The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, August 14, 2003  

Out With the Convicted, In With the Fixated

It’s often a good thing when someone leaves the Bush administration. Case in point: The unlamented departure -- by resignation, alas, he should have been fired -- of John M. Poindexter.

It was Poindexter, you will recall, who aspired during his tenure to collect just about everything about just about everybody, the better, I assume, to engage in particularly astute terrorism-futures trading through that brilliant scheme known as “FutureMap.”

Poindexter’s resignation from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency takes effect on August 29.

So, it’s out with Poindexter . . . And in with Daniel Pipes.

Based on God only knows whose recommendation -- possibly Pipes’s own -- the Bush administration earlier this year unsuccessfully sought to appoint Pipes to board of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Pipes’s paper trail, which is a mile long and a millimeter thin, sparked considerable criticism of the proposed appointment in Washington, including in the Senate, which confirms nominees to the Peace Institute’s board of directors.

No matter. Forget “advise and consent.” According to the Philadelphia Inquirer (“Phila. Scholar Set to Join Peace Board,” by Thomas Ginsberg, Pipes is in:

Congressional sources told Reuters news agency yesterday that Bush intends to install Pipes as early as this week using a recess appointment. That means Pipes could serve without Senate approval, but only for about 16 months rather than for a full, four-year term.

A White House spokesman, Jimmy Orr, declined to confirm the report, saying only: “When we have something to announce, we'll announce it.”

And in what surely must be a first, the Inquirer reports: “Pipes declined to comment.”

Maybe someone could explain the point of adding Pipes to the board for 16 months rather than a four-year term. Yet another enhancement to the resume of which Pipes is so inordinately proud? A little something -- still more, really -- for the “oh we’re really not very influential” neoconservative crowd?

[Post-publication addendum: The membership of the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace is, to be fair, reasonably balanced, but it’s hardly lacking representation from the neoconservative contingent, to wit: Chester A. Crocker and Seymour Martin Lipset, chairman and vice chairman of the USIP, respectively, and Harriet Zimmerman.]

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