Douglas O'Rourke: Obstructed Colin
by Douglas O'Rourke
LOS ANGELES, Nov 18, 2004 (columnleft.com) -- The good soldier of the Bush Administration is leaving an historic tenure as Secretary of State, and in his soul surely dwells an epic book about how modern war is made by warriors and wannabes.
General Colin Powell, the only senior Bush advisor with combat experience, was a thorn in the side of the Neocons, those driven young patriots of privilege who learned their war fighting skills from Steven Seagal and Tom Clancy. They thought Powell a weak sister. He was worse than a weak sister. He was a...moderate.
Mr. Cheney, who shrewdly worked the deferment game to avoid Vietnam service, reportedly could never tolerate the deep caution of top State Department and Pentagon combat vets who'd actually risked their lives at low pay for all the implied things Fox News waves at you all day.
In starting a war, perspective is everything. Sending kids to die for Halliburton is probably a lot easier if you've never had to see them die screaming beside you in a stinking ditch.
Maybe Powell, the ultimate child of the system, should have resigned, but instead he reportedly worked hard from the inside to warn Mr. Bush. The true believers dismissed Powell's pre-war caution, as they did hushed warnings from a lot of worried lifers at CIA and DoD, and even many key Bush41 folks.
Mr. Rumsfeld reportedly mocked Pentagon pros who rejected making war unless they absolutely, positively had to, in pressing national self-interest and then only as a LAST resort. If you do go, show up with overwhelming force, fight fast, win, and then leave.
Some called it the 'Powell Doctrine.' It was born of bitter experience in South-East Asia.
The 1991 Gulf War, which General Powell helped run as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was well-planned and executed from a military standpoint, and the U.S. operated with a true multi-national force. The more we hear from Iraq today, the better the Gulf War looks. Whatever it was, it was run by seasoned pros, and our casualties were very light.
In 2003, Powell advocated diplomacy and inspection short of an Iraq invasion. Nobody listened. He also appreciated Mr. Rumsfeld's planned combat force was to be a fourth of what the professionals had estimated, with no real provisions for protracted post-Saddam instability.
Like many other professionals, Powell and his deputy at State, the grand curmudgeon Richard Armitage, had both distinguished themselves on the battlefield, and knew a sustained insurgency might leave our tiny force of 140,000 Americans surrounded by 24,000,000 Iraqis, a lot of them pissed off and heavily armed.
The Neocons were not above playing Powell. They sent him to the U.N. to prove the U.S. case for Iraq, wired with bent paper about A-Bombs, and mobile chemical labs. They tried to fake an 'Adlai Stevenson' moment but got farce. Except for Britain, our traditional allies openly rejected us. This further upset the Neocons.
The WMD is there! We have to go in! We have to!
History has proven General Powell and many others tragically right. Mr. Bush's Iraq has become a death trap. Gratitude became revolt. Hope became rage. There will be no winners. Iraq began with a calculated lie and will only end when it stops working for the GOP. Candidate Bush beamed delusional public optimism about Iraq's bright future.
Out in America's "Ignorance Belt," our pending Iraq Victory played well with voters who actually believe Saddam was behind 9/11 and still has A-Bombs. Dick Cheney cynically played to that ignorance. A President who never reads the papers needs supporters of like mind.
Relax, we're winning in Iraq, despite the constant lies of the Elite Media.
General Powell's replacement at State is National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice, a skilled academic infighter who can make a scholarly faux-argument to rationalize any Administration action, regardless of outcome. She's wound pretty tight, but running Foggy Bottom should be a snap, considering Job One is to purge the unfaithful.
She joins second term DCI Porter Goss who is quickly chopping contradictory heads at CIA. Dissent is disloyalty, no matter the facts. Expect State and CIA to look and sound a lot like Mr. Cheney.
The Neocons can't abide criticism. Part of the joy of being an 'Ultra-Religious Super-Patriot Doing God's Own Work' is that you just can't be wrong. Mr. Bin Laden is of a like mind. We're headed for interesting times.
Such hubris is usually the epitaph of empires.
After 9/11, we had the sympathy of almost the whole planet. Many who liked us then hate us now. Our crushing "Vietnamization" of Falloujha produced an incendiary video of the apparent shooting of a wounded Iraqi combatant by a young Marine, a predictable by-product of the chaos. For every insurgent we kill, others rise to avenge him.
Innocent Iraqi civilians die almost unreported, alienating the World's peaceful Muslim majority who reject Bin Laden, but can't trust us, either.
As George W. Bush happily approaches his second term with a blank check from our grandkids in his pocket, expect the Neocons to grab a lot of headlines. Next up, faking the January Iraq Election winners. This part should be easy. Look who's counting.
Moderation won't be a problem in Mr. Bush's second term. The Neocons have a mandate now. They totally dominate the World's last nu-cue-lar super-power.
Nobody on Earth can stop them, and God knows they just can't be wrong.
Douglas O'Rourke is a writer in California and can be reached via www.columnleft.com
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