Fisking Lee Iacocca
I got this at work, and sent it to my home email address. I haven't seen tripe like this since the last time I was hunting wild pigs. I rather think that Lee should sit in his rocking chair and get his meds adjusted. My comments are below in offset type. Lee Iacocca seems to have lost what ever ability he ever had to track a complex situation, along with what ever humility might be expected in writing about a field in which he has little experience. Catherine Whitney appears to be a professional ghost writer, by which we know her opinions would be universally ignored unless she gave someone else royalties and top billings.
Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
By Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney
Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind,
(by the way, Iacocca was a corporate gangster, robbing the US taxpayer by "saving" chrysler with government guaranteed loans.)
and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But
(by the way, cleaning up after a hurricane isn't a federal job, is it?)
instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course." Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!
You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones,
(by the way, he can only tap your phone if you are talking overseas, or with a court ordered warrant, as it has always been. Back during Kennedy/Johnson administrations the FBI did wire taps without court orders. This president has correctly reined in the FBI.)
and lead us to war on a pack of lies.
(That is itself a lie. Most famously, British Intelligence still asserts that Saddam tried to purchase yellowcake from Africa. That was actually confirmed by the Ambassador Wilson, the husband of famous Non-Covert Agent Valerie Plame. Wilson lied in the editorials he wrote for Kerry. Czech intelligence still asserts that Mohammed Atta of the 9/11 scum met with an Iraqi Intelligence officer in Prague.)
Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge
tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it).
(In the immortal words of Don Luskin, what is right about taxing a hard working taxi driver who works 2 shifts, more than a lazy taxi driver that works one shift? Aside from that, lowering tax rates increases tax revenues. If the tax rate was 100% then noone would work. Sure you don't have to, but some of the rest of us do. Lowering the tax rate provides incentive for the rest of us.)
The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs.
(Shame on you. Then publicize an innovator, like Bill Gates, Woz of Apple, or Seymour Cray. Use that tax rate reduction to risk some money on an innovation. Put up or shut up.)
While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do.
(by the way, we know what to do. We kill and imprison the killers. We arrange elections to bring meaningful self government. We work with the elected governments, such as Israel, Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan to resist the terrorists.)
And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions.
(by the way, I can always tell when Iraq is getting better: The news focuses on silly things, such as Anna Nichol, or whether a political appointee was hired or fired for political reasons.)
That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?
(I have had enough of wealthy Democrats accusing honest people, and demanding that the government ruin the country so that wealthy democrats can take power, ruining the country even faster. Guess who I am thinking of Lee...)
I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not
outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.
My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to˜as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young
folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.
Who Are These Guys, Anyway?
Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them, or at least some of us did. But I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn't agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech
treason. Where I come from that's a dictatorship, not a democracy.
(I agree, we didn't suspend the Constitution, except under FDR, who wanted to regulate everything, despite the clear limitations of the Constitution. The Commerce Clause only gave power to the federal government to regulate INTERSTATE Commerce. Thomas and Scalia seem to be willing to fix that error, made by a Supreme Court under pressure from the FDR's unconstitutional "Court Packing" scheme. Roe v. Wade and Kelo are other Supreme court decisions not, in my view justified by the Text and intent of the Founders.)
And don't tell me it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.
Where are the voices of leaders who can inspire us to action and make us stand taller? What happened to the strong and resolute party of Lincoln? What happened to the courageous, populist party of FDR and Truman?
(It was the party of Lincoln that gave us our first income tax, first found unconstitutional. I cut Lincoln some slack as he was under serious stress with the Civil War and all. FDR threw a recovering nation into depression with his taxes. Kennedy, Reagan, and GW Bush by cutting tax rates, brought economic prosperity. Is that what you are really against?)
There was a time in this country when the voices of great leaders lifted us up and made us want to do better. Where have all the leaders gone?
The Test of a Leader
I've never been Commander in Chief, but I've been a CEO.
(And you were dropped from Ford like a bad habit. The next company you were CEO of was bought out by a foreign company, and is now for sale, having had its pockets picked for intellectual property. Something of which I am sure you are proud.)
I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I've figured out nine
points, not ten (I don't want people accusing me of thinking I'm Moses). I call them the "Nine C's of Leadership." They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009.
Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let's be sure we use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It's up to us to choose wisely.
So, here's my C list:
A leader has to show CURIOSITY. He has to listen to people outside of the "Yes, sir" crowd in his inner circle. He has to read voraciously, because the world is a big, complicated place. George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. "I just scan the headlines," he says. Am I hearing this right? He's the President of the United States and he never reads a newspaper? Thomas Jefferson once said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or
newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to
prefer the latter." Bush disagrees. As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he's ready to go.
(As an MBA, Bush knows that his time is valuable. Rather than reading stuff written by traitors (see NY Times) or incompetent liars (See CBS) he reads position papers prepared for him by experts. More efficient.)
(by the way, I don't read the newspapers, rather I read blogs and bulletin boards. I start my morning with Instapundit, and end my day with Little Green Footballs. Newspapers tend to be written by journalists, hardly informed about key matters, and alas, sadly twisted by their agenda. Newspapers used to send a reporter to the bar to listen to conversations. They are not much more accurate now. The Hearst Newspapers inflamed opinion to lead the US into the Spanish American War. The NY Times is slightly more biased than the Socialist Worker Daily. Network News, aside from Fox actually leaves you dumber when you finish than when you start. Noone should think that is admirable.)
If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn't put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he's right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don't care.
(Pres. Bush is so willing to go outside his comfort zone that he kept CIA director Tenet on. Now one can argue that he spent too much time listening to Tenet, but not that Bush doesn't listen. By constrast, Clinton had Stansfield Turner as his CIA director for 2 years, and never had a single meeting with him. So Lee, you have a point, but your finger is in the wrong direction.)
Before the 2006 election, George Bush made a big point of saying he didn't listen to the polls. Yeah, that's what they all say when the polls stink. But maybe he should have listened, because 70 percent of the people were saying he was on the wrong track. It took a "thumping" on election day to wake him up, but even then you got the feeling he wasn't listening so much as he was calculating how to do a better job of convincing everyone he was right.
(Clinton famously governed by polls, and because of that was paralyzed when terrorists were murdering US citizens, and innocents who happened to be trying to see a US Embassy in Africa. Rather than respond to a real threat against the US, he attacked [without UN sanctions, or declaration of war] a Christian nation defending itself against Muslim terrorists. I suppose you think that is better?)
A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different.
(Something creative? Like reskinning the Ford Falcon and showing the product in advertising with pretty girls? Don't make me laugh. You wouldn't know creativity if it bit you on the Arse. The Special Forces and Airpower takedown of the Taliban will be studied by military schools for the next hundred years. Now that was creative. Clinton's creativity was limited to ways to hide the Rose Law Firm billing records, how to move Vince Foster's body, and how to look sad and then lie to the camera. Even his perversions were of the most pedestrian kinds.)
You know, think outside the box. George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone should accuse him of flip-flopping.
(I suppose you think it bad that noone ever accused him of Treason, like Kerry, or of draft dodging like Clinton. Rather, your crowd complains that he won't commit treason fast enough!)
There's a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty. Senator Joe Biden recalled a conversation he had with Bush a few months after our troops marched into Baghdad. Joe was in the Oval Office outlining his concerns to the President˜the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanded Iraqi army, the problems securing the oil fields. "The President was serene," Joe recalled. "He told me he was sure that we were on the right course and that all would be well. 'Mr. President,' I finally said, 'how can you be so sure when you don't yet know all the facts?'" Bush then reached over and put a steadying hand on Joe's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My instincts." Joe was flabbergasted. He told Bush, "Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough." Joe Biden sure didn't think the matter was settled. And, as we all know now, it wasn't.
(This is the Joe Biden, who plagerized Neil Kinnock's biography? Well, if he said it, then it must be true, after all, he would never lie, would he?
The Iraqi army was disbanded because all the survivors had gone home. They disbanded themselves, showing ability to act without government direction that gives hope that Iraq may someday be more than a charnel house with a madman at the gate.
Tough love is tough. It isn't the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do. We now have to continue with tough love. A large number of troops in Iraq would have meant no reason for the Iraqis to step up and govern themselves. We would have just replaced one dictatorship with another. Iraqis are beginning to come around. The sheiks of Al Anbar are resisting Al Queda, and shutting down the Baathists. The Shi'ites are tired of Al Sadr and his bullies. We have had two elections, rather quicker than we had two elections after WWII. Rather than 295,000 deaths during WWII when we had the leaders you crave, we have had just over one 50th that casualty rate. We still have service members in Cuba, long after the Spanish American war of 1898. We still have service men in Germany (some 72,000, so there is really no shortage of service members), and Japan, long after the victories of 1945. We still have service members in South Korea. Why pull out of a fight that we are winning when we don't pull out of places where we have already won?)
Leadership is all about managing change˜whether you're leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You adapt. Maybe Bush was absent the day they covered that at Harvard Business School.
(Lee, the current administration has changed, and the soldiers on the ground are changing tactics and techniques daily. What you don't change is strategy, because strategy is a long lead item. Our friends need to know we won't run out on them. Our enemies need to know they can't out wait them. Telling people that we should quick, surrender before we do something silly like win, well that is just not very helpful for the good guys.)
A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I'm not talking about running off at the mouth or spouting sound bites. I'm talking about facing reality and telling the truth. Nobody in the current administration seems to know how to talk straight anymore. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to convince us that things are not really as bad as they seem. I
don't know if it's denial or dishonesty, but it can start to drive you crazy after a while.
(Compare the butcher bill. Civil War 680,000 deaths. WWI 100,000 deaths. WWII: 295,000 deaths. Korea 28,000 deaths. Vietnam 58,000 deaths. First Gulf War: 140 deaths. War on Terror: 6,200 deaths, including the civilians murdered in the 9/11 atrocity. Wait, where are the rest of those zeros? I would say things are going swimmingly.)
Communication has to start with telling the truth, even when it's painful. The war in Iraq has been, among other things, a grand failure of communication. Bush is like the boy who didn't cry wolf when the wolf was at the door. After years of being told that all is well, even as the casualties and chaos mount, we've stopped listening to him.
(That is such a silly statement. How about this: Communications starts with saying something meaningful, rather than something meaningless. If the casualties dropped we would have soldiers rising from the dead. That would be something! Of course casualties mount. They can not do other. That you could make such a foolish statement means your ability to tell the truth is in question.
The alternative to fighting Al Queda and Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan is [a] to fight them in the US or [b] to fight them in Syria and Iran. It may come to [b], but at present the terrorists are being killed by the bushel basket in Iraq, and attracting Jihadis from all over the Middle East. As a "fly paper strategy" it is working very very well. The Iraqi Army is getting better and better, and is being built from the ground up, rather than trying to reform Ba'athist thugs while they remain in charge of groups of armed men with government funding. Kurdistan is booming, with Shiia areas beginning to get Jealous and will soon look past Muqtada Al Sadr to find someone who offers a future. Anbar Province is setting up anti-Al Queda councils, to provide for local security. Al Queda has been run out of both of the capitals they have declared in Iraq , to add to the two Al Queda capitals they were run out of in Afghanistan.)
A leader has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you want to test a man's character, give him power." George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths˜for what?
(The 1993 WTC bombing used passports stolen by Iraqi intelligence during their occupation of Kuwait. The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizen calcualties were invented by statistical legerdemain in a Lancet Study ie, they lied. Al Queda may still exist, but Bin Laden's production values have sure dropped. The very bad people murdering our soldiers [I say murder, because what illegal combatants do is not legal combat] would be more than happy to put YOUR NECK under the knife. The exchange rate, with the enemy using every illegal trick they can muster is 30 to 1. That is 30 jihadis under the ground, to the improvement of the world, and more captured for each soldier's regretable death. The US didn't do so well in WWII until Okinawa.)
To build our oil reserves?
(Iraq's oil production is still below prewar levels, but now it funds a free Iraq rather than terrorists.I guess Bush didn't go to war for oil.)
To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show his daddy he's tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and
the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy.
(One more time, for the demented.
[a] Saddam Husayne had murdered over a million of his countrymen.
[b] Saddam Husayne had supported terrorism, to include the 1993 WTC bombing [which included an attempt to release cyanide gas into the WTC].
[c] Saddam Husayne had used WMD (mustard gas) against the Kurds.
[d] Saddam Husayne supported the 1993 WTC bombing, which had cyanide compounds mixed in with the explosives. It was our good fortune that the cyanide was mostly destroyed by the heat of the explosive.
[e] 17 UN resolutions asserted that Saddam Husayne had not met his responsibilities after the Gulf War armistice. It is unlikely that he was waiting for the 18th to suddenly change his tune.
[f] Saddam Husayne had bribed key players in France and Russia to help him end sanctions. Once he ended sanctions the WMD programs would have continued.
[g] Saddam Husayne would have again provided WMD materials and training to terrorists.
[h] Once, in the history of the world, a dictator was actually deposed, put on trial, convicted, and executed by the people he had oppressed. That dictator's name is Saddam Husayne. A great success, a world-historical achievement.)
A leader must have COURAGE. I'm talking about balls. (That even goes for female leaders.) Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy.
(By the way, GW Bush grew up in Texas. His dad, GHW Bush was an oil executive and his company developed the technology used for off shore oil wells. GHW Bush was also a Navy aviator during WWII, elected representitive, UN Ambassador, Director of Central Intelligence, Vice President, and President. Rather racistto disparage all that by saying "blue blood".)
You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk.
(I guess you suggest that true courage is surrender. I wonder, how many US citizens you would be willing to have Al Queda murder. They want to murder all of us, because we are infidels. So you would negotiate. How many would you be willing to hand over to them in the first batch? A million? Perhaps only a few hundred thousand? Would you volunteer to be in the first batch? How do you negotiate with someone who gets his orders from a mad G-d who demands mass murder?....crickets chirping....)
If you're a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. Bush can't even make a public appearance unless the audience has been handpicked and sanitized. He did a series of so-called town hall meetings last year, in auditoriums packed with his most devoted fans. The questions were all softballs.
(There you are, complaining about his courage. Bush just won't surrender fast enough. He has an unreasonable adversion to treason. Darn him.)
To be a leader you've got to have CONVICTION˜a fire in your belly. You've got to have passion. You've got to really want to get something done. How do you measure fire in the belly? Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. President˜four hundred and counting. He'd rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing. He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his hand-stocked lake.
(Bush knows that this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you think you are indispensible, you aren't.)
It's no better on Capitol Hill. Congress was in session only ninety-seven days in 2006. That's eleven days less than the record set in 1948, when President Harry Truman coined the term do-nothing Congress. Most people would expect to be fired if they worked so little and had nothing to show for it. But Congress managed to find the time to vote itself a raise. Now, that's not leadership.
(A do nothing congress is all we can hope for. A friend and coworker told me that Government is like Chemotherapy. You want it to be effective. You want it to have minimal side effects. The fact is, most of the time Chemotherapy is not as effective as you want it to be, and it has truly rotten side effects. Less Chemotherapy is actually a good idea, nearly all the time. Mark Twain said, "Noone's life or property is safe while the legislature is in session.)
A leader should have CHARISMA. I'm not talking about being flashy. Charisma is the quality that makes people want to follow you. It's the ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him. That's my definition of charisma. Maybe George Bush is a great guy to hang out with at a barbecue or a ball game. But put him at a global summit where the future of our planet is at stake, and he doesn't look very presidential. Those frat-boy pranks and the kidding around he enjoys so much don't go over that well with world leaders. Just ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who received an unwelcome shoulder massage from our President at a G-8 Summit. When he came up behind her and started squeezing, I thought she was going to go right through the roof.
(Sorry, I don't know what her East German feelings have to do with President Bush's ability to do the diplomatic necessities. By comparison, you didn't complain when Clinton groped the help, so I presume this is just more of your partisan BS.)
A leader has to be COMPETENT. That seems obvious, doesn't it? You've got to know what you're doing. More important than that, you've got to surround yourself with people who know what they're doing. Bush brags about being our first MBA President. Does that make him competent?
Well, let's see. Thanks to our first MBA President, we've got the largest deficit in history, Social Security is on life support, and we've run up a half-a-trillion-dollar price tag (so far) in Iraq. And that's just for starters. A leader has to be a problem solver, and the biggest problems we face as a nation seem to be on the back burner.
( you claim "The largest deficit in history" The fact is the growing economy is stuffing federal coffers at an unprecedented rate. Alas, government spending is also at a high rate. As for largest deficeit as a metric ...That is a moving target. Washington had the largest deficit in history. So did Lincoln, so did FDR. So did Reagan. The US share of spending on defense is lower now than was for FDR, Truman, Johnson, Kennedy, and Reagan. The US economy GREW in the last 5 years by the size of the economy of CHINA. Not bad, even for an MBA. As for solving problems, I don't want the government to solve problems. I want them to stop creating problems. Think of anything. say toilets, transportation, or library. If you put the word "public" in front of it, does that make it sound higher quality, or lower quality? Government starts with theft, then moves to coercion. You don't often get to the right answer from that kind of start. When you recruit for government workers they have to be willing to use theft and coercion. Guess what you get when you recruit to fill that pool? Thieves and Thugs!)
You can't be a leader if you don't have COMMON SENSE. I call this Charlie Beacham's rule. When I was a young guy just starting out in the car business, one of my first jobs was as Ford's zone manager in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My boss was a guy named Charlie Beacham, who was the East Coast regional manager. Charlie was a big Southerner, with a warm drawl, a huge smile, and a core of steel. Charlie used to tell me, "Remember, Lee, the only thing you've got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don't know a dip of horseshit from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you'll never make it." George Bush doesn't have common sense. He just has a lot of sound bites. You know˜Mr.they'll-welcome-us-as-liberators-no-child-left-behind-heck-of-a-job-Brownie-mission-accomplished Bush.
(This is homey assertion, but not factual. Actually, they did welcome us as liberators. Actually, Brownie did one hell of a job with a very small FMEA taskforce, but not enough to make up for DECADES of CORRUPTION and stupidity. The levees which were "designed to withstand a force 3 hurricane, in 1963, didn't. Maintenance money for the levees was skimmed by local corruption. Housing was built below sea level, to make bribe and tax money for local corrupt officials, and make the real estate and building trades wealthy. The Mayor didn't order evacuation until too late, and allowed the school busses to be flooded. One third of the local police force didn't exist... Corruption. When you find that magic wand, Lee, let me know.)
Former President Bill Clinton once said, "I grew up in an alcoholic home. I spent half my childhood trying to get into the reality-based world˜and I like it here."
(I didn't have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky... See, I can quote Clinton too. So what?)
I think our current President should visit the real world once in a while.
(Lee, I hope you are getting some from Whitney, because she is draining your credibility, and you never had that much with me at the start.)
The Biggest C is Crisis
Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down. On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. Where was George Bush? He was reading a story about a pet goat to kids in Florida when he heard about the attacks. He kept sitting there for twenty minutes with a baffled look on his face. It's all on tape. You can see it for yourself. Then, instead of taking the quickest route back to Washington and immediately going on the air to reassure the panicked people of this country, he decided it wasn't safe to return to the White House. He basically went into hiding for the day˜and he told Vice President Dick Cheney to stay put in his bunker.
We were all frozen in front of our TVs, scared out of our wits, waiting for our leaders to tell us that we were going to be okay, and there was nobody home. It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero.
(Actually I wasn't scared. I was working for a defense contractor, and getting the Army's equipment, which our company built, fine tuned and ready for a long hard deployment, which initially turned out to be Afghanistan. The strength of America is WE DON'T NEED THE GREAT LEADER TO TELL US WHAT TO DO. Until you figure that our, you are not an American. If you disagree, I suggest you move to North Korea.)
That was George Bush's moment of truth, and he was paralyzed.
(The first aircraft, well that has happened before, and since. A B-25 bomber hit the Empire State Building, and did fairly minor damage, but that was built by private enterprise. A Yankee pitcher hit an apartment building. It was an accident. A student pilot hit an office building in Miami. All except the first happened since 9/11.
The city officials of NYC knew that the WTC (owned by the NYC Port Authority) was only built to withstand a hit by a Boeing 707. Rather than redesign/ refit it to increase its fire protection, in the long years since 1967 when Boeing came out with the 747, they studied, and they fiddled and they pissed away millions, but did nothing. NYC firefighters didn't have radios that worked, and they had no common frequency set up with the Police. NYC's kerosene for the emergency generators in WTC 7 [the location of the emergency command center] was not stored according to code, and was a major cause of the later collapse of WTC 7.)
And what did he do when he'd regained his composure?
(President Bush used diplomacy to get Pakistan on our side, rather than supporting the Taliban as they had done for years. He dispatched US forces into Afghanistan, where the Soviets had been stymied for 10 years, freeing it from the Taliban in 6 weeks. Because he sent only small forces, to work with the locals, it was obvious we were not invading destroyers like the Soviets. Afghanistan has had the first free elections since Khandahar was built by Alexander the Great.)
He led us down the road to Iraq˜a road his own father had considered disastrous when he was President. But Bush didn't listen to Daddy. He listened to a higher father. He prides himself on being faith based, not reality based. If that doesn't scare the crap out of you, I don't know what will.
(We knew after 9/11 that we couldn't sit on our sand castle, safe, and watch the tide come in. If you don't learn, then what is your brain for? Saddam was close to getting sanctions ended. After that, the chemical weapons would have arrived in our major cities. Carried by Al Queda suicide bombers who would have had a safe haven in Iraq. Iraq had weaponized anthrax, had deployed mustard gas, and used it against the Kurds. Perhaps some of the Arabs in Dearborn might have given aid and comfort to a cousin-terrorist, perhaps not even knowing that the cousin-terrorist was about to unleash hell and destroy a city. Consider that quietly.)
A Hell of a Mess
So here's where we stand. We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.
(We have a plan for winning. We kill the terrorists, and leave a self governing nation when they are ready. To some extent that depends on the Iraqis our coalition partners. To some extent it depends on how many foreign terrorists want to come to Iraq to get killed.)
We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.
(Not true. See above. Deficits are not uncommon. Certainly you didn't mind borrowing money with the faith and credit of the US when it helped Crysler Corp.)
We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.
(Actually our truly great companies are doing just fine. New companies are started, old companies fold when they stop making a product that people want at a reasonale price. Better than keeping a corrupt entity, such as Enron or an ineffective company such as AMC alive at the cost of strangling new companies in their cribs.)
(Health care costs are inflated by illegal aliens who are flooding our emergency medical centers, and stupid laws which enslave doctors and nurses, forcing them to care for people who are unable to pay, and should be deported, rather than be provided free health care.)
Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy.
(Energy policy? I bet those 5 year plans the Soviets had were really effective, weren't they? Is that really what you want?)
Our ^Government schools are in trouble.
(There, I fixed it for you. Homeschoolers are doing just fine.)
Our borders are like sieves.
(Only a problem if people are abandoning the US, and you want to coerce them so that they stay. People vote with their feet. The US was, and continues to be, a great success, and people in other countries want in on it. Thank goodness for that. By contrast, consider the countries who are hemoraging people. Ask yourself why. Ask yourself what wonderful policies they have that drive people away. Ask yourself why you want to duplicate those policies here.)
The middle class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.
But when you look around, you've got to ask: "Where have all the leaders gone?" Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, competence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.
Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?
(L. Neil Smith suggests that we should carry our pistols around with us, rather than go about socially naked. Then when a terrorist with a box cutter, or a nutty student for that matter, does something inappropriate, he can be put down quickly. The point is good people should out number the bad people, so the bad people are only a problem when they have better weapons. Better weapons to good people = fewer problems from bad people. Hey, it might work as well as it did in Israel. The terrorists there don't go after schools because teachers and parents are well armed.)
We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.
(Duh. You learn from what has happened. This offends you?)
Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina.
(I hope that we have developed a healthy skepticism for "Leaders" from Katrina. The Mayor of New Orleans went from being a joke to an irrelevancy. That is a good thing. But if you need a name, I would suggest the national guard officer who said "Don't get stuck on Stupid". Lt General Russel Honore.)
Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm. Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again. Now, that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.
(how about this for a plan. Don't build below sea level. As for accountability, the dummies of New Orleans reelected the same corrupt mayor. Perhaps that is who they deserve. To my mind Katrina provided the accountablility for years of corruption and voter fraud. You just don't like accountability.)
Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing.
(If you need a name, Burt Rutan)
Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when "the Big Three" referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen˜and more important, what
are we going to do about it?
(It happened because clever people like you didn't learn from Deming. Clever people like you didn't have enough courage and balls to stand up to the Unions as they demanded salary and benefit increases out of proportion to the value they added. Also because people like you helped develop the Japanese car companies by importing Dodge Colts, which introduced the American people to high quality and low price they could expect from cars made in Japan. That is right Lee, the fickle finger points to you.)
Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debt, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.
( The Government Leaders who could quickly cut back Government to the limited powers stated in the Constitution begin with Scalia and Thomas in the Supreme Court, who suggest in a recent decision that the Commerce Clause was wrongly decided in FDR's administration. Other than that, I would suggest Duncan Hunter or Ron Paul. But we don't select our government to lead us. Rather we select them to do what we want. Too many Americans want unconstitutional "free" services. We get the government we deserve.)
I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity.
What is everybody so afraid of? That some bobblehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?
(When it comes to name calling, try Keith Olberman. Been off his meds for a while. Again, doing nothing is preferred to doing the wrong thing. Surrender is the wrong thing. Announcing terms by which the enemy can win, and providing advance notice of deployment details [loose lips sink ships] to the enemy should be considered treason.)
Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm speaking out because I have hope. I believe in America. In my lifetime I've had the privilege of living through some of America's greatest moments. I've also experienced some of our worst crises˜the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the 1970's oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.
(WWII was caused by FDR. Hoover got us out of the depression, while FDR put us back into one. He managed to keep the US in depression while Germany rebuilt its armed forces. Rather than respond to Hitler's reoccupation of the Rhineland with a single Marine Regiment [following which, Hitler would have been assassinated by the German Army, because they were not ready for any kind of war] FDR continued copying the National Socialists, and ruining the US economy as Hitler took over Austria, again in violation of treaty. Japan's economy was even smaller than Germany's, and the US did nothing to hinder their aggression in Manchuria, or their Naval build up to 10 aircraft carriers to the US Navy's 7 (even including the little Langley only good for biplanes). FDR supported the Munich Agreement which sold out an ally [Czechoslovakia] to Germany, and still did nothing during the invasion of Norway, or during Italy's invasion of Albania, or Greece. The much maligned George W. Bush has learned from that lesson. Better to stop a bad mad man when you are ready, and when he isn't.)
If I've learned one thing, it's this: You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play.
That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a call to action for people who, like me, believe in America. It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the horseshit and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had enough.
(So you complain that G.W Bush didn't stand on the side line as Saddam Husayne got sanctions dropped, rebuilt his WMD programs, and then murdered more Kurds, more Shia, and provided WMD to terrorists, leading to the eventual murder of millions of Americans. Then you could blame him for NOT taking action. As it is, he ruined your game. Is that about right?)
Excerpted from Where Have All the Leaders Gone?.
Copyright (c) 2007 by Lee Iacocca. All rights reserved.
Comments by Don Meaker