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By Bill Gallagher

"Where we should not use force we have to be wise enough to exercise restraint." -- General Colin Powell, 1992, now Secretary of State.
"We need a common enemy to unite us." -- Condoleezza Rice, 2000, now National Security Adviser.

DETROIT -- George W. should can Colin and Condi and do it right now! They have failed the president, the nation and humanity and firing the two would help restore some fragment of respect and credibility for the United States around the world.

The Secretary of State and the National Security Adviser are the worst combo we've had since Henry Kissinger effectively held both positions with alternating titles.

Let's face it, the president's never going to say he goofed. He's got to blame others.

It's easy. Just call up Dick Cheney. He'll do it. When the president sacked his economic team, the tough-talking Texan didn't have the guts to tell them to their faces. Too personal. He'd have to explain why without someone else writing the words. No TelePrompTer. Not prudent.

Bush gave Cheney a call. He carried out the executions, and arrived only half an hour late for a Republican fund-raiser. It's easy.

George W. gave the word to boot Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey after two years of continuing economic malaise the president's policies did nothing to improve.

Let's look at the record: The stock market tanks, unemployment is high, consumer confidence is down and even inflation is a worry, hitting a 13 year high.

So good-bye, O'Neill and Lindsey. George W. is not going to take the rap for that dismal record. The economy continues to sputter, but no matter, Bush has a new economic team and the nation is given the appearance of change.

However bad the economic picture is, it can't rival the international and national security mess we're now in. The policy substance must change, but why not bounce a couple of big names to get things started.

The rush to war with Iraq is an historic diplomatic disaster for the United States, and Colin Powell, once viewed as the voice of reason and restraint in the bellicose Bush administration, must bear much of the responsibility for that failure.

Powell, along Condoleezza Rice, is the face of an administration advocating the abomination of launching a preemptive military attack on Iraq.

Powell's presentation at the UN got high marks at home, where the politically correct American media have been on a dutiful propaganda blitzkrieg, but nearly everywhere else it was a monumental flop.

Powell's shrill, stretched and unconvincing argument that Saddam Hussein is an agent for bin Laden won't sell, simply because it makes no sense and the evidence is beyond convoluted.

Of course, most of those who cheered Powell's UN speech were totally unaware the British Intelligence service report he cited to support many of his claims against Saddam was based on a plagiarized term paper using information 12 years old.

The British admit this. The embarrassed State Department says essentially, "So what? Saddam's a bad guy anyhow."

Powell's been trying to bully anyone who dares to challenge his assertions. The Canadians, NATO, the Europeans, the Turks, just any ally that doesn't do just what Powell wants gets a tongue-lashing at least. In the case of the Turks, we'll just pay them. The coalition of the willing has become the coalition of the bought-off.

Powell's methods are an international joke and not working at all.

Even Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, who supports military action against Iraq, says the Bush administration's high-handedness and failure to talk with allies is just plain bungling. "The Bush folks are big on attitude, weak on strategy and terrible at diplomacy."

The sage of the Senate, its longest-serving member, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) sees the moves of Bush and Powell causing long-term damage.

In a remarkable speech on the Senate floor, Byrd told the truth. "In only the space of two short years, this reckless and arrogant administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous consequences for years. ... This administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling international order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling and name-calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders, and which will have consequences for years. ... Frankly, many of the pronouncements made by this administration are outrageous."

That indictment alone should get Powell sacked, but there is another, more personal reason, that should usher his departure. Colin Powell has trashed the doctrine that bears his name.

Shortly after Gulf War One, Powell wrote a paper in "Foreign Affairs'" about the principles of when to go war. "Follow these directions and you can't go wrong," Powell confidently noted, hoping he had come up with a way of avoiding "another Vietnam." He posed six questions that all must be answered affirmatively before going to war.

Let's try the Powell Doctrine on Gulf War Two.

  1. Is a vital U.S. interest at stake?
    Hell, no! Saddam is a regional threat at best and he hasn't even bothered his neighbors in more than a decade.
    Whatever weapons of mass destruction he does have don't come close to what North Korea has and is threatening to use.
  2. Will we commit sufficient resources to win?
    Hell, yes! We'll use every smart and not-so-smart bomb we have to rain terror in the sky over Iraq. We'll use a Dresden-like air campaign of horror that will result in thousands of civilian casualties.
  3. Are our objectives clearly defined?
    Hell, no! Let's see. We want regime change. We want to take out Saddam. We want to disarm Iraq. We want to weed out al-Qaeda. We want to bring democracy to Iraq. We want to protect vital oil interests. We want the war to be a catalyst for peace in the Middle East, etc. I could come up with about 10 more, but you get the point.
  4. Will we sustain the commitment?
    Hell, no! When American casualties top 100 and body bags and ashes start arriving home, we'll wrap things up in a hurry.
    With a military draft or the death of one child of a member of Congress, we'll be singing, good-bye commitment.
  5. Is there a reasonable expectation that the public and Congress will support the operations?
    Hell, no! Public support is marginal at best, and the cowards in Congress will jump ship when anything other than "War Lite" occurs or the polls show Bush's numbers plunging even farther.
  6. Have we exhausted our other options?
    A resounding hell, no! The public doesn't believe that, nor does NATO, nor the pope, nor any reasonable person who wants UN inspectors to complete their work and then allow the international community to plan the next diplomatic step.

So, tested on his own doctrine, Powell misses on five out of six. Keep the doctrine. Dump Powell.

Condoleezza Rice was a warmonger long before Powell and her views have substantially shaped the Bush doctrine of worldwide intervention. She is a classic staff opportunist who gets a quick sense of what the boss wants and skillfully manipulates the facts and arguments to fit the desires he simply can't articulate.

Her real expertise is Russian and old Soviet affairs, and she comes from academia, on leave from her post as a dean at Stanford University. She insists on being addressed as Dr. Rice. I'm always leery about people who use their academic titles and degrees in nonacademic settings. It's pretentious at best. (Think: Kissinger, Strangelove, Goebbels, Paisley and Elia.)

Rice has come up with the notion that once the United States topples Saddam and "liberates" Iraq, the violence will help spread democracy, human rights and enlightenment throughout the world, but especially in the Middle East. I can't imagine how many bowls of Lebanese hashish you'd have to smoke to think like Dr. Rice.

She has an obsession for shoes, owning hundreds, perhaps thousands of pairs, and shops for them like Imelda Marcos on speed. Maybe Dr. Rice slipped from her expensive high heels and bumped her head.

British foreign correspondent Eric Margolis thinks Rice's plan to use war to plant the seeds of democracy is absurd. "One hopes her preposterous assertion is simply part of the administration's propaganda buildup before invading oil-rich Iraq."

Condi does know oil, though. She, like so many high in the Bush administration, sees government service and prior and/or subsequent work for worldwide oil interests as a seamless garment.

Between her years of service to Bush I and Bush II, Rice was a director for Chevron Oil, one of the biggest importers of Saudi oil.

For her faithful and loyal service to the company, Chevron named a huge oil tanker the "Condoleezza Rice." (Embarrassed, they quickly changed the name when Rice returned to the White House.)

You don't need an advanced degree to know the greatest national security threat the United States faces is from Islamist Wahhabis, bred, fostered and financed in Saudi Arabia.

Never has Dr. Rice ever uttered a public word critical of the Saudis, not a word about their culpability for bin Laden, al-Qaeda and their continued financing of hate schools where more terrorists are trained to kill Americans.

Critics of the Saudis don't get oil tankers named for them.

Condi and Colin not only have sins of commission -- the messes they've made of their vital duties -- they've committed grave sins of omission as well.

They stand beside a president and attorney general who have mounted the greatest assault on constitutional protections and basic civil and individual rights in our nation's history.

Cherished human liberties that wars, including the Civil, were fought over are now being trampled on in the name of the protecting us from terror.

During these relentless and unfinished attacks on the Bill of Rights, the post-Civil War 14th Amendment to the Constitution and other fundamental freedoms, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice have not offered a peep of protest. I wonder what Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would say about them?

Powell and Rice should leave public service together in disgrace.

Our republic would be better off without them, and history will judge them for what they are: People who advocated an unjust war and threatened justice everywhere in the process.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@aol.com.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com February 25 2003