Monday, March 29, 2004

Richard Clarke's frustrations....

The frustration felt by Dick Clarke during the months peceeding the tragedy of 9/11 lies in the lack or urgency shown by the "principals" in the Administration.

And, his frustration reached a crescendo when he realized that a determination had been made to occupy Iraq, regardless of actions/INactions taken by Saddam.

U.N. Resolutiion 1441 was written in such a manner that it gave the Iraqi leader no "wiggle room" whatsoever in any direction. Even if he had complied with 99% of U.S. demands, members of the "Bush-Sharon Axis" would have found a way to drag our nation into war.

Furthermore, the differences between Sen. Kerry and Bush-Cheney-Sharon-Netanyahu are not about the ultimate objective of U.S. foreign policy, namely, political reform in the Arab world.

The big difference lies in the approach that was taken given that it was clearly counterproductive. The number of terrorist assaults across the globe have increased exponentially since 9/11 and the assertion that we are now living in a "safer world" is worthy of a Nobel Prize for "Chutzpah," if one existed.

The difference between the Administration's approach that Powell, reluctantly, decided to support (after a vacation in the Hamptons) has taken much of the luster off his reputation.

I suspect that Powell would have felt much more comfortable supporting the approach proposed by Sen. Kerry as described by Michael Steinberger in an article about Powell entitled "Overestimated," published in the "American Prospect" (4/01/04) but, as a soldier accustomed to obey orders, he participated in the charade presented to the American people and continues to do so to this day:

Excerpts from the article follow:

"On the most critical issue confronting the United States, the rise of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, Powell helped Bush implement a course of action conceived by the neocons. What he didn't do -- because he couldn't -- was propose a different course of action that might have led to the same goal of political reform in the Arab world but that wouldn't have involved waging an unpopular war on a trumped-up pretext, a war that has extracted an enormous cost in American lives and American prestige.

Bush, by most accounts, is an impressionable sort -- "malleable," as one Bush family friend uncharitably puts it -- but selling him on an alternative vision would have required actually having one, which Powell plainly did not. That alternative vision -- hardheaded about the dangers facing the U.S. but aware that the war on terrorism can't be won without international cooperation -- will have to wait for a Kerry administration. <<


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