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Old Bush vs. new

Oct. 21, 2005 at 5:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The Bush administration is bracing for a powerful new attack by Brent Scowcroft, the respected national security adviser to the first President George Bush.

A Republican and a former Air Force general, Scowcroft is a leading member of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment, and his critique of both of the style and the substance of the Bush White House, is slated to appear in Monday's editions of the New Yorker magazine.

The article also contains some critical comments on the handling of U.S. foreign policy by the current President Bush from his father, whose 1989-1993 presidency is hailed for deft management of the end of the Cold War, German unification, the first Gulf war and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The new attack comes hard on the heels of the denunciation of "the cabal around Cheney's office" by Col. Larry Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell in a widely reported speech to the New American Foundation in Washington this week. Wilkerson said the national security decision-making process was effectively "broken."

Scowcroft's criticisms will be taken seriously at the highest levels of the Bush administration because he is seen as a mentor by some of its senior figures, notably Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose political career began when she worked under Scowcroft as an adviser on Soviet affairs.

The attack also comes as President Bush's opinion poll approval ratings have sunk to around 37 percent, partly reflecting the ill-handled federal government response to Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Gulf coast. But majorities of Americans are also telling pollsters the country "is on the wrong track" and saying the Iraq war was a mistake.

The beleaguered Bush administration is also nervously waiting to see whether indictments in the CIA leak case are to be handed down next week against two key White House aides, Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby. The White House is facing heavy flak from its conservative base over the controversial nomination of the president's counsel, Harriet Miers, to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. And traditional balanced-budget conservatives have been dismayed by the double deficit, a combined deficit on the federal budget and on the current account that adds up to over $1 trillion this year.

A cartoon in the Washington Post Friday depicted the Bush White House being inundated by "The Perfect Storm" of Miers, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Rove, the budget deficit and the indictment this week of the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, on charges of money laundering campaign funds.

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