I remember the sad figure of Colin Powell. The war in Iraq had ended, the American military had won in convincing, powerful fashion. But, the American government was losing the peace. It wasn't a slow process, it happened almost overnight. It wasn't a planned failure, it was simply a failure to plan. Nobody had ever given much thought to what to do with a country after "liberation." It was almost clockwork the way it spiraled into chaos, hate, and resistance. And you could watch Powell accept his part in the painful opera playing out on the world stage, shrinking in stature and resolve.
Like a good soldier he had stood, with conviction, in front of the United Nations and declared Iraq had developed, stockpiled and was ready to distribute dangerous amounts of the notorious Weapons of Mass Destruction. Like a good soldier he never winced, or cried out loud when he realized he had been fed a pile of elaborate deception.
And like a good soldier he watched without complaint as the situation deteriorated until the contempt and loathing for America had become a palpable entity in Iraq. He knew, better than most, we had taken a country and turned it into a laboratory to nurture, train and enthuse terrorists. and he knew he had a hand in its creation. He watched without public complaint as his career was destroyed by the ambitions of those above him.
Now, I watch Sean Spicer. Watch as he speaks with strength about America defending its interest in the South China Sea. American interests seem to be some islands that China actually built in the sea. Knowing full well this will inflame virulent opposition in China. Knowing China is our largest trading partner, and the world's second largest economy. When pressed for details I hear him say, "I think, as we develop further, we’ll have more information on it." Yes, Mr. Spicer that has always worked so well. Maybe we can impose a naval blockade from over 8,000 miles away.
Then, we hear Sean Spicer talk about how President Trump would be willing to work with Russia in bombing ISIS. Despite the fact the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act forbids most contact with the Russian military “until Russia has ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization." What about American interests there, Mr. Spicer?
And what if we do work out a deal with the Russians to bomb ISIS. The lessons of Afghanistan, our war, and the Soviet Union's, the painful lessons of Iraq, the never ending lessons of Israel in Palestine all serve to prove that bombing extremists accomplish nothing of lasting value. The amount of dead terrorists means nothing, changes nothing. We spend a lot of money on bombs, lose a few planes, kill some innocent civilians in the process, unavoidable when bombing an enemy entrenched in a civilian population, (and also serves as a fine recruiting tool for the terrorists), and we still have ISIS, or whatever they call themselves next.
I wonder how much it takes to get a man to sell out, with Colin Powell it is easy to think he really believed what he said, he was willing to gamble his long, glorious career. But, what about Sean Spicer? What is gambling? I'm afraid the gamble is huge, and no matter who wins America will pay the fee, just like we did for the people who sent Powell into an early and shameful retirement.