Monday, October 02, 2006

Gen. Colin Powell: The Antithesis Of Narcissism

From WaPo comes this lengthy and detailed article about the circumstances surrounding Colin Powell's departure from the Bush Administration. The narrative comes from the new book, Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell by Karen DeYoung.

Allow me to preface what I am about to say here with, I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Gen. Powell. In fact, I could spend an entire post detailing my reasoning, but I can sum it all up in much shorter fashion:


I have said many times before, the best people for the job of President, do not want the job. This certainly is the case here.

Gen. Powell is an intellectual, a diplomat, a soldier, and most of all, a leader. But for numerous reasons (one of which is his wife's health), he has no desire whatsoever, to be President. I would say the prime reason for this is, the intense scrutiny and pressure that comes with the territory is so overwhelming and so frustrating that it is just not healthy for anyone. By reading this WaPo article you can get a mere taste of the world that people at this level, must endure day to day, week to week. The arm twisting, the manipulations (and so forth) are so intense and so relentless, a person could easily feel pulled in several directions, simultaneously.

With his military retirement pay, generous book royalties and speaking fees, he makes a decent living. He doesn't need the money. He has been at the top of the mountain in the military, so he doesn't desire the power. He understands the concept, with much power comes much responsibility. For him, power is not a toy. With this in mind, can we blame him for not wanting to subject himself and his family to this form of self-flagellation?

You see, the people that want to be President are usually narcissists. They are not the reluctant heroes. They are the ones that cry, "Pick me pick me, I want to do it! I can do it, I am the best. Pick me, pick me." They want the world to revolve around them, they want to be the center of attention. And if they can't be the main attraction, they either blow up (See:Bill Clinton) or take their ball and go home (See: Ross Perot).

Clinical psychologist Robert Godwin (AKA Gagdad Bob from
One Cosmos) has a more in-depth examination into the mind of a narcissist. I recommend reading the entire article, but let's look at a particularly noteworthy passage that is pertinent to this argument.

After characterizing some traits of a narcissist, he inserts this little aside (emphasis is mine):


...this is why it is generally a mistake to elect someone president who desperately wishes to be president, such as LBJ, Nixon, Al Gore, Clinton. Our better presidents could take it or leave it, because they already had satisfying lives and were capable of generating meaning from within....

General Powell has already proven himself, what else would he need to prove? He needs no introduction anywhere. His face is pretty universally recognized and his name is a "household name" that most reasonably intelligent people already know. Whether it be written or spoken, people know who he is. And, if there is one person in the world that we could say is actually self-actualized, it would be Gen. Powell.

Can we say the same thing about the bulk of today's leaders that have been entrusted to lead this nation? I highly doubt it.

28 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

I will tell you why I have a HUGE problem with Colin Powell. He may not want the job as president for all the reasons you stated. It isn't necessary for him to be at the top in order to do good for his country. To be honest, I don't get the impression from him that making a lot of money is top on his priority list. He seems pretty down to earth in that respect.

However, he did want the job as Secretary of State and he had all the intentions of doing the best job he could for his country...not for his career, not for fame, not for money. This is where he has failed miserably, he let politics get in the way of love for his country. He warned the president and whoever would listen to him that going into Iraq was wrong. We found out recently, that he also was highly suspicious of the materials given to him that he presented to the UN as proof of WMD. Yet, he did Bush's bidding anyway. His loyalty held firm with a man (the President) instead of his country.

This is a man who has been to war, who has seen death, yet he was willing to send many of our military soldiers to their death on bogus information that he knew was very sketchy at the very least.

President Bush and his ilk put a mark on Colin Powell's career that can never be erased. He lost much of his credibility because of his UN appearance with his photos of "proof" of WMD. I'm glad he isn't our President or hasn't run for President, because politics is more important to him than country. To me, he is a disgrace to the uniform.

A.C. said...

ME, I believe you have it wrong. Powell was in favor of taking out Saddam. Everything I've read says he was Bush's camp on this. However, I believe he was more cautious about the aftermath, sort of "you break it, you bought it", which turned out to be quite right.

LA, not sure Powell isn't a little narcissitic himself, but certainly not to the level of the average contender. Kerry comes to mind as a stark comparison.

Mary Ellen said...

AC

Actually,AC, this is where you have it wrong.One analyst, Greg Thielmann, said that key evidence cited by the administration was misrepresented to the public. He had given Powell the information on the aluminum tubes we all heard about. He told them, they could not be used for weapons.

Thielmann should know. He had been in charge of analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Powell's own intelligence bureau. This was Powell's number one guy. He had the highest security clearance available. He received his information on the aluminum tubes from Houston Wood, who was a consultant at Oakridge National Labs.

"Experts at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the scientists who enriched uranium for American bombs, advised that the tubes were all wrong for a bomb program. At about the same time, Thielmann’s office was working on another explanation. It turned out the tubes' dimensions perfectly matched an Iraqi conventional rocket.

“The aluminum was exactly, I think, what the Iraqis wanted for artillery,” recalls Thielmann, who says he sent that word up to the Secretary of State months before."

This is what Powell said:

'
“There is controversy about what these tubes are for. Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium,”

This is the truth:

“Most experts are located at Oak Ridge and that was not the position there,” says Wood, who claims he doesn’t know anyone in academia or foreign government who would disagree with his appraisal. “I don’t know a single one anywhere.”

Regarding why Powell lied about this information...Theilmann said, “I can only assume that he was doing it to loyally support the President of the United States and build the strongest possible case for arguing that there was no alternative to the use of military force,” .

Out of loyalty to the President...not loyalty to our country.

Always On Watch said...

LA,
I haven't yet gotten to all of yesterday's WaPo, but now that I've read your commentary here, I'll make sure to read the article in Washington Post Magazine. I often just toss out that particular section because many of the articles don't appeal to me. I'll make sure not to toss out yesterday's edition!

LASunsett said...

ME,

For argument's sake, I will assume that what you say is absolutely correct, in that, he put politics above what was right.

If that is the case, how would you feel if you knew he did for the purpose of keeping a buffer on the Bush administration? By that I mean, had he not been a part of the Bush admin., would they have run roughshod over everything? Or had he not been the voice of reason within it, would they have gone to war without first trying to solve the problem diplomatically?

Based on what I have heard and read. I agree with AC.

I do not think that he was against removing Saddam. I was not against it. But my criticism for the administration is that they didn't adequately plan for the aftermath.

Taking a civilization that is used to being oppressed and trying to institute a freely elected democracy is much more difficult than they thought and much more than they led everyone to believe. Some people do not want freedom, because there is too much uncertainty involved with it.

LASunsett said...

AC,

//not sure Powell isn't a little narcissitic himself, but certainly not to the level of the average contender. Kerry comes to mind as a stark comparison.//

The article I linked to on narcissism addresses this:

Narcissism is not a monolithic condition, but is actually situated along a spectrum from mild to severe. However, the most severe narcissists can often appear to be the most outwardly accomplished. One of the reasons for this is that the more severe the narcissism, the more driven they are to accomplish something in accordance with their grandiosity.

I think we all can be a bit narcissistic at times. It's an element of human pride that we all must come to grips with and battle.

LASunsett said...

AOW,

If nothing else it shows the world of politics that many of us never see and never consider. it's a good eye-opener in that regard.

A.C. said...

ME, Woodward's book specifically says Powell wasn't against taking out Saddam. Since his main source seems to have been Armitage, there's no doubt that had Powell secretly been against the war it would have slipped out. Recall Armitage told Woodward about Plame and they blamed it on his tendency to gossip.

Mary Ellen said...

LA and A.C.

Regarding your comments about Powell wanting to take out S.H. Even if that were true, and I will take your word on it that it was, how does that justify lying to the American people about WMD? If they had a case against S.H. that was reasonable, then why didn't they trust the American people to know all the REAL facts, instead of pumping up false information in order to get what they wanted?

The point is, S.H. was not a direct threat to the US. Certainly not as much of a threat as Korea. Yet, we wasted valuable resources to go into a war without a plan, without an exit strategy, with poor leadership (Rumsfeld) and sent our troops into battle poorly equipped. Was the lie worth it? I don't think so. S.H. was contained. The situation could have been controlled and was being controlled already.

We did belong in Afghanistan, that is where our attention should have been, not Iraq. You don't do a half-assed job and move on to do another half-assed job to score political points. Osama is the one we were supposed to be focusing on, not Sadaam. Yeah, S.H. was a terrible guy, and he was a terrible leader for the Iraqi's, but he was not an immediate threat to us and it could have been handled a lot better.

Colin Powell is a disgrace to his uniform, because he knew the WMD and aluminum tubes were nothing more than a bogus way to get us into a war...an unecessary war. His loyalty remained with Bush and where did it get him? Fired, and disgraced with a black smudge on his record. Who will remember Colin Powell without seeing him before the UN with his pictures...knowing that he was lying through his teeth out of loyalty to a corrupt President?

A.C. said...

ME, read some of the Woodward book excerpts. In one he talks about Powell not being in the loop regards the intelligence before he was picked to go to the UN. He had to get himself up to speed.

Matter of fact, Woodward says Powell jettisoned the White House summary of the intel in favor of the NIE, which was a compilation of the 16 intelligence services including his own State Dept.

I think he probably knew some of it was worse case but that didn't take away from Saddam's capacity for mayhem nor did it mean he outright lied. Nobody knew for certain what Saddam had or didn't. Recall that UNSCOM was flabbergasted in 1992 when they saw the extent of Saddam's nuke program prior to the Gulf war, which everyone had underestimated. They were surprised again in 1995 when Saddam's son-in-law defected.

With that mindset people tended to give some credence to worse-case. Powell obviously didn't like being used in that situation, especially when stockpiles didn't turn up. But he was used just as much by CIA as anyone else, since they're the ones who developed all that intel.

Mary Ellen said...

A.C.

That is all well and good...except for the blaring fact that he knew the intel on the aluminum tubes were false. He knew it because of his own intelligence bureau chief with the highest security clearance told him so. If he knew this for a fact, why would he use this information to lie to the UN and the American people? You don't use false facts to make a crime look real. It goes beyond padding the story, it's unethical. Most of all, you don't go before the UN and represent our country to do the bidding of the President by presenting a case that is full of lies.

I have no doubt, A.C., that S.H. was a terrible tyrant...however, he was not a threat to the US. The inspectors on the ground were telling Bush and Powell the same thing, no WMD. They wanted more time, Bush said no. Why did he say no? Because he already KNEW there were no WMD.

You don't send your troops into a war when you aren't sure of the facts. There are over 3,000 dead soldiers whose blood is on the hands of Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld and Rice. There is plenty to spare.

Sure, UNSCOM was flabbergasted in 1995...but that was before the first Gulf war. Are you telling me that is a good enough reason to go to war again...just in case? Do you think that China should nuke the US, just in case?

The aluminum tubes is only the tip of the iceberg here, A.C. The propaganda machine, the scare tactics, the false reports before the UN, WMD inspectors telling Bush they wanted more time because they found no evidence, Tenet telling Rice before 911 to beware and having it ignored by her...one cover up after another cover up by this administration and Powell was all a part of it.

The CIA aren't the only ones who developed the intel...Bush and Cheney "developed" plenty. Of course, it was all lies, but that doesn't matter does it?

LASunsett said...

ME,

//how does that justify lying to the American people about WMD?

Was the lie worth it?//


Okay, fair questions. But only if you ask the following people the same questions:

John Kerry

Bill Clinton.

Hillary Clinton

Sandy Berger

Madeleine Albright

Tom Daschle

Carl Levin

Nancy Pelosi

Al Gore

Robert Byrd

Jay Rockefeller

All of them are on record as saying there were WMDs.

Here are two links, here and here.

(The first link is to Glenn Beck and you do not like him, but he has these quotes linked to the sources, and the other is from CNN)

Now with that out of the way, here is the crux of my argument.

John Kerry is on the Foreign Relations Committee, Ted Kennedy is on the Armed Services Committee, and Bill Clinton was President. Of just those three alone, they should have been in the loop. Right?

We hire these guys for several specific purposes. One of those purposes is to serve as a check and balance to the executive branch. They said there were WMDs, they had every opportunity to speak up back when this was being debated. They could have cried loudly against this. But they didn't.

These quotes were accurate and were made on the record, we now have them all to use as evidence, they cannot be refuted. So if you say that they were lied to, why didn't they do their job back then and expose this as a farce and make the case back then? Why didn't they use all of their recources to bring this out after it was too late?

Either they believed they were there or they lied, those are the only two choices here.

Bottom line here is, if we apply the standard to all involved in the debate leading up to this, we see that it was just not the administration's fault. And yet all of that is assuming they weren't right to start with and the WMDS are in Syria.

So, to avoid getting sucked into the partisan politics in this thing, one simply must hold all those involved to the same standard. Either they all lied to us or they all miscalculated, but not one or the other.

//we wasted valuable resources to go into a war without a plan, without an exit strategy, with poor leadership (Rumsfeld) and sent our troops into battle poorly equipped.//

These are fair arguments and fair questions to ask. The responsibility to account for these things lies pretty much solely on the administration. If you opposethe war in Iraq, this is the argument that the Dems must make, but they aren't doing that. They are still focused on the WMDs.

Believe me when I say, that if the Dems were to come up with a better strategy and could articulate it well to the American people, they would be able to retake power of Congress without question. Bush is not vulnerable in the WMDs area because, the people have already made their choice on that debate. The area of vulenrability is in the prosecution of the war.

Mary Ellen said...

A.C.

Ok...let's look at all those Democrats you listed.

John Kerry: along with the other democrats who were in office when Bush decided we were going to war, he was given cherry picked and false information to base his decision on the vote. He mistakenly trusted that the President of the United States would never lie or try to manipulate evidence to back his case. Kerry was wrong.

Hillary Clinton: ditto

Nancy Pelosi: ditto

Bill Clinton: His quote was " "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."

Did he say we should do it by going to war, without UN backing or International support to destroy a sovereign country? No? I didn't think so. Good try though.
also
'If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear."
Saddam told Bush that he would welcome the inspectors into his country weeks before the war. Bush said no. He wanted war. He wouldn't allow anymore discussion or diplomacy because if he did...we couldn't go to war, which was the plan all along. Saddam didn't reject peace, Bush did.

" "We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."
- Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998

Which is exactly what Clinton was doing at the time with flyovers and International support. Where is it that Madeline Albright said that we should abandon that policy and bomb the living daylights out of Iraq?

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998"

This was before the weapons inspectors were in Iraq. Again, did Clinton falsify facts in order to make a case for war, or did he do everything he could to avoid the exact mess we are in because of Bush?

Al Gore: The speech that the particular quote was taken had this quote from Gore, " I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.

To begin with, to put first things first, I believe that we ought to be focusing our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and who have thus far gotten away with it.." He also said that we should continue our fight with Afghanistan and go after Osama bin Laden who was the REAL terrorist that was responsible for 911. He said we should FIRST get International support to go into Iraq. He was also basing his ideas on the cherry picked, false information that was given by the Bush administration. It's hard to base your decisions when you don't realize your President is so under-handed that he would think nothing of lying in order to get his way. So, in Gore's case, his quote applies to Kerry's, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi...all who were given false facts.

Tom Daschel: ditto to receiving false, cherry picked intel.

Rockafeller: ditto
Robert Byrd: ditto

Bottom line...anyone who received informaton that there were WMD's in Iraq during the Bush administration were basing their support for the war on lies given to them by George Bush and Co.

It wasn't the people on the list who lied...they were telling what they thought was the truth. After all, they trusted Bush. Big mistake on their part, but they know better now.

Actually, the Dems are focusing on the war in Iraq and it's lack of an exit strategy, and lack of any strategy at all...you just aren't reading the liberal blogs or looking into the Democratic party's information. It is discussed on a regular basis. You just aren't going to read it if you are only reading Drudge or Glenn Beck.

The Dems cannot give their strategy when the MSM won't present it. Believe me, it is out there, you just have to look beyond the MSM and republican sound bytes. It's also almost impossible to come up with an exit strategy when you aren't given the real facts about what is happening on the ground in Iraq. When you have the Pentagon giving smaller numbers of deaths due to insurgency by not counting the ones that were killed by roadside bombs. They didn't like that info coming out...How do you expect anyone to make a plan, when they aren't given the facts. Bush hides what is really happening. My gosh, he still can't admit there are problems in Iraq. He still wants everyone to believe that we aren't in the middle of a civil war. I guess until he sees blue and gray uniforms, he'll never believe it.

Mary Ellen said...

LA:

First of all, that last post I made was supposed to go to you and not A.C. Sorry, A.C!

Let's also look at the reaction of the Republicans when Clinton did decide to go after S.H. for not complying with the weapons inspectors...

//"I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time," Lott said in a statement. "Both the timing and the policy are subject to question."

"The suspicion some people have about the president's motives in this attack is itself a powerful argument for impeachment," Armey said in a statement.//

Hmmm.... So, I guess S.H. is only a bad guy when Bush says so. It seems that Clinton handled it the correct way from the beginning. A small strike, a direct warning, inspectors allowed back in, flyover's take place, and SH is in check. All done before the Rammadon holiday in order not to inflame or insult the muslims. And guess what? We didn't lose over 3,000 of our finest military men and women, nor did we maim and seriously injure more than 10,000 of our troops.

That darned Clinton! Just when you want to blame him for something, he turns out to be right all along. He went in with a plan and had an exit strategy. If only Bush would have read from the same play book.

LASunsett said...

ME

On HJ Res. 114

Take a look at this here

I counted 28 Democratic votes for yea. The President took his case to the Congress and this is how the Senate voted. If these 28 senators would have voted nay, the use of force would have been denied. 51-49. There would have been no war.

If you hold the President accountable, how much more should you hold these people accountable for their votes? How can you not? They could have stopped it then, but they didn't.

All I am saying here is, this was the time to have shot this down. This is the moment they did not do their job.

In our system, the Congress (to include the Senate) has just as much power collectively, as the President does individually. I do not buy into the fact that they were lied to, if that's the case here and that is the truth, they should have caught that lie, then and there. If it is wrong now, it should have been wrong then. They should not have waited until it became politically expedient for them to oppose it.

They are just as guilty.

The only ones that have a right to complain about this are the ones that voted nay. The ones that voted nay are the only ones that should be registering their complaints, now. But if you look at the long list of who voted yes, that certainly is not the case.

Mary Ellen said...

LA

You're not getting my point! The Democrats who voted for the war, based their votes on false, cherrry-picked information that was given to them by this president! Should they NOT have believed him? They weren't privvy to the material that was not in the report, the material from the CIA and other sources that countered the claim that SH had WMD. How can you hold them accountable when they were lied to from the beginning. They aren't mind readers...just humans, who trusted that their President wouldn't be so unethical as to lie about intelligence om order to sell them on a war that he was determined to go into. Voting on manipulated intelligence doesn't mean they are guilty of anything!

LASunsett said...

ME,

//They weren't privvy to the material that was not in the report, the material from the CIA and other sources that countered the claim that SH had WMD. How can you hold them accountable when they were lied to from the beginning. They aren't mind readers...just humans, who trusted that their President wouldn't be so unethical as to lie about intelligence om order to sell them on a war that he was determined to go into. Voting on manipulated intelligence doesn't mean they are guilty of anything!//

My point is, it was the same intelligence that Bill Clinton had when he said they were developing WMDs. These high ranking committee members had access to all of the intelligence reports. They say they didn't only to cover their asses for having voted for the war. But they did. The reports did not change a hell of a lot from the time Clinton left office to the time Bush took over. Threat assessments do not change over night. They just don't.

And we CAN hold the Congress responsible because it is THEIR job to authorize the use of force and they authorized it. We have three separate but equal branches of government. They all have the responsibility to do their part. If the executive part gets out of control, then it's the job of the other two to keep that executive branch in check.

I know they are human and they have to respond sometimes and cannot always intitiate. But, think about ME, so very soon after the invasion began is when the cries of lies began. Why did those cries not begin at the time the thing was being debated?

My larger point is, since both the President and the Congress screwed up, it's too late to keep harping over this. The more criticizable offenses lie in the handling of the war, not the reasons we went. All were wrong in the reasons that led up to it, but only the administration can take responsibility for how the war was fought and how the resolve of the enemy was severely underestimated. Post-war planning was virtually non-existent.

I have always said, you go to war to win, or you just do not go. The Armed Sevices Committee can only appropriate the money and attempt to work through the oversight end of it. But it is the President that must be the COO of the war. the buck stops there, on that.

Look, if there was a Democrat that came along and said sonething to the effect of:

We were wrong about the WMDs, there is no time to keep beating this dead horse. I have a plan that will get this thing fixed so we can win the peace there, so we can pull our troops out. Then if they can articulate that plan and present it to the American people, and the plan look like it's worth a shot, I would vote for that person and so would everyone else who is sick of Rumsfeld BSing his way through this thing.

Let me put it to you mildly, if I had ben President, it would have been under control right now. You may not have liked my techniques. But if you are sincere in wanting this over by now, you'd have that. The Sunni triangle would now be named the Sunni Canyon. The Iraqi forces would be up and running their own country by now, I guarantee it.

LASunsett said...

ME,

BTW, even though I don't agree with you on this, thanks for invigorating this sleepy little blog a little bit. Now, if we can just get some of the lurkers to jump in. ;)

A.C. said...

ME, why do you think the MSM and the democrats rapidly changed their tunes on Iraq between 2000 and 2003? Have you seen all the speeches and reports the above two parties executed in the years leading up to the 2001 election?

John Kerry was talking smack about SH until he won the nomination. So much of this is spin/politics, but the war is real. SH was most definitely a threat to America, if not immediately in 2003 certainly down the line. Were we supposed to maintain the no-fly zone posture forever while he scammed the Oil for Food program? The ONLY reason he allowed Blix into his country was due to the 200k troops sitting on ready on his borders.

As to Condi Rice not heeding warnings and such, that's just bunk IMO. Number one, I work in aviation, and can tell you for a fact that security measures were starting to ramp up in August of 2001. Second, the 9/11 Commissioners, at first aghast because they thought they weren't told about the July meeting, later realized they'd been briefed about it and just like Rice had forgotten. That can only mean it was more routine than either Tenet or Woodward are painting it.

Additionally, Michael Scheuer, the former head of CIA's bin Laden unit, confirmed that the Clintons could have fired on UBL numerous times and did not. He says they are outright lying. Since he's also been critical of Bush as well, I believe his account over Clinton's.

All this boils down to politics and the quest for social changes taking precedence over security. Has Bush made mistakes? Sure. Would his daily admittance of such things do any good? Probably not, since his enemies use anything they can against him and the US.

Finally, as to Powell, if he knew the aluminum tubes part was bunk he could have removed it since he refused several other items. You may have a point but keep in mind a lot of this looks different in hindsight. SH had snookered us before, and after 9/11 he was being awarded no quarter--and rightfully so.

LASunsett said...

//SH had snookered us before, and after 9/11 he was being awarded no quarter--and rightfully so.//

Here's the thing AC. There's a theory that SH wanted Iran to believe he had WMDs. His intel told him that Iran was working on nukes and he wanted the Iranians to think he had them, so as not to be vulnerable. He really believed that the U.S. would not attack and that he could weather the storm, once again.

And ME, I would also say:

Dealing with unreasonable people like SH is not an easy task. When they are erratic and unpredictable (as he was), they cannot be reasoned with. And if Bush would have done nothing at all and it was found out that he was behind a horrendous attack down the road, he would have had his ass in a sling, a hundred times more than it is now. And if that would have happened, both of us would have been calling for his head on a platter.

I still stand by my opinion that he had to go, but will say that I am not pleased at how he has handled it in the aftermath of SH's removal.

And BTW, how about those Cardinals, AC?

All_I_Can_Stands said...

AC said ME, why do you think the MSM and the democrats rapidly changed their tunes on Iraq between 2000 and 2003? Have you seen all the speeches and reports the above two parties executed in the years leading up to the 2001 election?

John Kerry was talking smack about SH until he won the nomination.


Your statement reminds me that for the most part the Dems were giving lip service to supporting Iraq until a lunatic named Howard Dean almost walked away with the nomination based on an anti-war platform. When Kerry squeaked out the nomination, he catered to Dean's voters and there was a decisive shift from lip service support/mild criticism to taking the gloves off - all led by politics. Not principle.

LASunsett said...

AICS,

//for the most part the Dems were giving lip service to supporting Iraq until a lunatic named Howard Dean almost walked away with the nomination based on an anti-war platform. When Kerry squeaked out the nomination, he catered to Dean's voters and there was a decisive shift from lip service support/mild criticism to taking the gloves off - all led by politics. Not principle.//

Good point AICS.

I think the Dems were pretty much prepared to nitpick on certain policies and make their usual "the economy is in the tank" arguments. But with Dean exploding onto the scene, it definitely pulled the party further to the left than it already was. Which was a bit surprising, in that, Dean was a pretty moderate governor.

The mainstream Dems knowing they needed the anti-war support, allowed themselves to get caught up in the whirlwind and found the party situated farther left on the spectrum, to get nominated.

There is nothing wrong, in my view, with being anti-war, if you are that way all of the time and do not vascillate for political purposes. That's what hurt Kerry, so badly.

For the record, I am anti-war. I do not like it one bit. I do not glory in it.

But with that said, when one side in a conflict is decidedly pro-war and the other is not, the pro-war side will eventually defeat the anti-war side. One side cannot stop fighting or they will be conquered. And as long as one side wants to kill me or convert me to Islam, I am more than willing to support killing them first.

As a commenter on another blog said once (and I am paraphrasing), "as long as they are wanting to kill me I will do everything I can to kill them first. That doesn't make me happy, but I regret nothing".

Mary Ellen said...

A.C

//Were we supposed to maintain the no-fly zone posture forever while he scammed the Oil for Food program? The ONLY reason he allowed Blix into his country was due to the 200k troops sitting on ready on his borders. //

As far as I know, AC, maintaining a no-fly zone took no American military lives, did not kill Iraqi civilians, did not cost us billion of dollars to support, and did not destroy a country or bring it into civil war. So, in order to stop the oil for food scandal, we are supposed to drag our country into war? I don't think so. The no-fly zone was working. We did have troops on the ready in the area. Clinton did take action...ooops, the the Republicans didn't like that did they? They called it "wag the dog" and jumped up and down about his successful effort to keep SH in line. And what do you know? He did it without killing more than 3,000 American troops or maiming tens of thousands of them. Hmmm...an exit strategy, well thought out strike that did the job. Who woulda thunk it, eh?

//The ONLY reason he allowed Blix into his country was due to the 200k troops sitting on ready on his borders. //

And what did Blix find in Iraq, AC? Do you remember what his report on WMD was? Oh yeah....that little fact. It didn't matter that there were no WMD, those troops were "on the ready" because Bush was going to war with evidence of WMD or without.

As far as Kerry not backing the war...it wasn't until later that they found out that they had been lied to about the so-called evidence of WMD. That is when the Senate and Congress had proof of cherry-picked intel. I know the Republicans like to "stay the course" even when they are dead wrong....but Democrats like to deal with facts and would never have gone into war without a plan or exit strategy. They especially would not have gone in with false, trumped up intel.

Oh, BTW, did you hear Rush Limbaugh's last brainstorm? Seems he's adopting the Murtha plan, only he's calling it his own. Maybe he should look again, what he is proposing is word for word what he condemned Murtha for and calling it "cut and run". Too funny!

Regarding the Rice meeting...

" The State Department's disclosure Monday that the pair was briefed within a week after then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was told about the threat on July 10, 2001, raised new questions about what the Bush administration did in response, and about why so many officials have claimed they never received or don't remember the warning.

One official who helped to prepare the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, described it as a "10 on a scale of 1 to 10" that "connected the dots" in earlier intelligence reports to present a stark warning that al-Qaida, which had already killed Americans in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and East Africa, was poised to strike again.

Former CIA Director George Tenet gave the independent Sept. 11, 2001, commission the same briefing on Jan. 28, 2004, but the commission made no mention of the warning in its 428-page final report. According to three former senior intelligence officials, Tenet testified to commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste and to Philip Zelikow, the panel's executive director and the principal author of its report, who's now Rice's top adviser. "

Time and time again, this administration has failed us. Every month we find out more and more of the incompetency of this group. I don't think it's over yet, either.

//SH had snookered us before, and after 9/11 he was being awarded no quarter--and rightfully so.//

SH had nothing to do with 911, but I'm not surprised you bring him up in the same sentence...typical Republican game. You would make Cheney proud with that statement.

Mary Ellen said...

LA:

//
My point is, it was the same intelligence that Bill Clinton had when he said they were developing WMDs. These high ranking committee members had access to all of the intelligence reports. They say they didn't only to cover their asses for having voted for the war. But they did. The reports did not change a hell of a lot from the time Clinton left office to the time Bush took over. Threat assessments do not change over night. They just don't.//

Clinton didn't use intel in order to fit his plans for war. This is Bush's job. According to a former CIA Intelligence Analyst for the Middle East, Paul Pillar, wrote:

"In the wake of the Iraq war, it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized. As the national intelligence officer responsible for the Middle East from 2000 to 2005, I witnessed all of these disturbing developments."

In the words of AC, I'll take his words over yours. No offense intended, of course.

Mary Ellen said...

AICS

//
Your statement reminds me that for the most part the Dems were giving lip service to supporting Iraq until a lunatic named Howard Dean almost walked away with the nomination based on an anti-war platform. When Kerry squeaked out the nomination, he catered to Dean's voters and there was a decisive shift from lip service support/mild criticism to taking the gloves off - all led by politics. Not principle.//

I see...so Howard Dean was wrong? Kerry was wrong? I don't think so...it would have been just politics if they were backing a failed policy, like Bush and Co. You seem to think that if something fails, then it is best to carry on in the name of your party. When Democrats see that something is failing, they fix it. "Stay the Course" is for losers. Unfortunately, it is our military who are taking all the losses. At least 17 of our American troops were killed in Bahgdad since Saturday...just stay the course, eh?

Mary Ellen said...

Oh...and just so AC doesn't think that I let politics get in my way of sports..

WAY TO GO CARDINALS!!!! :-D

If the White Sox can't be in it...I'm rooting for the Cardinal's.

A.C. said...

Yep LA, ME, my Redbirds looked pretty good with Mr Cy Young on the mound. It's a best 2 out of 4 now. If they can all stay healhy they've got a chance to advance. I like the underdog status.

LA, I've heard the theory about SH spoofing his program to keep Iran (and Saudi, and Israel) at bay. There was no doubt he had chem/bio weapons at one point--none. As you say, you can't reason with the man.

ME, as to Blix, he did not give SH a clean bill of health. He found proscribed missiles and could not account for the destruction of VX and anthrax. That's a fact.

As to the effectiveness of No-fly, they were shooting at the planes constantly, not to mention it was costing millions and ticking off bin Laden. It was providing anger to the Arab street. It was NOT stopping the OFFP scam. And it did nothing to disarm him or stop his use of proxies.

cheers!

LASunsett said...

AC,

I watched some of the A's - Twins game today. Kotsay hit an inside the park homer. Also I watched the Mets beat the Dodgers. I have always been an Angels fan, but will root for the Dodgers if they get into the post season.