I seem to be a bit caught up in the Colin Powell saga. Ah, well. Go with it. Brett brought to my attention the upcoming GQ story on Colin Powell, somewhat cleverly titled “Casualty of War,” written by Wil Hylton. There are moments in this article that perfectly describe my mental picture of the White House. For instance: met with Condoleezza Rice in her office at the White House, a bright and white and airy room that looked like a wedding cake turned inside out, where Rice sat prim and pretty beneath an Impressionist painting in a black business suit and bright red lipstick, smiling politely as she lied through her teeth about the war between the State Department and the Pentagon, as though no such conflict could possibly exist, not in her immaculate White House.
I completely think of Condi Rice as the poster girl for Put Out a Good Image and Everything Will Be Fine. If anything, the Woodward book has made me wonder how exactly she’s getting her job done in between the moments where she’s just trying to put a good face on things (isn’t there a communications department for that?).
Next: the chasm that has emerged between State and Defense over the past three years is wider than it has been at any point in recent history, a division that transcends anything remotely healthy or useful. It is no longer just a difference of strategy and logistics but of fundamental values, principles, and philosophy.
Scary. Scary scary scary, but also not so scary. The best thing I can say here is, at least the State Department didn’t go along for the take-over-the-world-while-we-can ride.
And: When he first came into office—and remember that this was back in the old world, a time of prosperity and peace, of surplus and security, before Donald Rumsfeld moved into your TV and the neocons ran off with policy, before the president had a foreign policy, back when Powell was still the great and solitary behemoth of the administration
Remember those days? “Before the president had a foreign policy.” Am I the only one that thinks there’s a possibility he still doesn’t have much of a foreign policy beyond that charming “you’re either with us, or against us” line?
Just for laughs, this is Colin Powell speaking: “And so the brand-new Spanish foreign minister, who is now one of my best girlfriends, Ana, calls me…”
And for laughs of pain, here’s Powell’s chief-of-staff, Larry Wilkerson: “It’s politically incorrect for me to say so,” he added, “but when all you use is a stick, you’re not going to get very far.”
Isn’t it nice to know that someone within throwing distance of the President thinks that? Now, please, just SAY IT LOUDER.