March 8, 2008

Hillary Isn't the Monster

I was at first relieved to learn that Senator Barack Obama had chosen Samantha Power as a foreign policy advisor. Her book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide is hardly wishy-washy or leftist, and I concur with Max Boot that it could have been written by a neoconservative. It had been years, though, since I had paid her any attention. Until, that is, Noah Pollak forced me to take a fresh look. Much of what she has written and said since her book’s publication has been troubling, and she turned out to be the most controversial of Obama’s advisors. Yesterday she resigned after calling Senator Hillary Clinton a “monster” in an interview with a Scottish newspaper. I suspect an additional (though unstated) reason may have been the unwanted storm of controversy surrounding her, a storm that has had the Obama campaign on the defensive for some time now.

To her credit, Power disavowed her most controversial idea American troops be sent to Israel and the Palestinian territories–but troubling questions remain. If she thinks Clinton is a monster, what does she think about the dictators of Syria and Iran? She doesn’t approve of them. That’s obvious. But neither she nor Obama has ever been so “undiplomatic” as to suggest that they’re monsters.

Read the rest in Commentary Magazine

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 8, 2008 10:33 AM

I have something to confess. I fail your "monstrous" purity test, too:

I have occasionally failed to qualify statements about "Cookie Monster" by denouncing and rejecting all known Middle Eastern thugs in the same breath.

Posted by: Creamy Hussein Goodness Author Profile Page at March 8, 2008 6:41 PM

Creamy Hussein Goodness,

Since you aren't a self-described "genocide chick" and most likely weren't giving an interview as a foreign policy advisor, I suppose you can be excused if you grovel and say you're sorry. :)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at March 8, 2008 7:21 PM

Hillary is probably finished, a lot of people are apparently tired of dynasty presidency. Almost 20 years of either Bush or Clinton got old fast. It's time for some fresh faces. Bring on Obama vs. Mccain, with eventually coming up top. I love how Mccain is taking a page out of Arnold Schwerzzneger's playbook - appeal to the center and independents!

Posted by: lee Author Profile Page at March 9, 2008 12:41 AM

I can only agree regarding the downward trajectory of Ms. Power but find the whole episode inexplicable. There were many things admirable about her most noteworthy book though I thought when I read it a few years ago that she started with her notion of the US being remiss in preventing genocide then easily found facts and those who agreed with her to prove her thesis.

I haven't found any indication that she has become a Truther or that she became a follower of Smedley Butler but sometime in the last 6 years she went from showing that the US could do more to the idea that we have never lifted a finger to prevent such events as policy and inclination. So then I'm left to wonder just what exactly the over forty years of troops stationed in Korea, Japan or Europe accomplished other than keeping those populations from either killing themselves in civil wars or from external enemies. It seems that the US gets no credit for preventing mass murder but only the onus for failing to prevent such events.

But I am beginning to suspect that Ms. Power is not a oner in the Obama campaign, Austan Goolsbee comes to mind. There seem to be a lot of people waiting for that ticker tape parade simply because they are tired of wandering in the wilderness and at last those stupid voters see who the real professionals are and that the Age of Aquarius is at hand. Why isn't Dennis Ross used more to reassure that there are adults in the campaign and not just a collection of true believers.

Posted by: Pat Patterson Author Profile Page at March 9, 2008 5:42 AM

Pat Patterson,

It seems that the US gets no credit for preventing mass murder but only the onus for failing to prevent such events.

The rules are fairly simple, the US has to be perfect, everybody else has to show that they tried, except when they can announce with perfect sincerity that the effort was doomed from the start. This is an Apollo Project question, "If the US can send a man to the moon, why can't they..."

One problem we face is that a considerable portion of our entire national budget goes to making sure that congressional aides and campaign donors have full employment for in-laws. I wonder how many in-laws we've "sent to the moon" with funding on useless and unaccountable projects?

I remember one time when I was in the middle of the Atlantic transiting between the US and the Mediterranean when to better track a simulated target I diverted the ship for an hour. We were within schedule, part of our ship's mission was support of sonar tracking testing I was conducting, and so we drove perpendicular to the base course for sixty minutes to better refine targeting on an illusion. I'm not sure how to express the amount of fuel that was used, but it was more than enough to swim in. That fuel and time was not wasted, though. We got something for it and we had the time and fuel available to expend.

The expense of the Iraq War doesn't bother me because in addition to first rate training for the military and State Dept., it looks like we might get some greater stability for it. Also, giving some freedom to the Kurds is sweet if only because it irritates some really nasty characters. Additionally, we were killing bad guys even in the worst of days, and that is demonstrably work worth doing.

I am much less sanguine about expending treasure on an education system that by every metric wastes the increases they receive. I am deeply upset by the earmark system that denies accountability at every level from inception to final execution. Those are the reasons why America can't...

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell Author Profile Page at March 9, 2008 12:42 PM
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