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Scowcroft Speaks Out In New Yorker

"... How do the neocons bring democracy to Iraq? You invade, you threaten and pressure, you evangelize." And now, Scowcroft said, America is suffering from the consequences of that brand of revolutionary utopianism. "This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism," he said.

Washington (UPI) Oct 24, 2005
The following are extracts from former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft comments in the article "Breaking Ranks: What Turned Brent Scowcroft Against the Bush Administration?" by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Oct. 31 edition of The New Yorker which was on published Monday

Scowcroft, 80, the former national security advisor and close friend of President George W. Bush;s father, president George W. Bush told the New Yorker it would have been no problem for America's military to reach Baghdad. The problems would have arisen when the Army entered the Iraqi capital.

"... At the minimum, we'd be an occupier in a hostile land," he said. "Our forces would be sniped at by guerrillas, and, once we were there, how would we get out? What would be the rationale for leaving? I don't like the term 'exit strategy' -- but what do you do with Iraq once you own it?"

"... This is exactly where we are now," he said of Iraq, with no apparent satisfaction. "We own it. And we can't let go. We're getting sniped at. Now, will we win? I think there's a fair chance we'll win. But look at the cost."

"... I'm not a pacifist," he said. "I believe in the use of force. But there has to be a good reason for using force. And you have to know when to stop using force." Scowcroft does not believe that the promotion of American-style democracy abroad is a sufficiently good reason to use force, the New Yorker said.

"I thought we ought to make it our duty to help make the world friendlier for the growth of liberal regimes," he said. "You encourage democracy over time, with assistance, and aid, the traditional way. Not how the neocons do it."

"... How do the neocons bring democracy to Iraq? You invade, you threaten and pressure, you evangelize." And now, Scowcroft said, America is suffering from the consequences of that brand of revolutionary utopianism. "This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism," he said.

"... There may have come a time when we would have needed to take Saddam out," he told the New Yorker. "But he wasn't really a threat. His Army was weak, and the country hadn't recovered from sanctions."

"... The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney," Scowcroft said. "I consider Cheney a good friend -- I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

He went on, "I don't think Dick Cheney is a neocon, but allied to the core of neocons is that bunch who thought we made a mistake in the first Gulf War, that we should have finished the job. There was another bunch who were traumatized by 9/11, and who thought, 'The world's going to hell and we've got to show we're not going to take this, and we've got to respond, and Afghanistan is O.K., but it's not sufficient.'"

When the New Yorker asked Scowcroft if the current President George W. Bush son was different from his father, the first President Bush, Scowcroft said, "I don't want to go there," but his dissatisfaction with the son's agenda could not have been clearer, the New Yorker said. Goldberg wrote, "When I asked him to name issues on which he agrees with the younger Bush, he said, "Afghanistan." He paused for twelve seconds. Finally, he said, "I think we're doing well on Europe," and left it at that."

Scowcroft told the magazine that nearly two years ago he had a "terrible fight" with his protege, current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, over U.S. policy on Israel and the Palestinians.

"We were having dinner just when Sharon said he was going to pull out of Gaza," at the end of 2003. "She said, 'At least there's some good news,' and I said, 'That's terrible news.' She said, 'What do you mean?' And I said that for Sharon this is not the first move, this is the last move. He's getting out of Gaza because he can't sustain eight thousand settlers with half his Army protecting them. Then, when he's out, he will have an Israel that he can control and a Palestinian state atomized enough that it can't be a problem." Scowcroft added, "We had a terrible fight on that."

They also argued about Iraq, he told the New Yorker. "She says we're going to democratize Iraq, and I said, 'Condi, you're not going to democratize Iraq,' and she said, 'You know, you're just stuck in the old days,' and she comes back to this thing that we've tolerated an autocratic Middle East for fifty years and so on and so forth," he said. Then a barely perceptible note of satisfaction entered his voice, and he said, "But we've had fifty years of peace."

Scowcroft told the magazine he was unmoved by the stirrings of democracy movements in the Middle East.

Scowcroft said of former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, one of the driving forces for the 2003 Iraq war, "He's got a utopia out there. We're going to transform the Middle East, and then there won't be war anymore. He can make them democratic. He is a tough-minded idealist, but where he is truly an idealist is that he brushes away questions, says, 'It won't happen,' whereas I would say, 'It's likely to happen and therefore you can't take the chance.' Paul's idealism sweeps away doubts."

Scowcroft told the New Yorker he was concerned about Wolfowitz's unwillingness to contemplate bad outcomes. "What the realist fears is the consequences of idealism," he said. "The reason I part with the neocons is that I don't think in any reasonable time frame the objective of democratizing the Middle East can be successful. If you can do it, fine, but I don't think you can, and in the process of trying to do it you can make the Middle East a lot worse." He added, "I'm a realist in the sense that I'm a cynic about human nature." Related Links
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Commentary: Dumb, But Smart Feith
Washington (UPI) Oct 24, 2005
What has Douglas Feith, the former No. 3 at the Pentagon, done to deserve so many high-ranking public hoots of derision? First he was lampooned by Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of both the 2001 Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom in 2003. "The stupidest guy on the face of the earth," Franks was quoted as saying.







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