Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Friday, September 20, 2002
Andrew Sullivan is quoting Bush I's memoirs to try to minimize the differences between the generations of the Bush dynasty, and especially their attitudes towards unilateralism. This describes Bush's response to the Kuwait invasion:
A few minutes later, I was on the phone with Tom Pickering, our U.N. ambassador. While I was prepared to deal with this crisis unilaterally if necessary, I wanted the United Nations involved as part of our first response, starting with a strong condemnation of Iraq's attack on a fellow member. Decisive U.N. action would be important in rallying international opposition to the invasion and reversing it.[Emphasis in Sullivan.]
Sullivan comments: "Methinks the contrast between 41 and 43 is overblown."
Doesn't this quote prove pretty much the opposite of what it's being cited to argue? What is more significant here than the offhand hypothetical is the fact that one of the first officials Bush I contacted during the crisis was his UN Ambassador, and it was that conversation, rather than one with the Secretary of Defense, National Security Adviser, or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, that gets mentioned in the memoirs. I have a strong suspicion that Dubya has hardly ever spoken directly to his UN Ambassador without going through Powell.
Incidentally, an item shortly below this on Colin Powell is a rare example of Sullivan saying something I agree with. I find the shrill denunciations of Powell which often pop up in the right-wing media and among the most pro-war warbloggers to be pretty silly. Colin Powell may be many things, but he is definitely not a loose cannon. If you don't like his policies, blame the guy who put him there and can fire him any time he wants to, instead of pretending that Powell (or Mineta) snuck into the Cabinet by some mysterious means without the President's permission.
Sullivan is probably also right in suggesting that Powell's Iraq policy isn't so clearly anti-war as some people seem to think.