Jeffrey LewisMilbank on Hadley

I dunno, maybe it was the orange hunting vest. Or his comparison of the ex-parrot and the ex-candidate.

But I think Dana Milbank, particularly in his columns for Washington Sketch, is the funniest, most insightful chronicler of the tribes of the Potomac. I don’t think Washington has had a columnist like Milbank since Frank Carpenter left the Cleveland Leader in 1888, save perhaps for Dr. Thompson’s brilliant but unsustainable run in ’72.

Anyway, I was wondering what to write about Steve Hadley’s speech on weapons o’ mass destruction and the Proliferation Security Initiative. But Milbank did a much better job than I can, particularly his summary of the prose:

But Hadley parried this reality with his characteristically deft blend of the bland. He treated the diplomats to platitudes (“during the Cold War, nuclear weapons dominated our national security perspective”). He entertained them with jargon (“non-state actors are active on both ends of the supply chain”). And he numbed them with his desiccated prose. He began by listing six nonproliferation priorities, then begged the audience’s indulgence to “let me go through these one at a time.” But after plodding through these (“second, dismantle the facilitation networks”), he arrived at point No. 6 only to reveal that this point had a three-point subset. He then moved on to a four-point summary of actions to be taken.

The whole thing is worth a read.


  1. hass (History)

    North Korean nuclear papers challenge CIA assertions

    A U.S. official acknowledged that the records don’t show a pre-1992 North Korea program to produce plutonium…One State Department official said that an order had gone out not to discuss their contents.

    (sorry if reposted- your comments aren’t working)

  2. blowback (History)

    Yet more humbug from Stephen Hadley.

    Abdul Qadeer Khan disowns his confession. In an interview in the Guardian he claims that his “confession” came from Musharraf.

    The Americans presented to the whole world the proof against Iraq. And you know what it was. And now about Iran, and so it goes on. It’s unbelievable that Bush and Colin Powell and Dick Cheney and Condolleezza Rice are bringing lies, lies, lies, bringing photos and false documents … it can happen everywhere.

    After Scott McClellan’s revelations of how Bush (Louis XIII) and Cheney (Cardinal Richelieu) lied to the American public, how anyone can believe anything that these people say is beyond me.

    Playing on the public’s justified fears of nuclear weapons and their proliferation provides a good excuse for intervention in any country the US chooses, the only problem is that according to A Q Khan the West are the worse proliferators.

    “It is by my order and for the good of the state that the bearer has done what has been done.”

  3. J House (History)

    Here we go again…
    The notion that Bush/Cheney ‘lied’ to the US public is another bit of nonsense.
    Of course Bush/Cheney ‘sold’ the war to the public…politicians are by definition, salesmen (and women).
    In sales, you must create a sense of urgency to close the deal.
    That is EXACTLY what they did…is it their fault that the US Congress, US public and UN ‘bought it’?
    The US stated policy position in the previous administration was ‘regime change’ in Iraq. Post 9/11, Bush/Cheney simply executed on it.
    Not one shred of evidence has ever been produced, inside or outside the USIC, that proves Saddam didn’t have a WMD production capability or possession of WMD (C or B) prior to the onset of conflict.
    Furthermore, there is zero proof Bush or Cheney obtained this information and acted improperly with it.
    It simply didn’t exist.
    Did they selectively use portions of the entire body of intel to make their case? No question, but that is what politicians do on nearly every domestic or foreign policy decision they promote.
    Of course, what these critics don’t like are their methods and the outcomes.
    Sometimes, costly as it is, hard power works.
    I never believed Saddam was an imminent threat to US national security, and Bush/Cheney never claimed he was, although their language was bellicose in the lead up to war. What a suprise.
    It is all hindsight to discuss the threat of Saddam’s Iraq in the 21st century, but I can assure you, he wouldn’t have sat idle as Iran continued on this path towards nuclear weapons.
    That is an even more dangerous world we don’t have to worry about any more.
    Let us all remember the US went to war in Europe in 1999 for far less obvious national security concerns.
    Serbia was not an imminent threat to the US. A war was not breaking out in the Balkans at the time and no sovereign country was invaded by Serbia.
    Far fewer people suffered Serbia’s aggressions than Iraqis under Saddam.
    One could easily debate the matter of genocide could apply to Saddam as was applied to Milosevich as justification for war.
    Had we lost over 4000 lives in Serbia in a ground war, perhaps we would not have invaded Iraq.
    I am sure if we would not have lost over 3000 lives in under 90 minutes on 9/11, we would have not invaded Iraq.
    Interestingly, the President said in a state of the union speech he would not leave gathering threats to become the responsibility of future presidents, yet that is exactly what he has done with the Iranian problem, as well as the AQ high command.

  4. donsyob (History)

    You’re all wrong House. You don’t sell a war based on a false bill of goods, and you don’t break china if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. You can’t tell me just because these mongrels think that they can run the country like Enron or Halliburton and sell a war like the slimiest snake oil salesman, that we should sit down and take it. That’s complete crap. And besides the 3000+4000 American dead from 9/11 and Iraq, you completely ignore the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that lost their lives, which is kind of telling on your perspective. I never bought this war and I am not for continuing to fund their bankrupt and inept foreign policy. Lying about WMDs to go stomping around the middle east like the clueless bastards they are was not the correct solution to Saddam’s regime and is certainly not the way to any lasting peace, and Hadley continues to push fear and hate as answers to foreign policy. You can’t build a country with a house (or deck) of cards. For these reasons amongst many others we have to kick these bums out and create coherent policy again, not least in arms control.