Tuesday, 21 October 2008

On Powell’s endorsement

Oliver Kamm writes:
For me, two issues of great moment from the 1990s destroyed Powell's claim to be taken seriously as a public figure. First, Powell counselled against military action to expel Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait, after the tyrant had annexed (not merely invaded and occupied) that sovereign state in 1990. Powell didn't see an exit strategy, so he urged that US forces stay at home. If he'd been listened to, Kuwait would have remained the subjugated and plundered 19th province of Iraq.

Secondly, despite having been disastrously wrong on Iraq, Powell was listened to respectfully by the Bush administration when Slobodan Milosevic launched his war of aggression against Bosnia. He even opposed any US role in providing humanitarian aid or enforcing a no-fly zone over Bosnia. He was essentially ignorant of the conflict and of the region, and his advice had disastrous consequences.
More. Oliver Kamm has also endorsed Obama, but with caveats.


bob said...

Powell's Vietnam story is none too appealling either. Incidentally, Kamm's source in his article is Samantha Power's brilliant book on US response to genocide, in which Biden comes out as one of the best of American politicians. Power was briefly part of Team Obama, which raised the ire of some liberal interventionists who bizarrely saw her as too realist...

kellie said...

My ire was amongst those raised, here and here for example.

The word realist would seem to fit her comments quoted in those posts, and not in a good way. I'll have to look at her book again to see what she writes on Biden. It's on the shelf, but I've only read parts.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Yes, I had/have my misigivings about Power, too.


Roland Dodds said...

I’m glad you brought up some of the Powell points. Defiantly worth contemplating, and something often overlooked in this media age.