Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Colin Powell’s Education

Here is Hadley Arkes’ way of welcoming Powell back into the fold, and suggesting to the president what he should do in the State of Union Address. Not only thoughtful, but, typical for Hadley, clever and amusing. Here are the first two paragraphs:

"Colin Powell had put himself through one of the priciest ventures in adult education as he was sandbagged last
week by the French, and discovered that his scheme of working through the United Nations was not only a
path leading nowhere, but a path leading off course. By working through the U.N., the administration made the
media and the public suggestible to the notion that the problem hinged on the elusive matter of "inspections" and
disarmament. But the problem is the regime itself in Iraq and its deep involvement in the network of terror aimed at
the United States. And by seeking a coalition, a multilateral project, Powell helped to build the sentiment, now
ascending in the polls, that we may not defend our own country without the endorsement of the U.N., with its
collection of exotic despotisms, and so-called "allies" who have nursed an hostility to us.

It is about time then to deliver the Sam Spade version of the State of the Union Address as it
bears on Iraq. Or at least a variant on the version done by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese
Falcon. It was not a gesture merely of machismo when Bogart said to Mary Astor (in a
paraphrase) that when your partner is killed, you’re expected to do something about. It
doesn’t matter, he went on, whether you particularly like him or not; you’re expected to do
something about it."

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