"Personnel is Policy"

Herbert E. Meyer
Back in the Reagan Administration, we had a saying that always drew sneers from the press and from the Washington establishment: "Personnel is policy."  What we meant, of course, is that to execute the President's policies it was necessary to hire officials who supported these policies, and who would work to achieve the President's objectives rather than to undermine them.

Now, just consider two recent personnel decisions by the Bush Administration:

General George Casey, whose strategy to stabilize Iraq has failed and who has publicly criticized the President's new "surge" strategy, has just been promoted to Army chief-of-staff.

Charles Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs who called it "shocking" that major US law firms were representing Guantanamo Bay detainees free of charge, has been fired.

An administration that cannot distinguish its friends from its enemies in Washington lacks the wit to distinguish its friends from its enemies overseas.  And a President who promotes officials who have visibly failed him, and who fires officials who have the courage to publicly support him, shouldn't be surprised when he cannot achieve his objectives.
Back in the Reagan Administration, we had a saying that always drew sneers from the press and from the Washington establishment: "Personnel is policy."  What we meant, of course, is that to execute the President's policies it was necessary to hire officials who supported these policies, and who would work to achieve the President's objectives rather than to undermine them.

Now, just consider two recent personnel decisions by the Bush Administration:

General George Casey, whose strategy to stabilize Iraq has failed and who has publicly criticized the President's new "surge" strategy, has just been promoted to Army chief-of-staff.

Charles Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs who called it "shocking" that major US law firms were representing Guantanamo Bay detainees free of charge, has been fired.

An administration that cannot distinguish its friends from its enemies in Washington lacks the wit to distinguish its friends from its enemies overseas.  And a President who promotes officials who have visibly failed him, and who fires officials who have the courage to publicly support him, shouldn't be surprised when he cannot achieve his objectives.