THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

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IN SERIOUS SITUATIONS THERE IS NO ROOM FOR GAMES | 2003-04-12

This year Iraqis watched while we went to the United Nations and played that pathetic game with them. They watched while we courted Cameroon's UN vote while letting our diplomacy with Turkey lapse. They watched while our soldiers later ended up floating around outside Istanbul.

South Iraq hated Saddam, but they weren't about to rise up against Saddam when the son of the wimp Bush Senior, who had just spent months being a wimp himself, sent troops in.

This all happened because Colin Powell wanted to appease the liberals. To appease Powell Bush Junior went the UN route while opposition grew.

Colin Powell represents both blacks and liberals, so the Bush Administration had to humor him. Powell keeps demanding that Bush abandon conservative blacks and deal only with liberal black "leaders."

This was the moderate "balancing act" that made us fight in the first Iraqi War and ask the Shiites and Kurds to rebel and then abandon them. Bush Senior appeased the conservatives by fighting, then he appeased the liberals by pulling out, as practically the entire Democratic Party demanded.

I wonder why no blacks trust Bush!

Moderation in our domestic affairs is a disaster. Bush Senior went from 90% approval in 1991 to defeat in the election the very next year. But we survive moderation because we don't have a Saddam in power.

We all know that America will always play this "balancing act" game. That means Saddam's crowd, which does not play games like that, will probably be back. And, unlike conservatives who keep dribbling back into the "balancing act", Saddam's crowd has a memory.