By accepting Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's resignation, President Bush appears to have taken a decisive turn in his approach to foreign policy.I'm sure Dr. Rice is qualified, but (a) she's no Colin Powell, (b) she's another hawk who's never served in uniform, and (c) she's aligned with those in favor of using American force to create democracy, even in soil which is unforgiving.
Powell's departure -- and Bush's intention to name his confidante, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, as Powell's replacement -- would mark the triumph of a hard-edged approach to diplomacy espoused by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Powell's brand of moderate realism was often overridden in the administration's councils of power, but Powell's presence ensured that the president heard divergent views on how to proceed on key foreign policy issues.
In these times we face, we don't need the hawks guiding us. The recent news of the killing of a wounded Iraqi only creates a continuing difficult situation. With Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rice whispering in the President's ears, only long-term, bad things can happen.
About the shooting which has caused uproar, I've got to hand it to Kevin Sites for the professional manner in which he broke the story. Sites is a freelance journalist currently on assignment for NBC. His blog is a great read.
One of the things I think is going to be missed in all this is the role of stress in combat. One Reuters' reporter wrote:
U.S. Marines rallied round a comrade under investigation for killing a wounded Iraqi during the offensive in Falluja, saying he was probably under combat stress in unpredictable, hair-trigger circumstances.The Marine who fired the shots had reportedly been shot in the face himself the previous day.
Marines interviewed on Tuesday said they didn't see the shooting as a scandal, rather the act of a comrade who faced intense pressure during the effort to quell the insurgency in the city.
"I can see why he would do it. He was probably running around being shot at for days on end in Falluja. There should be an investigation but they should look into the circumstances," said Lance Corporal Christopher Hanson.
I predict with the hawks in control inside the Beltway, we are going to find ourselves using armed force more often... and when armed force is used, bad shit happens... And then what happens is what happened after the Abu Graib stuff: world opinion turns against us... and when world opinion turns, the radicals take to arms... the cycle continues...
Perhaps you think this is farfetched... Read this article by Chalmers Johnson. And then read his book.