A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004 :::
A Mind That Suits will return to lighter fare starting in a few days.

The President yesterday restated the reasons for war with Saddam. It was a good speech, if a year late, and $200 billion short. The need for such a speech has been apparent since the summer of 2003, and that was a while ago. However, it repays reading, and can be found here.

A few quibbles, however: the President gave another speech on the war, which was probably better, when the storied 101st Air Assault Division returned to Ft. Campbell. That was on March 18. In between, the Bush campaign spent $85 million dollars--

attacking John Kerry--

on the economy.

Which had no discernible impact on anyone's standings.

And the speeches at either end of that dismal four-month bender, it should be pointed out, were given to local audiences at military installations few people could find on a map, and not to the nation as a whole.

It is an axiom of politics that you should not mention your own weaknesses, but it is a very stupid axiom. Who is going to forget about the war? The only way around this dark valley is straight through it.

And that is "straight." The President emphasized the democratic reform of the Middle East as a major objective. That was never a major objective of the war, at least as publicly stated. Donald Rumsfeld actively opposes nation building, and it was never raised with our allies. The President's now famous speech to the American Enterprise Insitute in February,2003, mentions such reform as a possibility, but it is couched in the mildest terms, almost as if it was tailored for the assembled neo-cons without actually agreeing with them. Even so, it caused a firestorm in Europe, as evidenced by this exchange with Gen. Powell on French Radio (brave man). Anne Applebaum, the Washington Post commentator and Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian, reports that one European official said that had never been raised in any diplomatic setting. So it is a surprising addition to our reasons for war--not that it won't please some neo-cons.

But this old-fashioned con thinks that history is pretty clear on one thing, and that is that if you tell a ruler you intend to replace him, he is unlikely to think of you as a natural ally.

The one good thing is that the President admitted we are unlikely to find the stockpiles we expected to find. So perhaps now the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal will feel brave enough to admit the same thing.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:28 AM



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