Glistening man

There are two problems with the following claim in George Will’s op-ed today.

>Some will regard “State of Denial” as Katrina between hard covers, a snapshot of dysfunctional government. But it is largely just a glimpse of government, disheartening as that fact may be to those who regard government as a glistening scalpel for administering social transformation.

First, Woodward’s point is that “State of Denial” is a portrait of a particular dysfunctional government–the Bush administration. Those who regard the book that way have read it. The extreme and unwarranted conclusion–though the one that fits Will’s perpetual narrative–is one of the failure of any government. The point of the book, it seems, is an easier one for Woodward to justify: These are the costs to a government that ignores warnings of terrorist attacks, attacks nations who did not attack it without enough troops or a plan for occupation and reconstruction, wastes thousands of lives, depletes its military, drives itself into debt, ruins relations with its allies, exacerbates the root cause of terrorism and lies about it all along the way. How many administrations fit that description?

Second, who are those who claim that goverment of its very nature is a “glistening scalpel for administering social transformation”? Are these real, or are these only slightly more elegantly defined straw men?