March 31, 2003

Losing Favor

In the Ottoman Empire during the days of its decline, a grand Topkapi Palace functionary who lost the confidence of the Sultan often found himself in a lead-weighted sack at the bottom of the Golden Horn. In the modern White House, a cabinet member or assistant to the president who loses the confidence of the President often finds himself invited to spend more time with his family. Here we see a number of people at the level of Karl Rove or Andrew Card--for this story has three sources, and people at their level are who "senior administration officials" are--preparing the ground for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (and possibly NSC head Rice) to be invited to spend more time with their families. Their offense? Keeping the news that Saddam Hussein's forces might fight secret from the President.

KRT Wire | 03/28/2003 | Bush's aides didn't warn of stiff Iraq resistance: President Bush's aides did not forcefully present him with dissenting views from CIA and State and Defense Department officials who warned that U.S.-led forces could face stiff resistance in Iraq, according to three senior administration officials.

Bush embraced the predictions of some top administration hawks, beginning with Vice President Dick Cheney, who predicted in the weeks before the war with Iraq that Saddam Hussein's regime was brittle and that Iraqis would joyously greet coalition troops as liberators, the officials said.

The dissenting views "were not fully or energetically communicated to the president," said one top official, who like the others requested anonymity. "As a result, almost every assumption the plan's based on looks to be wrong."

Instead, Bush embraced the views of Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other hawks, who have long advocated using force to overthrow Saddam, the official said.

In varying degrees, those views assumed that many Iraqi forces, including part of the elite Republican Guard, would surrender or at least not fight, that Iraqi civilians would revolt and assist U.S. and British forces, and that the entire conflict might be over in a matter of weeks...

This is, of course, BS. Those of us who read the Agonist remember that it was not all that many months ago that Ari Fleischer was... boasting, I guess... that Ari Fleischer actually said that "[General Tommy] Franks wasn't invited to the next strategy meeting because 'the president doesn't have time to listen to what the president doesn't want to hear,'" and one of the things the President did not want to hear was that Saddam's forces might fight bravely. Scorning those who warned that an invasion of Iraq might not be a cakewalk was a decisive and manly thing to do.

[Corrected after some digging (and noodging) by the MinuteMan.] This is, of course, BS. It was not all that many months ago that Pentagon leakers explained that the reason that George W. Bush was being briefed on the small force rather than the large force plan was that "The president doesn't have time to bother what with he doesn't want to hear." What the President wanted to hear was a war plan that "hinge[d] on the ability to frighten the Iraqi military into staying neutral or switching sides"

Rumsfeld, of course, is himself now maneuvering to try to find others than himself who might be invited to spend more times with their families. He is trying to convince people that someone else, anyone else other than him made the decisions to cut the land force in half and to send 3rd Infantry and V Corps into battle without much of their artillery:

Rumsfeld: Well, we're one week into this, and it seems to me it's a bit early for history to be written, one would think. The war plan is Tom Franks' war plan. It was carefully prepared over many months. It was washed through the tank with the chiefs on at least four or five occasions.

Myers: Exactly -- more, more.

Rumsfeld: It has been through the combatant commanders. It has been through the National Security Council process. General Myers and General Pace and others, including this individual, have seen it in a variety of different iterations. When asked by the president or by me, the military officers who've reviewed it have all said they thought it was an excellent plan. Indeed, adjectives that go beyond that have been used, quite complimentary.

Posted by DeLong at March 31, 2003 09:09 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Good Grief!

Posted by: lise on March 29, 2003 01:42 PM

If Bush sends Rumsfeld and Rice off for some quality time, who would he listen to, Powell? Could we really start to see a faint glimmer of intellegence and pragmatism from this administration?
I'll believe it when I see it, but any ray of hope brightens the day.
The worst case scenario for Rove must be the war tanking even worse than the economy.

Posted by: Dick Durata on March 29, 2003 01:50 PM

Ha! I wish I believed this. I want to so bad.

I put up my list of people who had to go a couple days ago: Perle, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney -- I didn't say Rice. (Cheney's bad heart worries me a lot; it wouldn't be fair to his family for him to croak on national TV). I was thinking of the Chinese rather than the Ottoman empire, but the idea was the same. If all four of those guys were gone, I'd feel safer even if Bush was still President. It would be sort of fun watching him mope around in the wreckage of his administration.

But when I put the list up I presumed it was fantasy. Maybe not.

Posted by: zizka on March 29, 2003 03:24 PM

Saw this earlier and thought that Karl Rove was just getting ready to clean house by scapegoating everyone else in the administration.

But, perhaps Bush pushed war with Iraq and is pushing further tax cuts because he does not expect to win a second term. If that is his logic, then it is necessary to secure both the tax cuts and the rebuild-Iraq contracts for Halliburton immediately. Why else would Bush have his lackeys make forays even into Republican districts to push tax cuts? Bush wants this even if it costs Republicans seats in Congress. Moreover, not expecting to win the next election makes so much of his behavior more sensible. No need for cordial relations with France, Germany, or Britain if there is no second term on the horizon. And there is no money to be made pursuing North Korea's nuclear ambitions so leave that problem for others to tend.

Posted by: Ross on March 29, 2003 03:41 PM

Ahh, leaks in the once-tight ship. Not a good sifn.

BTW, that colorful quote, "the president doesn't have time to listen to what the president doesn't want to hear", doesn't score any big hits on Google. By big hits, I mean an actual source, other than a blogger repeating it.

White House press briefings are on line, so what gives?

Posted by: Tom Maguire on March 29, 2003 03:45 PM

>>BTW, that colorful quote, "the president doesn't have time to listen to what the president doesn't want to hear", doesn't score any big hits on Google. By big hits, I mean an actual source, other than a blogger repeating it.<<

Ah. Interesting. Am I going to have to downgrade Agonist to "unreliable"?

Cleary I have some digging to do...


Brad DeLong

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 29, 2003 03:47 PM

Personally, I don't believe that Myers actually said "Exactly - more, more."
I saw Rumsfeld on TV yesterday, being unfortunate enough to turn it on, calling his own war plan "brilliant." I kid you not.
Mme de Stael said that Napoleon ended up not knowing that inwinter, it got cold in Moscow, because no-one had the courage to tell him.

Posted by: John Isbell on March 29, 2003 04:26 PM

Myers definitely could be heard to say "Exactly" on the NPR audio. I am not sure about the "more more."

Posted by: jerry on March 29, 2003 04:33 PM

Found by soap at agonist. Sub out "bother with" for "listen to" and you'll get:

www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2002/020808-iraq6.htm

Posted by: Robert Tennyson on March 29, 2003 04:34 PM

>Found by soap at agonist. Sub out "bother with" for "listen to" and you'll get:
>
>www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2002/020808-iraq6.htm

Ahh, the beauty of a million brains working together. And a big-ass indexing engine, of course.

I actually came here via the agonist, saw the above URL confirmation of that quote over there in the comments, and now it has made it back. Nice.

Posted by: Felix Deutsch on March 29, 2003 04:57 PM

Not quite, not quite. A Grand Vizier who lost the Sultan's favour (or lost out in political infighting) was sent a silken cord with the choice of either hanging himself or getting strangled. Sort of the Turkish equivalent of the Japanese ordered to commit seppuku (vulgarly known as harakiri).Bur we are so much more civilized. Ladies of the harem got drowned; perhaps also lower level officials .

Posted by: Thomas T. Schweitzer on March 29, 2003 05:00 PM

Not quite, not quite. A Grand Vizier who lost the Sultan's favour (or lost out in political infighting) was sent a silken cord with the choice of either hanging himself or getting strangled. Sort of the Turkish equivalent of the Japanese ordered to commit seppuku (vulgarly known as harakiri).Bur we are so much more civilized. Ladies of the harem got drowned; perhaps also lower level officials .

Posted by: Thomas T. Schweitzer on March 29, 2003 05:01 PM

From Rumsfeld's Rules:

Beware when any idea is promoted primarily because it is “bold, exciting, innovative, and new.” There are many ideas that are “bold, exciting, innovative and new,” but also foolish.

It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.

http://www.library.villanova.edu/vbl/bweb/rumsfeldsrules.pdf

Posted by: Richard Kelly on March 29, 2003 05:17 PM

Also from Rumsfeld's Rules:

"The most important things in life you cannot see: civility, justice, courage, peace."

I think I'm gonna be sick.

Posted by: Felix Deutsch on March 29, 2003 06:28 PM

Well, I would like to extend a "well done" to the folks who found the quote, but I don't think that the Agonist version is exactly buttressed. The story says that Franks DID deliver the briefing, and it was an unamed Pentagon source, not Fleischer, who delivered the quote.


United Press International August 8, 2002
Bush given Iraq invasion plan
By RICHARD SALE

U.S. Central Command head Gen. Tommy Franks briefed President Bush this week about a scaled-down contingency plan to strike Iraq that calls for an invasion force of some 80,000 to 100,000 personnel including only 50,000 ground troops, administration officials said...

A spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House said they had no information on the meeting and could neither confirm nor deny that it had taken place.

But a well-placed Pentagon official said, "Franks was asked to brief. The president doesn't have time to bother what with he doesn't want to hear." This official asked not to be quoted by name or assignment. Recent pressure from Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith to try and mount a scaled back invasion by October was turned back by staunch resistance from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, these sources said.

OK, I don't even know what that quote means in that context. The President doesn't want to hear from the NSC?

Well, thanks. I think my googling may have failed because I was including "Fleischer". Using just the quote (as amended), I get three hits.


Posted by: Tom Maguire on March 29, 2003 06:53 PM

Hmm. Back to the original story, I wish it was true, but I'll believe it when I see it and not before. If I remember, Rumsfeld was chosen for Defense based on Cheney's recommendation. Sending Rumsfeld his silken cord is almost equivalent to sending one to Cheney, who has elevated most of what passes for a foreign policy brain trust in this administration.

Posted by: andres on March 29, 2003 07:24 PM

I think if you combine Hersh's upcoming story on the rush to invade with his previous story on the faked Nigeria documents, you've got another motive for having the war early. The inspections were going better and unravelling Bush's case for war, more every month.

I don't think the problem is Rumsfeld is incompetent, the problem is they had to lie to keep covering up the old lies. And the old lie here was that Saddam has chemical/biological weapons.

Posted by: Eric M on March 29, 2003 07:46 PM

Its shocking that a White House leak would be aimed at Cheney. Its a sign that the war news may get worse very soon. The present news isn't nearly bad enough to to take the kind of chances they are taking.

Posted by: John Mckinzey on March 29, 2003 07:57 PM

Why wouldn't the Iraqis fight the invaders? A friend of mine pointed out that an unpopular leader supported by less than half of the people was roundly supported by almost everyone after their country was attacked. That leader was George W Bush after 9/11. No matter how bad or pathetic the leader, the country will rally around them if attacked. Why would this be true for Bush but not Saddam?

The resistance in Iraq does not surprise me at all. I just figured it would not start until after the US had taken Baghdad. It is just starting a couple of months early. Why should a bloodier Iraq war be cause for alarm in the Bush administration? Why would Bush jettison his underlings at this point? Bush needs to keep Rummy and Rice and the others around to take any blame so Bush doesn't have to accept any blame.

Posted by: bakho on March 29, 2003 08:32 PM

Does anybody remember this story? "War Game was fixed to ensure American Victory, claims general."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,778139,00.html

Posted by: bob on March 29, 2003 10:20 PM

I have no opinion yet on how the war and administration casualties might play out.

But drowning in finely embroidered sacks, silk cords subtly proffered, and Nixonian moping seem so, I don't know, unsatisfying.

I favor guillotines, heads in baskets, cackling mobs, Madame Defarge finishing up her work at the White House and heading over to Grover Norquist's residence so he can shoot his guns off, and then on to Faux News for some further watering of the tree of liberty.

Now that would be Jeffersonian, as Cavuto might intone on his final show.

Posted by: John Thullen on March 29, 2003 10:56 PM

I can't see it - dumping Rumsfeld would just be too big a blow for an Administration that never admits to being wrong about anything.
As for Rice, not even Dubbya would be dumb enough to turn the country's highest-placed black female into a scapegoat- would he?

Posted by: MikeN on March 29, 2003 11:55 PM

As to "not even Dubbya would be dumb enough to turn the country's highest-placed black female into a scapegoat- would he?"

The charm of identity politics. Conservative commentators have been wondering just how forcefully and effectively Dems can attack Bush's foreign policy, when key players on the team are Rice and Powell. Our entire foreign policy is a disaster, but no blames accrues to either the Secretary of State or the National Security Adviser?

Not that such attacks can't be attempted, of course, but we would live in a much simpler world if black men and women also made mistakes.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on March 30, 2003 07:25 AM

Tom, I have no problem at all spelling it out for all to see: Rice has destroyed her academic reputation with the last 18 months of hubris and arrogance which directly caused, as you put it, our foreign policy disaster, and Powell has shown that he can be iteratively duped.

This is an equal opportunity incompetence administration.

I thought Powell was doing a pretty darn good job given his coworkers, until that speech to the UN.
And then something happened. I'm still wondering why. It's like Hoover was alive and had a little chat with him.

Posted by: Russell L. Carter on March 30, 2003 08:02 AM

Identity politics, racism, whatever. I've always found it hard to think of Rice as a big time player alongside Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Powell. So shoot me. She's already been humiliated at least once by being forced to defend some stupidity or another.

I've never been a big admirer of Powell, but I've always believed that he's stuck around as long as he has in order to cool off the loonies as much as possible. In order to do that, he couldn't openly oppose them, and assigning him the UN speech was probably intended to make him look bad.

Posted by: zizka on March 30, 2003 08:32 AM

Powell is a careerist. His UN speech was in the spirit of his Mi Lai cover-up. For those of you that think he will pick up the pieces and put them together again, this is the Secretary of State who has presided over the greatest diplomatic meltdown in US history.

Posted by: Michael Cohen on March 30, 2003 08:57 AM

Powell is a careerist. His UN speech was in the spirit of his Mi Lai cover-up. For those of you that think he will pick up the pieces and put them together again, this is the Secretary of State who has presided over the greatest diplomatic meltdown in US history.

Posted by: Michael Cohen on March 30, 2003 08:58 AM

I feel let down by Powell. He became a yes-man and showed us what we're all supposed to do. It was instructive about the path to power in the new world order, in the Bush Doctrine at Home. But yeesh it was hackish.

Posted by: Eric M on March 30, 2003 11:37 AM

Michael -- Powell wasn't "presiding", Bush was. (Yeah, that scares me too; it would be funny in a TV cartoon or something.) Stuff was always being done that he wouldn't have done.

So this diplomatic meltdown may be the biggest ever, but it was still smaller than what Rumsfeld and Cheney would have done on their own. Lesser evil, etc.

Posted by: zizka on March 30, 2003 12:50 PM

The CIA became politicized under Reagan, who only wanted to hear what he wanted to hear or he'd turn his hearing aides off. What a blessing if Rice and/or Rumsfeld went away, at least it would be, um, different. Those two haven't ever been right about anything, but I always thought Condi would be the designated fall person when the whip came down.

Posted by: Ginger Mayerson on March 30, 2003 12:57 PM

"I thought Powell was doing a pretty darn good job given his coworkers, until that speech to the UN.
And then something happened. I'm still wondering why. It's like Hoover was alive and had a little chat with him."

J Edgar, or Herbert?

Posted by: Tom Maguire on March 30, 2003 01:57 PM

Tom Maguire asks: "J Edgar, or Herbert?"

Is that some kind of subtle joke? The former of course.

Posted by: Alp Aker on March 30, 2003 03:34 PM

Well, this is an econo-blog, and a few posts up we are warned that economic doom is at hand.

But my bet is that I was kidding.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on March 30, 2003 05:25 PM

I believe General Myers was made Chairman of the Joint Chiefs by this administration to advance Rumsfeld's grand plan. Should there be a shoot out between the Pentagon and the White House, it will be interesting to see which side Myers lines up on.

Posted by: etc. on March 30, 2003 11:57 PM

Zizka -- Powell wasn't "presiding", Bush was.

You are correct. I misused the word "presided." This is one tough page to vent on.

Posted by: Michael Cohen on March 31, 2003 12:19 AM

Before 9/11, Rumsfeld topped the short list of Bush Cabinet secretaries who were most likely to rediscover the joys of fly fishing. His accomplishments included proposing a massive reorg of the armed forces, which flopped, and pissing off Congress with his arrogant behavior when he was called to testify.

Posted by: Brittain33 on March 31, 2003 07:48 AM

I keep coming back to this line from Barthelme's story "Report": "I said the government was sick with error, giddy with it."

Posted by: Jeremy Osner on March 31, 2003 08:32 AM

As to the run-off between Powell and Rumsfeld to see who wins the fly rod, I have no clue. A few observations, however.

It is hard to think Powell was set up when he was given the task of presenting to the Security Council. He was the only man for the job. Not only is it more of less in his job description - diplomacy and all that - but his reputation as dovish on Iraq mean that if he had not been the guy, it would have been seen as a repudiation of the case that was to be presented. If the Iraq dove makes the case for war with Iraq, then the impression of unity is preserved. In this case, one can be led astray by thinking too much about palace politics and too little about who does what.

Rummy was unpopular prior to the Trade Center/Pentagon attacks? Yes. Does that have any implication for his odds of survival under Bush? Well, Bush wasn't all that popular prior to the attacks, either. A rising tide of anger lifts all boats. I would think Rummy needs to prove himself a liability now, rather than in an earlier time and place.

My guess is that nobody gets axed for giving bad advice or being wrong. You cut your losses when you have losses. So far, support for Bush is around 65% and support for the war is OK, too. Nobody gets axed till further notice. It would look too much like an admission that something had gone wrong. Blood in the water to journaists.

Posted by: K Harris on March 31, 2003 10:09 AM

One from the 'out of the mouths of babes and children department'. My son, who is a medic currently studying administration of health systems is puzzled. He undertsands all of the arguments, but can't convince himself that either individually or collectively they explain why there is a war. Today he sent me the following which he found in his course study notes:

"too many facts can be undesirable in a vision. For example, consider the visions of Reagan and Clinton. Reagan called for military strength in the form of first-strike capabilities and the capability to prevent a first strike by others to "keep America great", paid for by 'getting government off the backs of people'.

People were eased into the cost of vague military programmes by the promise of cuts in government spending. In contrast, Clinton articulated health care reform as 'universal
coverage'. This added level of specificity allowed the critics to make estimates of cost, feasibility, and what they stood to gain or lose,
prompting a debate about the merits of the vision before its details could be sorted out. Reagans vision was vague in details, which kept critics
at bay as these details were worked out. These examples suggest that visions with too much detail will be prematurely evaluated, which is apt to lead to failure."

You know, I think he may be right. But as he also points out, recognising this still doesn't tell you whether the war is right or wrong. It's just informative about the political process and decision strategies.

Posted by: Edward Hugh on April 1, 2003 12:49 AM

If this cabal is shown the door it won't be by Bush it will be by his dad, in effect. That is, Jim Baker and Brent Scowcroft will fire them, then replace them-- Rumsfeld & Rice. Not only can that be made to look like an upgrade, it will actually be an upgrade. Cheney retires for health reasons in favor of Ridge or Lugar. Powell gets to stay. It still won't help Bush II get elected in 2004. He's toast. But, it will help our country dig itself out of a hole.

Posted by: Dennis Slough on April 1, 2003 04:36 AM

Lugar? Did you say Lugar? I'm so happy ... but oh, now my hopes are dashed. Lugar is a "realist". Powell is a "realist." We cannot expect this administration to become too realistic. Lugar also represents a reasonable alternative, despite his age, to Jeb. That, too, makes him unacceptable. Ridge, even stiffer than Lugar (who'd have imagined?) has no particular thoughts on international relations and is a lesser threat to Jeb. He's your guy.

Posted by: K Harris on April 1, 2003 08:04 AM

Lugar? He is out of the loop with the Bush administration. Lugar has been persistent in asking the Bush administration what will happen in Iraq after Saddam. Lugar stated in a recent speech that he does not think enough attention is being paid to those details. I think Lugar would be great but it won't happen.

Why all the focus on how long the war will last? The real focus all along should have been on how long the so-called peace will last. The problem in Iraq has never been getting Saddam out. That is relatively straightforward despite a few setbacks. What to do after Saddam leaves has always been the unanswered question. The options the Bush administration has in mind may or may not be viable or have a price that is too high. We just don't know what Bush will try to do in Iraq.

We could easily be pinned down in Iraq like the Soviets were in Afghanistan. We have plenty of enemies that would like to see us fail. What will stop them from supplying anti-American forces in Iraq? Will we be like the dog that chases the car only to catch it? What will we do then?

It is becoming more clear that no one will be called on the carpet for predicting a cakewalk. The script has already been rewritten. Iraq will take a while but the US will win. The cakewalk is a distant memory being paved over by pictures of the war here and now. How soon we forget.

Posted by: bakho on April 1, 2003 09:02 AM

Stiff resistance? The regular army collapsed, for the most part, in the first 10 days of fighting. Five divisions of Republican Guard south of the capital are in big trouble, and it seems likely that a couple will collapse easily if the coalition ups the pressure. Ten days from now we'll have a better idea about how stiff the resistance was, and I will bet it will match up pretty damn poorly to more geniune historic examples or stiff resistance.

As for the President not listening to what he doesn't want to hear and being surrounded by people who won't tell him, yes, it's probably all true. We should be concerned that in the next several weeks he may decide he doesn't have much reason to change his practice--when the time comes to think about the political settlement. That will be the intractable part.

Posted by: Jim Harris on April 1, 2003 09:39 AM

Why isn't the "trying to convince people" link working? Is somebody covering their tracks or was it a bad link to begin with?

Posted by: Amused Reader on April 1, 2003 03:48 PM

I spell my name S-L-0-U-G-H, but it's pronounced Kristol. My word is final; Lugar or Ridge.

Er, ok, I'm just throwing out ideas now. Bush is still in desperate need in the gravitas department. These two names will provide it, but only Lugar is the real deal and Bush (& The Firm) can't afford another f***up so they better go with Lugar. I still don't think it will save him or the extreme right agenda, but I do think the Money Republicans will make themselves felt soon and rein in the Religious Zealot Republicans in an attempt to prevent more damage to their fortunes and our country. It won't be as much help as I'd like, but I'll appreciate their aid all the same. You heard it here first!

Posted by: Dennis Slough on April 1, 2003 05:39 PM

The neocons keep giving Powell the shit detail, sending him abroad NOT to obtain consensus or opinions from erstwhile allies but to clean up the metaphorical caca tracked into foreign capitals by blustering DOD types short on diplomatic tact. EU, Nato, etc. ministers all know this, the question is, doesn't Powell himself know this, and, if so, why is he persevering in this posture of self-mortification?

Posted by: barrisj on April 1, 2003 06:22 PM

The neocons keep giving Powell the shit detail, sending him abroad NOT to obtain consensus or opinions from erstwhile allies but to clean up the metaphorical caca tracked into foreign capitals by blustering DOD types short on diplomatic tact. EU, Nato, etc. ministers all know this, the question is, doesn't Powell himself know this, and, if so, why is he persevering in this posture of self-mortification?

Posted by: barrisj on April 1, 2003 06:24 PM

The neocons keep giving Powell the shit detail, sending him abroad NOT to obtain consensus or opinions from erstwhile allies but to clean up the metaphorical caca tracked into foreign capitals by blustering DOD types short on diplomatic tact. EU, Nato, etc. ministers all know this, the question is, doesn't Powell himself know this, and, if so, why is he persevering in this posture of self-mortification?

Posted by: barrisj on April 1, 2003 06:25 PM

The neocons keep giving Powell the shit detail, sending him abroad NOT to obtain consensus or opinions from erstwhile allies but to clean up the metaphorical caca tracked into foreign capitals by blustering DOD types short on diplomatic tact. EU, Nato, etc. ministers all know this, the question is, doesn't Powell himself know this, and, if so, why is he persevering in this posture of self-mortification?

Posted by: barrisj on April 1, 2003 06:27 PM

I never could understand why Powell inspired such high regard and confidence in the public; or at least any more so than his predecessors. Maybe it was the uniform and demeanor, though not necessarily the character or stance.

As for why he not only gets, but accepts, the shit details.......well....attempting to be politically correct......he's not a member of the club, he works there.

Posted by: E. Avedisian on April 1, 2003 08:53 PM

Powell was a reasonably media-savvy general who presided over a very nice, short war. He was very convenient to the GOP, and very cooperative.

Now, to those who knew, he'd been a '2+2 = whatever, sir' person since at least the My Lai investigation. However, most didn't know (I didn't, until recently).

Posted by: Barry on April 2, 2003 03:44 AM

For reasons requiring little speculation in the light of recently reported comments by Donald Rumsfeld, Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw, has now found it expedient to go on public record to say that the UK will not be attacking Iran or Syria - see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1-632065,00.html

Posted by: Bob Briant on April 2, 2003 04:53 AM

Powell was also a good soldier during Iran Contra and intimately involved with the tow missiles. The George Bush pardon of his boss saved Powell from investigation and possible indictment for illegal activities during Iran Contra. Powell has always been a loyal soldier and he owes the Bush family.

For those interested in the Powell skeleton closet, check out the series by Robert Parry and Norman Soloman:

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2000/122700a.html

Posted by: bakho on April 2, 2003 07:10 AM

"I never could understand why Powell inspired such high regard and confidence in the public; or at least any more so than his predecessors."

Well, he's a capable guy, but a lot of his popularity stems from the fact that his prominence makes all of us (but particularly those on the right) feel better about ourselves--look we're not racists, Colin Powell is a mainstream national political figure! I hasten to add that this isn't altogether a bad thing--the biggest progress made in racial relations since the 60's is that it is now regarded as shameful to be a public overt racist . . .

Posted by: rea on April 2, 2003 07:48 AM
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