November 17, 2004

Q & A

George Will writes:
Condoleezza Rice, a sports buff, knows that, as a professional basketball player has said, ``It's not going to be peaches and gravy all the time.'' Herewith some hard questions senators might ask in her confirmation hearings:
I'll pretend to be Rice, and give you my suggested answers...with the advantage that I don't have to be politic and polite...
Did you see the television coverage of Yasser Arafat's funeral -- riot as mourning, gunfire as liturgy? Is it reasonable to expect that in the Jan. 9 elections to choose Arafat's successor, the Palestinian polity will select what the president called (June 24, 2002) a necessary condition for progress -- leadership "not compromised by terror''?
Probably not, but it's a start in the learning process. More likely to help than the so-called "Peace Process."
The president says it is "cultural condescension'' to question "whether this country, or that people, or this group, are 'ready' for democracy." Condescending, perhaps, but is it realistic? Tony Blair says it is a "myth" that "our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture." Are there cultural prerequisites for free polities? Does Iraq have them? Do the Palestinian people, after a decade of saturation propaganda inciting terrorism and anti-Semitism? Does the United States know how to transplant those prerequisites?
It was not so long ago that it was thought that only white Northern European Protestants had the necessary prerequisites for democracy...Then European Catholics were added, and Jews. Next it was discovered that the more-developed Asian countries could do it. Now we think it nothing out-of-the-ordinary for Latin American countries, or Turkey, India, The Philippines...The President seems to have history and the evidence on his side.

Should the Sunnis, Iraq's tyrants for decades, be allowed, by boycott or insurgency, to delay the Jan. 31 elections?
If, knowing what we now know about Iraq's weapons programs, you still think pre-emptive war was justified, what other nations might, by the same criteria, merit pre-emptive action?...
OK dimwits, I'll put this in simple terms even a Democrat can understand. We make decisions based on the info we have at the moment. That's all anyone can do. Being psychic isn't an option. Even if we had invaded and found the Garden of Eden, invasion was still justified. Hindsight is totally irrelevant.
As for other nations, don't play those little games with me. Every situation is different. And if I happen to mention pre-emptive action against another nation, it's probably a calculated leak designed to intimidate them—precisely so that that action can be
avoided. (Ooops, sorry, I promised not to use concepts Democrats can't grasp.)
In 1991, the secretary of defense, explaining the unwisdom of regime change, said: "Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?" Was Dick Cheney right?
His arguments seemed good in the context of the times. But 9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING. You shouldn't have to be told that. The democracy and freedom we are trying to foster in Iraq is a weapon in a much wider war, part of our Grand Strategy to defeat terrorism in the long run. As such, it is worth far more in terms of life and treasure than it would have seemed in 1991.
In 2000, before becoming George W. Bush's national security adviser, you questioned the use of U.S. military forces in peacekeeping operations: "Carrying out civil administration and police functions is simply going to degrade the American capability to do the things America has to do. We don't need to have the 82nd Airborne escorting kids to kindergarten." Are current noncombat operations in Iraq degrading U.S. military capabilities?
See previous answer for changed situation. In 2000 I didn't realize we were engaged in Fourth Generation War, in which the battlefield can be
anywhere! Including kindergartens. Including Senate Hearing Rooms, where Senators who actually voted for our current campaign can morph into allies of terrorists, and undercut our soldiers even while they are under fire. and our military capabilities are INCREASING. We are getting stronger, both on the traditional battlefield and on the new 4-G battlefields of schools, newsrooms and politics.
You have said that it would be "unacceptable" for Iran or North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons. What, if anything, does that commit the United States to do if negotiations continue to be unavailing? Or if, as some intelligence reports suggest, North Korea already has several such weapons?
We're not "committed" to anything. We will be applying pressure in every way we can, including talking tough and saying this or that is "unacceptable." Our pressure would be much more effective if BOTH parties supported America's foreign policy.
Does the Genocide Convention require a more forceful response to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, or is it, like the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed war many wars ago, a waste of paper?
It is a waste as far as Democrats and the UN are concerned. Fortunately the influence of Christians is at work, and the situation now being taken very seriously. Of course they would do the same without the Genocide Convention.

Posted by John Weidner at November 17, 2004 9:40 AM
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