What does it mean when the Secretary of Homeland Security resigns because he needs a private sector job in order to afford to send his two children to college? Should we send military recruiters to offer his children the same enticing options other underprivileged students hear now the War President has delivered tuition hikes and grant cuts? Is it time to raise the minimum wage to ninety dollars an hour, to keep other American families from falling into this unbearable level of poverty? Maybe we need to outsource the Department of Homeland Security to overseas workers who know how to survive on pathetic salaries.
Then again, it might benefit us to consider asking someone other than the War President to nominate Mr. Ridge's replacement. I fear his wont for traditional family values hampers his objectivity, since Karen Hughes, War President advisor, Ari Fleisher, War President press secretary, Christine Todd Whitman, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Rosario Marin, Treasury Department, and Peter Fisher, Undersecretary, Treasury Department, all left their positions because they wanted to spend more time with their families.
In March 2003, Janet Rehnquist resigned as inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department after a controversial tenure and while Congress investigated, among other things, her decision to delay an audit of Florida's pension fund at the request of Governor Jeb Bush's office. She cited wanting to spend more time with her family as the reason for her resignation also. If nepotism counts as a family issue, Armitage Richards, Deputy Secretary of State, offered as his reason for resigning that he came with the secretary and would leave with him. Victoria Clarke, Pentagon Spokesperson, left for personal reasons, which might qualify as a family related matter, as does Army General Wayne Downing's resignation from his post as deputy national security advisor to return to the more relaxed life of fine-tuning trout fishing.
Why then, does the War President offer family history and close friendships as selling points for his most recent nominations, Alberto Gonzales, and Carlos M. Gutierrez? I asked myself that question, but then realized that as striking as the family issue seems, it was not the only, or even the most commonly used reason for resignations by his appointees.
Some others left in groups, so I consider the possibility that it is a syndrome much like girls going to the bathroom in packs. J. Cofer Black, the State Department official in charge of counterterrorism, and Robert Blackwell, a former ambassador to India who was overseeing Iraq strategy at the National Security Council both resigned this month, neither citing family commitments as a reason. At the same time, department spokesman Adam Ereli said he would end his 30-year government career in a matter of weeks. Two U.S. diplomats, John H. Brown and John Brady Kiesling resigned from Foreign Service in protest against the War President's approach to disarming Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Colin Powell, Secretary of State, Anne Veneman, Agriculture Secretary, Rod Paige, Education Secretary, and Spencer Abraham, Energy Secretary all announced resignations within weeks after the last election.Â Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, and White House senior economic advisor Larry Lindsey, submitted their resignations on the same December day in 2002 as administration officials began reshuffling the War President's financial team.Â John Ashcroft, Attorney General, decided to look for new horizons at the same time Don Evans, Commerce Secretary, decided it was time to go home. J.D. Crouch II, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, offers a plan to return to academia as the reason for his resignation, effective Friday.
The War President has seen changes in warheads. US Commander of Central Command, GeneralÂ Tommy Franks, U.S. Army, resigned mid-war because he planned to retire from active duty the following summer. Colonel Douglas Macgregor of the US Army retired, criticizing a "sycophantic" army culture that he blames for failures in Iraq and wasteful investments in new technology and saw no possibility of fundamentally positive reform for the current strategic environment or the future.Â Thomas White, Army Secretary, resigned in April 2003, although it is rumored Donald Rumsfeld fired him.
The CIA suffered many losses, including that of Director George Tenet, who resigned after he testified before the 9/11 Commission.Â Stephen R. Kappes, the deputy director for operations, and his deputy, Michael J. Sulick, each left after serving twenty-three years. David Kays, former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq left his position, stating the CIA and other agencies failed to recognize that Saddam Hussein all but abandoned efforts to produce large quantities of chemical and biological agents after the 1991 Gulf War, and accused U.S. intelligence agencies of widespread failures in evaluating pre-war Iraqi weapons programs. In June 2004, James Pavitt, a thirty-one-year veteran of the leading U.S. spy agency resigned the day after the agency's director announced he would leave.
Mike Dombeck, Forest Service chief, resigned March 27, 2001 because he wasn't happy with the new direction the administration wanted to take the Forest Service in. Eric Schaeffer, director of the EPA Office of Regulatory Enforcement, resigned February 27, 2002 stating he was fighting a White House that seemed determined to weaken the rules he was trying to enforce. John Brady Kiesling, a twenty-year veteran of the Foreign Service, resigned on February 27, 2003 because he had "tried and failed to reconcile his conscience with his ability to represent the current administration." Karen Kwiatkowski, office of the undersecretary of defense, Near East Bureau, resigned on July 1, 2003, because she believed the environment in which decisions about post war Iraq were made wereÂ " aberrant, pervasive, and contrary to good order and discipline".Â Isam al-Khafaji, former member of the Iraqi reconstruction council, resigned because he wanted to leave with a clear conscience and did not want to be a collaborator with occupying forces.Â
Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board resigned in March 2003, because of a conflict of interest. John Poindexter, Pentegon, resigned following his involvement in an ill-fated plan to launch an online futures market for betting on Middle Eastern developments that was advertised as a vehicle for profiting on assassinations and other terrorist acts. Examples included the possibility of betting on the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat or the overthrow of Jordan's monarchy.
Jack Pritchard, the special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, resigned at a critical moment in August 2003. Paul Redmond, America's top spy catcher, resigned suddenly in the middle of his secret investigation into how Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden allegedly obtained US computer software.Â
Mark Weinberger, a corporate tax lobbyist who became the War President's top tax policy advisor resigned in March 2002, after one year on the job, amid heightened scrutiny of his Office of Tax Policy. In October 2003, Dennis McKinney resigned after three years with the EPA because the Regional Administrator did not want the EPA to oppose state positions.
Thomas Scully, Medicare and Medicaid administrator, resigned in December 2003, saying millions would lose out on the promise of better benefits under the new Medicare bill signed by the War President. AIDS Panel Director, Patricia Ware, resigned her position at HHS in February 2003, after a controversy in which someone she had selected for the panel withdrew amid revelations that he had made anti-gay comments.
When Mitch Daniels, Budget Director, resigned on May 6, 2003 to run for Governor of Indiana, he was the last remaining member of the War President's original economic team remaining.
I've probably forgotten a few, fired someone who didn't really resign, and possibly mixed up reasons for resignations. The swinging door makes me dizzy. I encourage you to follow the links; read in their own words why so many resigned.Â With a record like this, should we feel comfortable with the War President's nominations and appointments for those positions vacated since November 2?
11/9/05 update:Â (sorry I can't keep up.Â Hopefully, there will have been more before this hits the web- like Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rice, Rumsfeld)
Bunnatine ("Bunny") Greenhouse
Richard Clarke -National Security Council, terrorism advisor â€“ became disillusioned with Bush's "terrible job"
Paul O'Neill â€“ Secretary of Treasury -He, like Clarke, recalled Bush's Iraq fixation. "From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," said O'Neill, a permanent member of the National Security Council. "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this.'" Fired, December 6, 2002.
Flynt Leverett â€“ Senior Director for Middle East Affairs
Ben MillerÂ â€“ CIA staffer and Iraq expert with the NSC
Hillary Mann â€“ foreign service officer on detail to the NSC as the Director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs
Larry Lindsey â€“ top economic advisor
Ann Wright â€“ career diplomat in Foreign Service
John Brady Kiesling â€“ career diplomat serving four presidents over twenty years
John Brown â€“ veteran of Foreign Service (24+ years) "I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq. The president has failed to: explain clearly why our brave men and women in uniform should be ready to sacrifice their lives in a war on Iraq at this time; to lay out the full ramifications of this war, including the extent of innocent civilian casualties; to specify the economic costs of the war for the ordinary Americans; to clarify how the war would help rid the world of terror; [and] to take international public opinion against the war into serious consideration." Resigned, March 10, 2003.
Rand Beers â€“ National Security Council, Senior Director for combating terrorism
Karen Kwiatkowski â€“ Lt. Colonel, Air Force I observed the environment in which decisions about post-war Iraq were madeâ€¦ 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
Major John Carr and Major Robert Preston â€“ Air Force Prosecutors - quit their posts in 2004 rather than take part in trials under the military commission system President Bush created in 2001 which they considered "rigged against alleged terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.
Captain Carrie Wolf â€“ USAF â€“ asked to leave due to concerns commissions for trying prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were unjust
Frank Davidoff - "I can no longer associate myself with an organization that is capable of making such an important decision so flagrantly on the basis of political influence
Joanne Wilson - commissioner of the Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration Joanne Wilson, who left her job as commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration on March 1, now says she quit in protest of what she said were the administration's largely unnoticed efforts to gut the office's funding and staffing.
"Programs for people with disabilities are being dismantled, and nobody is crying out and saying, 'Look what's happening,' " said Wilson, who, as RSA commissioner, was one of the government's highest-ranking disabled officials.
Tony Oppegard & Jack SpadaroÂ
Teresa Chambers - U.S. Park Police ChiefÂ - UPDATE: 4/12/06 - Note from Teresa Chambers:Â "You can read more about my case at a website my husband established, www.HonestChief.com,. While there, you can also hear some of the previous stories posted by its webmaster as well as many of my media interviews in the audio library, accessed via a button at the top left of the home page. Please be sure to start with the "First Time Visitor" button on the left side of the home page. "
"This siutation has far reaching implications for every American. Please consider keeping this story alive by informing others of these outrageous actions by certain Federal officials who should be concerned for your safety and who should be upholding the values of freedom of speech and of honesty and integrity in government. Feel free to reach out to me for any additional information I can provide."
Sylvia Lowrance â€“ EPA official - "This Administration has pulled cases and put investigations on ice," Lowrance says. "They sent every signal they can to staff to back off. When you stop enforcing, there are implications to the entire compliance system. If no one believes EPA is going to enforce, overall compliance rates go down. The saddest thing is not these individual instances of nonenforcement, but what has happened to the reputation of the program itself.
"I fear that with lax EPA enforcement, corporate leaders are not going to spend scarce resources to expand compliance programs."
George C. Deutsch â€“ young presidential appointee at NASA - Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there
3/29/06 Andy Card, Gale Norton
(guess I need to alphabetize these soon)
Claude Allen was arrested on Jan. 2. That night he met with Chief of Staff Andy Card and White House Counsel Harriet Miers to discuss the charges. According to McClellan, Allen told them the incident was a misunderstanding stemming from credit card confusion because he had moved a number of times. "He assured them that he had done nothing wrong, and that he was working to get the matter cleared up," said McClellan at a news conference.
A few days after the Jan. 2 meeting, Allen told staff members that he had been thinking about leaving from his position because he wanted to spend more time with his family. He waited until after the State of the Union address to resign and completed his last day on Feb. 17. Allen's trial is set for April 27. If convicted he could face 30 years in jail and/or $50,000 in fines.
Tom DeLay Leaves U.S. Politics with Low Numbers â€“ 4/4/06 DeLay faces a charge of money laundering for allegedly using funds from corporate donors to support legislative candidates in Texas. If convicted, DeLay could be fined up to $10,000 U.S. and sentenced to six months to two years in jail.Â
4/19/06 - Scott McClellan and Karl Rove
5/5/06 - Teresa Chambers Featured in New Book Profiling Patriotic Americans
During the past year, I was interviewed by Bill Katovsky for his book, "Patriots Act:Â Voices of Dissent and the Risk of Speaking Out."Â
Chapter 16 of the book, which is now available for sale, is entitled "The Honest Chief."Â I am humbled to be included among the courageous giants included in "Patriots Act."Â You can read more about the book, including brief, selected excerpts, at www.HonestChief.com.
Also on 5/5/06 - CIA Director <a href="http://www.nbc6.net/politics/9167164/detail.html">Porter Goss</a> Resigns.Â Â The news of the Goss resignation comes as new poll numbers continue to cause dismay for Republicans.
6/06Â John Snow, Treasure Secretary, resigns in another chapter of a White House shake-up to revive President Bush's troubled presidency
Nov 8, 2006 - Bush names Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld.