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November 29, 2007

America's Next Top National Security Advisor

Back in the fall of 2002, I saw something written by Lee Feinstein about how we had to hold Iraq accountable for its terrifying WMD. Why? Because to do otherwise would irrevocably weaken the UN. Oh noes!!!

I recognized Feinstein from the Clinton administration, and sent him email listing dozens and dozens of serious violations of UN resolutions by the US and our allies. I asked him if he were aware of this, and how he thought people in other countries would perceive his current fervor for the sanctity of UN edicts.

Feinstein seemed genuinely taken aback. He said something like, "I never thought of it like that."

I assume that, since then, he's continued not thinking of it like that. Because he's probably going to be National Security Advisor in the Hillary Clinton administration:

"A lot of Obama's advisers thought this was a stupid war in 2002, and a lot of Hillary's advisers thought it was a good idea in 2002," said one Democrat with a national security résumé. "That's the original sin which causes people to make some choices."

"The campaign's advisers reflect a broad spectrum of opinion within the Democratic Party," countered Clinton national security guru Lee Feinstein...

Another Foreign Affairs essay, co-written in 2004 by Feinstein, is also drawing scrutiny. It argues Bush's controversial doctrine of "preemptive" war - attacking an enemy before it attacks the U.S. - "does not go far enough."

Feinstein, a former Defense and State department official, supported ousting Saddam in 2003 and believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Since then he has championed the concept of a "duty to prevent," which justifies preemptive strikes. He said the U.S. should try to build coalitions, but that it can attack without allies' support.

It's safe to say that all this massive violating of international law will be done because it is crucial that we strengthen international law.

Posted at November 29, 2007 01:42 PM

preemptive war...preventive war...
Why do otherwise educated, experienced officials, journalists and academics misuse these terms, frequently using the term preemptive to describe the preventive? Honest mistake? Willful dissembling? Invincible ignorance? Preventive exculpation? Someone should tell them many out here know the difference and find the smell repulsive.

Posted by: Pvt. Keepout at November 29, 2007 03:29 PM

"I never thought of it like that." Of course not. When you come from the Michael Cohen school of foreign policy, thinking stops at inherently good.

Posted by: racrecir at November 29, 2007 03:57 PM

Do they really believe this stuff?

Posted by: at November 29, 2007 04:07 PM

Feinstein never thought of it like that because of American Exceptionalism. The US is special, don't you know. Many of us probably know someone who seems to believe that the normal rules of decorum don't apply to her/him. The 'exceptional' Americans who do the national thinking have the same problem on a grand scale, which includes using the military (now being expanded) as the primary force of foreign policy.

Posted by: Don Bacon at November 29, 2007 04:22 PM

Yeah, I'm tired of having wars for oil. Let's have some wars for humanitarian reasons instead. And, when we get tired of that, we can go back to having wars for oil.

And, slightly off-topic, has anyone done a rewrite of the Monty Python "Spam" sketch with "Spam" replaced by "war"? Because that's how I'm going to feel next November:

Wife: Have you got anything without war?

Waitress:Well, there's war egg sausage and war, that's not got much war in it.

Wife: I don't want ANY war!

Man: Why can't she have egg bacon war and sausage?

Wife: THAT'S got war in it!

Man: Hasn't got as much war in it as war egg sausage and war, has it?

Posted by: SteveB at November 29, 2007 04:23 PM

I don't believe in doctrines, there are no doctrines. They just do the maximum of whatever they think they can get away with. Just because they can, or they think they can.

There's only one way to stop it - a whole bunch of them needs to be tried and hanged. Or at a minimum disgraced and run out of town like Nixon.

Posted by: abb1 at November 29, 2007 04:36 PM

Is it Fein-stein (as in "mine") or Fein-stein (as in "teen")?
If the Bush doctrine of "preemtive war doesn't go far enough," how far would Fein-stein/steen go?
Isn't foreign policy fun?

Posted by: donescobar at November 29, 2007 05:01 PM

It's just the same old GREED AND STUPIDITY, nothing new. The neighbors have something (gold, oil, land ,cheap labor{slaves}, soon--food,) someone else wants and so moves to take it instead of trade for it. GREED AND STUPIDITY dance arm in arm so even if YOU are 'intellegent and clever', if YOU GET GREEDY, YOU GET STUPID too. It's a package deal 2-4-1.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 29, 2007 05:01 PM

You see, your problem here is in thinking of "international law" meaning something like "the set of laws mutually agreed upon by sovereign states", rather than its actual meaning, "the compliance of other nations with US demands".

Posted by: Doctorb Science at November 29, 2007 08:02 PM

There are only two serious anti-war candidates: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Clinton and Obama are both AIPAC puppets, and there isn't another Republican worthy of the name.

Posted by: Ally Kendall at November 29, 2007 08:15 PM

from the 2004 Foreign Affairs piece:
"In the name of protecting state sovereignty, international law traditionally prohibited states from intervening in one another's affairs, with military force or otherwise. But members of the human rights and humanitarian protection communities came to realize that, in light of the humanitarian catastrophes of the 1990s, from famine to genocide to ethnic cleansing, those principles will not do."

Or, we're not doing this for power and profit--the bleeding heart liberals are demanding it!

This piece was co-written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the Woodrow Wilson School dean who has written a new book: The Idea That Is America, that we have to 'get back' to the fine values that built America. It was at the Wilson School, by the way, that HRC gave her "all options on the table in Iran" speech. What a small world.

Posted by: Don Bacon at November 29, 2007 08:27 PM

Mike, you forgot.. water without staggering amounts of mercury and other heavy metals

Posted by: almostinfamous at November 29, 2007 09:30 PM

I was going to mention water too and got sidetracked. Rumsfeld, in referring to Iraq's natural resources, never mentioned oil without mentioning water. What did he have in mind? Who knows. The Tigris and Euphrates are two huge rivers that originate in Turkey and issue at the Persian Gulf. Turkey is building dams, the Euphrates goes through Syria--many issues.

Posted by: Don Bacon at November 29, 2007 09:39 PM

Will Marshall said it best:

The challenge for you don't-question-my-patriotism clowns, then, is neither to blindly support nor reflexively oppose preemption. It is to articulate your own case for preemption, one that is grounded in your own tradition of bleeding-hearted dependency promotion and that allays any lingering public doubts about your willingness to confront those who threaten our country, our friends, and your right to hate America as much as I love it.

Posted by: racrecir at November 29, 2007 09:48 PM

abb1 states There's only one way to stop it - a whole bunch of them needs to be tried and hanged.

I disagree, for two reasons.

1) Instead of a hanging, I would prefer a firing squad, with all the trimmings - Marines in dress uniforms to do the actual shooting, a fly-over by a fighter jet aerobatic team, the Army Band performing the Doors' song "The Unknown Soldier", Peter Paul & Mary with "Blowin' in the Wind", and as a finale Mr. Zimmerman himself in a duet with Cate Blanchett, singing "Masters of War."

2)But seriously, folks, instead of an execution, I would prefer life in prison for those convicted of treason, mass murder, etc. As an idealistic youth, I thought that the government should not kill people unless it's necessary. Though no longer young, and somewhat less optimistic (in the Gramscian sense of "pessimism of the intellect", though I attempt to practice the "optimism of the will" that Gramsci also advocates) I find myself thinking that I was right the first time.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at November 30, 2007 10:56 AM


Did you see that Feinstein has a piece on HuffPo today?

Posted by: darrelplant at November 30, 2007 03:59 PM

I think (hope) WE ARE ALL in agreement on one point, THEY NEED TO BE TRIED. I, for one, am willing to accept the JURY'S findings but would DEMAND the SAME JURY to determine punishment.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 30, 2007 04:09 PM