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December 15, 2003
Alterman: Dazed and Confused

Eric Alterman seems to have a lot of trouble with reality these days. Over at Altercation, he speculates on the "real" cause of the war in Iraq:

I wonder if we went to war in part the way we did because Powell was too sick to mount a fight and did not have the courage to resign. It’s just a hypothesis, but you know, the course of the early Cold War had a great deal to do with FDR’s various secret maladies. Just a thought….

Well, yes, it's just a thought, but it's a stupid, malicious thought, and not terribly well-connected, either. FDR was President, and so the "secret malady" theory at least has some sense to it. (If you're not familiar with this quasi-conspiracy meme, FDR was dying while he negotiated with Churchill and Stalin regarding postwar Europe and seriously dropped the ball due to failing stamina and intellect. This makes perfect sense if you think Churchill was an idiotic lap dog to Roosevelt, although Churchill does state in his memoirs that Roosevelt was not the same in the last year of the war.)

Powell is Secretary of State and not President; if anything, you could argue that his sickness kept him from forcing the French to honor their word to him and quit backing homicidal tyrants, but the plain fact is that nothing short of Jesus Christ was going to separate Chirac from Saddam, and even that's just a maybe. Their work together goes back over 30 years. And prostate cancer, while serious, is hardly debilitating. And since the option then was to either confront Saddam militarily or shrug off the containment policy altogether -- we waited 12 years for compliance, after all -- Powell could hardly have been surprised by the action that was taken, nor do I think he disapproved of it.

Besides, Alterman apparently likes to keep nutcase company, as he states in the same paragraph:

I asked [fomer ambassador] Joe [Wilson] why Powell had turned out to be such a wimp—failing to use any of his prized credibility to put the breaks on his lying colleagues, and instead telling all those falsehoods at the UN and convincing a boatload of gullible reporters of a whole mess of stuff that just ain’t so. Wilson—whose speech repeatedly termed the members of the administration to be “fu**cking assholes and thugs” said he had no idea.

So the basis of Alterman's "malady" theory is that Joe Wilson had no idea why Powell was a wimp, in Alterman's estimation. Besides the obvious defects of relying on Wilson's intellect for such a diagnosis, doesn't there appear to be a large leap in logic between "Powell didn't act like I wanted him to" and "Powell must be too sick to defy the President"? (via Instapundit)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 15, 2003 3:08 PM

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