred thousand troops," he was derided by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Then, wrote the Houston Chronicle, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "took the unusual step of announcing that Gen. Eric Shinseki would be leaving when his term as Army chief of staff ended. Retired, June 2003.
Karen Kwiatkowski: A Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force who served in the Department of Defense's Near East and South Asia (NESA) Bureau in the year before the invasion of Iraq, she wrote in her letter of resignation: What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of ‘intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Hussein occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense." Retired, July 2003.
Charles "Jack" Pritchard: A retired U.S. Army colonel and a 28-year veteran of the military, the State Department, and the National Security Council, who served as the State Department's senior expert on North Korea and as the special envoy for negotiations with that country, resigned (according to the Los Angeles Times) because the "administration's refusal to engage directly with the country made it almost impossible to stop Pyongyang from going ahead with its plans to build, test and deploy nuclear weapons." Resigned, August 2003.
Major (then Captain) John Carr and Major Robert Preston: Air Force prosecutors, they quit their posts in 2004 rather than take part in trials under the military commission system. Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.
Captain Carrie Wolf: A U.S. Air Force officer, she also asked to leave the Office of Military Commissions due to concerns that the Bush-created commissions for trying prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were unjust. Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: He retired from the U.S. Army and stated: "I love the army and I was sorry to leave it. But I saw no possibility of fundamentally positive reform and reorgani[z]ation of the force for the current strategic environment or the future... It's a very sycophantic culture. The biggest problem we have inside the... Department of Defense at the senior level, but also within the officer corps -- is that there are no arguments. Arguments are [seen as] a sign of dissent. Dissent equates to disloyalty." Retired, June 2004.
Paul Redmond: After a long career at the CIA, Redmond became the Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security he reported, at a congressional hearing in June 2003, "that he didn't have enough analysts to do the job... candor was not appreciated by his bosses and, consequently, he had to go." Resigned, June 2003.
John W. Carlin: "Archivist of the United States Post reported that some had "suggested Bush may have wanted a new archivist to help keep his or his father's sensitive presidential records under wraps." Resigned, December 19, 2003.
Susan Wood and Frank Davidoff: Wood was the Food and Drug Administration's Assistant Commissioner for Women's Health and Director of the Office of Women's Health; Davidoff was the editor emeritus of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine and an internal medicine specialist on the FDA's Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee. Resigned in protest over the FDA's decision to delay yet again, due to pressure from the Bush administration, a final ruling on whether the "morning-after pill" should be made more easily accessible. Wood: Resigned, August 31, 2005. Davidoff: Resigned, September, 2005.
Thomas E. Novotny: A deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services and the chief official working on an international treaty to reduce cigarette smoking around the world, Novotny "stepped down," claimed Bush administration officials, "for personal reasons unrelated to the negotiations"; but the Washington Post reported that "three people who ha[d] spoken with Novotny... said he had privately expressed frustration over the administration's decision to soften the U.S. positions on key issues, including restrictions on secondhand smoke and the advertising and marketing of cigarettes." Resigned, August 1, 2001.
Joanne Wilson: The commissioner of the Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), she quit, "in protest of what she said were the administration's largely unnoticed efforts to gut the office's funding and staffing" and attempts to dismantle programs "critical to helping the blind, deaf and otherwise disabled find jobs." On February 7, 2005 the Bush administration announced that it would close all RSA regional offices and cut personnel in half. Quit, February 8, 2005.
James Zahn: a "nationally respected microbiologist with the Agriculture Department's research service," stated that "his supervisor at the USDA, under pressure from the hog industry, had ordered him not to publish his study," which "identified bacteria that can make people sick -- and that are resistant to antibiotics -- in the air surrounding industrial-style hog farms"; Resigned, May 2002.
Tony Oppegard and Jack Spadaro: Oppegard and Spadaro were members of a "team of federal geodesic engineers selected to investigate the collapse of barriers that held back a coal slurry pond in Kentucky containing toxic wastes from mountaintop strip-mining." According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this had been "the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States." Oppegard, who headed the team, "was fired on the day Bush was inaugurated... All eight members of the team except Spadaro signed off on a whitewashed investigation report. Oppegrad: Fired, January 20, 2001. Spaddaro: Resigned, October 1, 2003.
Teresa Chambers: After speaking with reporters and congressional staffers about budget problems in her organization, the U.S. Park Police Chief was placed on administrative leave. Fired, July 2004.
Martha Hahn: The state director for the Bureau of Land Management, "responsible for 12 million acres in Idaho, almost one-quarter of the state" for seven years, After she locked horns with cattle interests over grazing rights, she received a letter stating she was being transferred from her beloved Rocky Mountain West to "a previously nonexistent job in New York City." Resigned, March 6, 2002.
Andrew Eller: Eller "spent many of his 17 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protecting the [Florida] panther. But when his research didn't jibe with a huge airport project slated for the cat's habitat -- and Eller refused to play along--he was given the boot," Fired, November 2004.
Mike Dombeck: The chief of the Forest Service resigned after a 23-year government career. In his resignation letter, the pro-conservation Dombeck stated, "It was made clear in no uncertain terms that the [Bush] administration wants to take the Forest Service in another direction ...." Resigned, March 27, 2001.
James Furnish: A political conservative, evangelical Christian, and Republican who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 as well as the former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service (who spent 30 years, across 8 presidential administrations working for that agency), Furnish resigned in 2002 due to policy differences with the Bush administration. Resigned, 2002.
Mike Parker: In early 2002, Parker, the director of the Army Corps of Engineers testified before Congress that Bush-mandated budget cuts would have a "negative impact" on the Corps. "he was given 30 minutes to resign or be fired." In the wake of the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Parker's clashes with Mitch Daniels, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, can be seen as prophetic. Resigned, March 6, 2002.
Sylvia K. Lowrance: A top Environmental Protection Agency official who served the agency for over 20 years, including as Assistant Administrator of its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance for the first 18 months of the Bush administration, Lowrance retired, stating, "We will see more resignations in the future as the administration fails to enforce environmental laws." Retired, August 2002.
Bruce Boler: An EPA scientist who resigned from his post because developers and officials [at the Army Corps of Engineers] wanted me to support their position that wetlands are, literally, a pollution source." Resigned, October 23, 2003.
Eric Schaeffer: After twelve years of service, including the last five as Director of the Office of Regulatory Enforcement, at the Environmental Protection Agency, Schaeffer submitted a letter of resignation over the Bush administration's non-enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Resigned, February 27, 2002.
Bruce Buckheit: A 30-year veteran of government service, Buckheit retired in frustration over Bush administration efforts to weaken environmental regulations. "this administration has decided to put the economic interests of the coal fired power plants ahead of the public interests in reducing air pollution." Resigned, November 2003.
Rich Biondi: A 32-year EPA employee, Biondi retired from his post as Associate Director of the Air Enforcement Division of the Environmental Protection Agency. the Bush administration was interfering more and more with the ability to get the job done. Retired, December 2004.
Martin E. Sullivan, Richard S. Lanier and Gary Vikan: Three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee, they all resigned from their posts to protest the looting of Baghdad's National Museum of Antiquities. Resigned, April 14, 2003.
Jesselyn Radack: An attorney in the Justice Department's Professional Responsibility Advisory Office who worked on the case of John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, Radack warned federal prosecutors that interrogating him without his attorney present would be unethical. As she told TomDispatch: I was forced out of my job at the Justice Department, fired from my subsequent private sector job [with the law firm of Hawkins, Delafield & Wood] at the government's behest, placed under criminal investigations, referred to the state bars in which I'm licensed as an attorney, and put on the "no-fly" list. I have spent $100,000 defending against a criminal investigation that was dropped and a bar charge that was dismissed. The D.C. Bar Complaint is still pending after two years and despite the fact that I was elected to the D.C. Bar's Legal Ethics Committee." Resigned, April 2002.
Sibel Edmonds: Hired shortly after the 9/11 attacks as an FBI translator of documents related to the war on terror (due to her knowledge of Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani), Edmonds alleged security breaches, mismanagement, and possible espionage within the FBI in late 2001 and early 2002, and was fired. A summary of a report by the Justice Department's Inspector General, released in January 2005,
however "conclude[d] that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program." Fired, March 2002
Stephen R. Kappes: deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine services resigned, according to the Washington Post, after a confrontation with Patrick Murray, chief of staff to the new CIA director and Bush administration enforcer, former Congressman Porter Goss, who was said to be "treating senior officials disrespectfully." Resigned, November 2004.
Robert Richer: After less than a year on the job, Stephen Kappes' replacement as the number two official in the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Operations "quit" the agency as well. In a highly unusual move, the former CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan, and head of the Near East division, attended "a closed session of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence... to answer questions about how his concern over a lack of leadership at the agency triggered his retirement." Retired, September, 2005.
Central Intelligence Agency (30-90 personnel): Kappes and Richer were not alone. Goss has lost one director, two deputy directors, and at least a dozen department heads, station chiefs and division directors -- many with the key language skills and experience he has said the agency needs." Since Goss took over, according to Robert Dreyfuss in the American Prospect, "between 30 and 90 senior CIA officials have made their exit, some fleeing into retirement, others taking refuge as consultants. Others, unable to retire, have stayed, but only to mark time at the agency." Resigned/Retired/Reassigned, 2004-2005.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division (dozens of employees): upheaval that has driven away dozens of veteran lawyers and has damaged morale for many of those who remain, according to former and current career employees." in addition to a 40% drop in "prosecutions for the kinds of racial and gender discrimination crimes ...20 percent of the division's lawyers left in fiscal 2005, in part because of a buyout program that some lawyers believe was aimed at pushing out those who did not share the administration's conservative views on civil rights laws." ... "dozens" of those who remained with the agency were reassigned "to handle immigration cases instead of civil rights litigation." ... I don't think people anticipated that it would go this far, that enforcement would be cut back to the point that people felt like they were spinning their wheels." Retired/Resigned, 2005.
The Office of Special Counsel (7 employees): After Elaine Kaplan, a Clinton-appointee who headed the U.S. Office of Special Counsel -- the agency that investigates federal whistleblowers' allegations -- failed to be reappointed to a second term by President Bush, she tendered her resignation stating, "in these times of heightened concern about national security, it is very important that OSC be viewed as a credible, non-partisan advocate on behalf of whistleblowers." She was replaced by Scott Bloch, a Bush appointee who has been called "a gay-hating, secretive, partisan, political hack" and previously served as deputy director of the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Bloch, reports the Project On Government Oversight, went on to order "more than 20 percent of his headquarters legal and investigative staff to relocate or be fired. According to a letter of protest filed... by three national whistleblower watchdog groups, those targeted for forced moves [were] all career employees hired before Scott Bloch became Special Counsel, as part of a purge to stifle dissent and re-staff the agency with handpicked loyalists." Most refused to uproot their lives and, within a mandatory 60-day time limit, move from Washington, D.C. to Dallas, Oakland, or Detroit and were dismissed as a result. Fired, 2005.
Individual Ready Reserve (73 soldiers): Members of a special reserve program of "inactive troops" who are still under contract to the armed forces and were called back to service due to the Bush administration's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they "defied orders to appear for wartime duty, some for more than a year, yet the Army has quietly chosen not to act against them." Refused service, 2005.
Marlene Braun: A 13-year veteran of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), she was appointed manager of Carrizo Plain National Monument -- 250,000 acres of native grasses and Native American sacred sites,... under Interior Secretary Gale Norton, "began crafting a grazing policy that lifted protections for wildlife and habitat across 161 million acres of public lands in the West, including the Carrizo." ...stripped her of "almost all my influence on the Plain," transferring it to those she deemed to be "pro-grazing." She repeatedly clashed with him and wrote to colleagues, "I ... can't keep fighting indefinitely, I don't think... [but m]aybe fighting is better than capitulating.... The Carrizo could lose a lot if I give up.... But hell, you only live, and die, once!!!!" When Braun contacted other officials at the Department of Fish and Game as well as the Nature Conservancy about "several public misstatements she believed [her boss] had made about federal grazing law," he found out and suspended her. Braun appealed the suspension, but on February 15, 2005, her appeal was denied. Braun remained in touch with Bureau of Land Management officials concerning issues related to management of the Carrizo Plain and was repeatedly reprimanded for it. As a result, she told friends, she was certain she would be fired from the Bureau. Braun forwarded the disciplinary memos she continued to receive to officials at the Department of Fish and Game and the Nature Conservancy. She wrote, "I will no longer be participating in this mess.... I will not take being treated like a whipping girl..." The next day she put a .38 caliber pistol to her head and pulled the trigger. Committed Suicide, May 2, 2005.
Pat Tillman: A defensive back in the National Football League who turned down a $3.6 million contract to join the military after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he died in a hail of bullets in Afghanistan. Tillman, following in the tradition of the long-ago cast aside Jessica Lynch, was embraced by the administration as a poster-boy for the American war effort. His name was invoked by the White House as well as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a "symbo[l] of our country's courage and determination." It turned out, however, that he had been gunned down by U.S. troops and that fact was simply covered up by military officials. "After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this. They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a hand basket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy." And from beyond the grave, the administration's would-be propaganda puppet (who, it turns out was a major Noam Chomsky fan) had the last word -- via the recollections of his close friend, Army Specialist Russell Baer, who served with Tillman in Iraq: "We were outside of [a city in southern Iraq] watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin [Tillman, Pat's brother] and Pat, we weren't in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f____ illegal.' And we all said, ‘Yeah.' That's who he was. He totally was against Bush."
Valerie Plame and her husband ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson.
Russell Tice: A former intelligence agent with the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Tice worked at the NSA up until May of 2005 when, he notes, he was "given [his] walking papers and told [he] was no longer a federal employee" after he publicly blew the whistle on illegal NSA spying on U.S. citizens that began in 2002. Fired, May 2005.
James Robertson: Until recently one of eleven federal judges serving on the top secret the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts, Robertson submitted his resignation -- in protest of [President Bush's illegal domestic spying program] according to two sources familiar with his decision." the judges say is they feel they've participated in a Potemkin court.'" Resigned, December 2005.
Frederick A. Black: launched an investigation of top Republican fundraiser and now infamous Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A day later, a "White House news release announced that Bush was replacing Black". After 10 years on the job, he was demoted to a staff post. The inquiry into Abramoff's activities soon ended. Demoted, November 19, 2002.
Rick Piltz: A long-time federal employee, he worked on the government program researching global climate change for NASA, the EPA, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies, which became known, under George W. Bush, as the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). Pilz resigned as a Senior Associate of the CCSP, stating that: politicization by the White House has fed back directly into the science program in such a way as to undermine the credibility and integrity of the program in its relationship to the research community, to program managers, to policymakers, and to the public interest." Resigned, March 2, 2005.
James Hansen: After he gave a speech warning, "We're getting very close to a tipping point in the climate system. If we don't get off our 'business as usual' scenario and begin to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we're going to get big climate changes," NASA's chief climate scientist reported that the Bush administration attempted to silence him. "One threat was relayed to me that there would be 'dire consequences -- not specified,'" said Hansen, who told ABC News that threats came only by phone from NASA officials careful to leave no paper trail. Threatened, 2006.
Col. Ted Westhusing: A military ethics scholar and full professor at West Point who ...was tasked with overseeing USIS, a Virginia-based private security company with $79 million in contracts, to "train a corps of Iraqi police to conduct special operations." In the course of his duties, he received a report detailing corruption and human rights violations by USIS and Iraqi police trainees. "In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military." Westhusing expressed feelings of disillusionment and talked of resigning his command. Then, less than a month before his scheduled return home, Col. Ted Westhusing, according to the Army, committed suicide with his service revolver. A note in his room severely criticized his commanding officers and proclaimed, "I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. Death before being dishonored any more." Committed suicide, June 5, 2005.
Alan L. Balaran: The government's court-appointed Special Master overseeing a lawsuit involving the government's management of an over 115 year-old trust fund for Native Americans, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, found "sufficient evidence" suggesting the Bureau of Indian Affairs had retaliated against a whistleblower -- Mona Infield, a computer specialist in the BIA's Office of Information Resource Management. Balaran eventually resigned from his job, wrote the Washington Post, charging "that the Department of the Interior blocked his work in a bid to conceal its deals to enrich energy companies and cheat American Indians." In his letter of resignation, Balaran wrote, "A full investigation into these matters might well result in energy companies being forced to repay significant sums to individual Indians. [The Department of] Interior could not let this happen. . . Billions of dollars are at stake." Resigned, April 2004.
David Gunn: The President and Chief Executive of Amtrak, he headed the government-subsidized railroad from May 2002 until he was fired in November 2005. repeatedly clashed with White House officials over their increasingly divergent views on the future of Amtrak's passenger railway service... that Amtrak wasn't even consulted concerning the Bush Administration's plan to "turn over rail service to private operators and let states decide routes." ...decried Bush-backed budget cuts and plans to "privatize [Amtrak's] track in the Northeast and eliminate long-distance lines that serve rural America." Fired, November 2005.
Lawrence A. Greenfeld: He was a Bush-appointee and the head of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a small agency of mostly "statisticians who conduct studies and issue reports on law enforcement issues." According to news stories, he was ordered by acting Assistant Attorney General Tracy A. Henke to delete references to "findings that police treated Hispanic and black drivers more aggressively than whites during traffic stops" in a news release prepared to announce a study on the treatment of different ethnic groups by the police. Greenfeld refused. Reassigned/Demoted, 2005.
David Kay: The head of the Iraq Survey Group -- the organization the Bush administration tasked with locating Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq resigned from his position as chief weapons' inspector citing a lack of resources to complete the task. ...believed no such weapons existed and that the failure to find them raised serious questions about the quality of prewar intelligence." ...We are in grave danger of having destroyed our credibility internationally and domestically with regard to warning about future events. The answer is to admit you were wrong, and what I find most disturbing around Washington... is the belief... you can never admit you're wrong." Resigned, January, 2004.
Michael Scheuer: A 22-year veteran of the CIA, who worked in the Agency's Counterterrorist Center and once headed its Osama bin Laden task force, he resigned his post, publicly "criticizing the Bush administration for going to war in Iraq and for the way it has conducted the war on terror in general. "I've never experienced this much anxiety and controversy. Suddenly political affiliation matters to some degree. The talk is that they're out to clean out Democrats and liberals. The administration doesn't seem to be able to come to grips with the reality that it was a stupid thing to do to invade Iraq... If it goes too far like this into the political realm our fortunes overseas are going to be hurt." Resigned, November, 2004
Lt. Colonel Steve Butler: The vice chancellor for student affairs at the Defense Language Institute, he had a letter published in the May 26, 2002 Monterey County Herald in which he said, "Of course Bush knew about the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism. His daddy had Saddam and he needed Osama." As a result, the PhD and former combat pilot was relieved of duties at the DLI and threatened with court-martial. In the end, an Air Force spokesperson intimated that Butler would most likely face "administrative or nonjudicial disciplinary action." Further details have never been made public. Suspended from his duties, May/June, 2002.
Max H. Bazerman: A Harvard business professor as well as noted expert in the fields of corporate decision-making and, appropriately enough, the psychology of unethical behavior, Bazerman was slated to give expert testimony in the U.S. government's case that the "tobacco industry engaged in a 50-year conspiracy to defraud the public about the dangers and addictiveness of smoking." According to the Washington Post, "A top Justice Department official threatened to remove [Bazerman] from its witness list if he did not water down his recommended penalties for the tobacco industry." The Harvard professor responded: "I would have felt I was lying under oath, and I couldn't do that." Bazerman stated that the pressure on him was conveyed by Justice Department senior litigation counsel Frank J. Marine on behalf of Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum Jr. -- a senior political appointee supervising the case, who is believed to have radically cut the government's request for Tobacco industry penalties (from $130 billion to $10 billion). Oh yes, McCallum is a former partner in the law firm Alston and Bird, "which has represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, one of the defendants in the case." Bazerman was eventually allowed to testify. Threatened, 2005.
Richard S. Foster: "A longtime civil servant... [and] the Medicare program's chief actuary for nine years," he reported that he was repeatedly "threatened with firing if he disclosed too much information to Congress [and] he believe[d] the White House participated in the decision to withhold analyses that Medicare legislation President Bush sought would be far more expensive than lawmakers knew." Threatened, 2004.
Doug Parker: The pesticide coordinator and assistant director of forestry health for the U.S. Forest Service's Southwestern region, he "voiced concerns about alleged pesticide misuse in forests" in New Mexico and Arizona, according to an Associated Press report. Parker also accused some agency officials of not preparing proper environmental-risk assessments. He was promptly fired. "They want to be pesticide cowboys and go out there and do what they want to do without consideration of compliance with their own policies, regulations and environmental laws," he said. Fired, October, 2005.
Michael Kelly: A fishery biologist in the Arcata, California National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Field Office, he left his job in May 2004. In his letter of resignation to NOAA and the NOAA Fisheries Leadership, he wrote, in part: "My particular case is just symptomatic of this agency's failure to correctly apply science and caution to its decisions and public pronouncements. I speak for many of my fellow biologists who are embarrassed and disgusted by the agency's apparent misuse of science... I sincerely hope my bad experiences will not discourage agency personnel from speaking up for what is right if they find themselves in similar situations." Resigned, May 18, 2004.
- Rec list... obligatory thanks. I wish my brilliant health diaries would do as well :).
- Running list of names lifted from comments and added: Coleen Rowley who was FBI field office whistle blower after failure to prevent 9/11. There is a long list of military lawyers, JAG, NCIS etc: John Carr, Carrie Wolf; Andrew Williams, and Darrel Vandeveld (Jawas prosecutor, who resigned and became defense witness), and Stephen Abraham, and Charles Swift (the too successful Hamden defender), Colby Vokey, Morris Davis, Robert Preston,, and LtCmdr Matthew Diaz the navy lawyer who went to jail for releasing the names of Guantanamo detainees to a human rights organization without authorization but after Supreme Court order, allowing actual compliance with petitions for habeas corpus by otherwise unknown prisoners. Major Michael Mori (defended Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Matthew Hicks; passed over for promotion twice. Also: Dan Coleman and Jack Cloonan FBI agents who had lots of knowledge and involvement in the al-Qaeda issues, but who stood firm against torture. Alberto J. Mora (general counsel of the United States Navy) and David Brant (head of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service) who opposed torture, and Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba, who did the first investigation into torture as done at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib showing that it was systematic policy from above, not bad apples at the bottom. Bruce Hardcastle, a defense intelligence officer explained to the Bush officials that they were misreading the evidence; Bush Administration not only removed Hardcastle from his post, they did away with his job. Sergeant Joseph M. Darby the whistleblower in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. LtGen John M. Riggs, United States Army retired, is an American Army general who was retired, apparently as a result of his contradiction of the U.S. government stance on troop strength needed to support the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dr. Adam Finkel pushed OSHA to ascertain whether its workplace inspectors had been exposed to beryllium. FBI's Dan Dzwilewski, who was rebuked and transferred by superiors for publicly defending ousted U.S. Attorney Carol Lam. Major General John Batiste, (USA), a promising officer, "retired" as commander of the 1st Infantry Division, after all avenues for career advancement were blocked following his behind-closed-doors criticism of the U.S. strategy in the 'war on terror' (or lackthereof); consequently, he began openly criticizing the Bush Administration. John Chapman, U.S. Forest Service (see in comments).
- Obviously the deceased -- Tillman, Westhusing and Braun -- cannot be literally hired.
The point of this diary is not really that Obama should hire this person or that person, though some economists from EPI or CEPR and health reform input from PNHP would be nice.
The real point of the diary is on the one hand to give thanks to those who were right at the time and paid the price, compared to the majority who just went along. And also to point out how being correct and standing up is, despite some accolades, a career killer. Being any sort of "whistle blower" or "shrill" means even your own side won't hire you aftwards.
What's more than a little infuriating about Washington is that being right is never rewarded. If you're a pundit who was wrong on the Iraq War, you will always have a seat at the table. God forbid you were right about not going into Iraq, well then you are a fringe player who can't be trusted to be mainstream.
And not just foreign policy. Where are the economists (CEPR or EPI people like Dean Baker for example) and other policy people who were right at the time about deregulation, Glass-Steagall repeal, housing bubble, free/fair trade, etc. They are too shrill and not corporately-acceptable to be hired for front-line positions.
- This diary is a little similar to a diary I did way back on those pundits, politicians and others who got Iraq right (and for the right reasons) ahead of time and are/were being ignored. Pathetic that Obama's entire original basis for running against front-runner Hillary Clinton was he was against the war. We'll see....
- For those complaining about "complaining about Obama": My view is that is exactly our (center-left blogistan) role. In the immediate run up to election we need to work for more Democrats; but after elections we need to hold them to actually being better Democrats. We need to push Obama in a more progressive direction because, lord knows, there are lots of more powerful, monied and accessed pressure on the Obama adminstration to go right. If we don't pull, they are the only ones pushing. Also, I am a liberal and lefty and progressive first, and support that agenda and those policies first. I am a Democrat second, only because we are stuck with the reality of two party system. I for one will continue to exert any pressure that I can. I will not be quiet. What value is there to be quiet? Silence is a good way to be ignored. If not us, then who will stand up for a progressive agenda? Finally, the idea/excuse going around about just hire the "best" people is nonsense. The that it is all a matter of idealogy-free technocratic decision making is downright silly. One can chose smart competent at what they do people from left or right, and guess what... it matters in what policies get to Obama's desk. What is even part of the mix of options. On the domestic policy/economics team side, it really would be nice to seem some folks who were NOT selected BECAUSE they were idealogically part of the center-right conventional wisdom that reigned from Reagan through HW Bush, Clinton and Bush. Say from folks from EPI or CEPR or from the left side of labor. And less Wall Streeters. Some of them are even "best." Some of them even have experience working in prior administrations. They are actively not being chosen because they are too left/liberal/progressive. I am not asking for all lefties, but shouldn't Obama's balance include, say one out of three from the left end of Democrats, one-third center and one third right of center within the Democratic spectrum. Or maybe even tilted a little bit towards the folks who actually backed him early and propelled him to victory? Just askin'.