Terms for War
Monday April 26, 2004
If, by the middle of May, when the British Foreign Secretary is visiting the United States I am back in front of a microphone... I said "if"...then I look forward, eagerly, to interviewing him. His is not as familiar a name as his United States counterpart, Colin Powell is of much higher visibility on this side of the Atlantic than Jack Straw.
The Secretary of State and the Foreign Secretary working on behalf of President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair respectively, appear to have much in common when it comes to their attitude towards the war in Iraq.
What a strange situation where the two top diplomats were working together in the hope of dissuading their respective bosses. It appears that as late as the middle of January 2003, the ex-General was telling not just Jack Straw but also other foreign colleagues that, "I have a war to stop."
In the case of Jack Straw he risked his career in supporting Tony Blair. Powell, whose mission appeared to be to avoid war, impressed many people with his forceful case for going to war before the United Nations on February 5th. He was ever the good soldier.
There was a recent New York Times editorial impelled by Woodward's book that took the Sec. of State to task for not resigning to support his opposition to the president who gave him the cabinet post. I would think that his staying in the office would be something that he considered his duty and necessary; it being more effective to be on the inside. Remember, this was the man who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs during Bush senior's administration and who had had doubts about the earlier war against Iraq.
I had the good fortune to have an hour-long conversation with Gen. Powell when he served the 41st. President. A most impressive man.
Now I look forward to speaking with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom who appears to be as principled an individual as his US counterpart.
Question number one? "Sir, during the long run-up to the war you and Powell, the top two diplomats in each government, were apparently working together in an attempt to the scuttle your respective bosses determination to go to war. Why?"
Or how about, "Mr. Secretary, why would you risk your career for a cause in which you did not believe?"
I should ask, "Have events proven your prior convictions to have been correct?"
"Foreign Secretary, some people in this country have depicted the Spaniards as taking a cowardly route out of involvement in the war. Is that an accurate assessment, or simply a reflection of what polls show, 80-90% of the Spanish population believing, from the start; that they should not be fighting this war?"
"Has this war progressed as you might have anticipated."
Who knows, I might get the chance to conduct such an interview, and if I do there'll be so many other questions. The best ones usually come about by listening carefully to the answer to the previous one.
Then I would relish the opportunity to meet again with the General who has far more military experience than the entire Bush cabinet combined.