February 13, 2003


I'm Persuaded (Mary McGrory, February 6, 2003, Washington Post)
Of course, Bush chose Powell to make the case before the United Nations. He has no one else who so commands the country's respect -- or the world's.

Powell took his seat in the United Nations and put his shoulder to the wheel. He was to talk for almost an hour and a half. His voice was strong and unwavering. He made his case without histrionics of any kind, with no verbal embellishments. He aired his tapes of conversations between Iraqi army officers who might well be supposed to be concealing toxic materials or enterprises.

He talked of the mobile factories concealed in trains and trucks that move along roads and rails while manufacturing biological agents. I was struck by their ingenuity and the insistence on manufacturing agents that cause diseases such as gangrene, plague, cholera, camelpox and hemorrhagic fever.

Would Saddam Hussein use them? He already has, against his own people and Iranians. He has produced four tons of deadly VX: "A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes." The cumulative effect was stunning. I was reminded of the day long ago when John Dean, a White House toady, unloaded on Richard Nixon and you could see the dismay written on Republican faces that knew impeachment was inevitable.

I wasn't so sure about the al Qaeda connection. But I had heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought. I'm not ready for war yet. But Colin Powell has convinced me that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason.

Shield Us From War (Mary McGrory, February 13, 2003, Washington Post)
The pope, God bless him, has the right idea. He has sent a cardinal, his personal emissary, to Baghdad.

He is Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, and he is carrying a message to Saddam Hussein. May his eminence make a lengthy stay. And when he returns to Rome, the other 170 members of the College of Cardinals -- some of whom might welcome a chance to do good -- should follow him, one by one, to Iraq.

It is a papal variation on a theme composed by "Old Europe": wimpy, out-of-it Germany and France, which want to flood Baghdad with visitors whom the faith-based, hellbent White House hawk will dare not bomb. [...]

These measures may not cancel the bloody enterprise that consumes the White House. They may only delay it, and not for long. But everyone needs a respite from the encircling apprehension and dread. Beginning with the president, all should take a deep breath and reassess. Colin Powell is working overtime to close the loop on Iraq's ties to al Qaeda. In his masterly U.N. speech he made the case against Saddam Hussein, but not the case for war.

Anybody know a good personal injury attorney: these columnists are causing an epidemic of whiplash in their readers. We're thinking class-action suit.... Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2003 8:49 AM

Shield us from Mary McGrory.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 13, 2003 9:01 AM

The pope, God bless him, has the right idea

Yeah, I'm sure she's just Ms Magisterium.

Posted by: Brian (MN) at February 13, 2003 11:43 AM

Yeah, like Pius XII.

I'd say fewer cardinals would be a net gain, so if collateral damage includes a stray cardinal or so, I can stand it.

Posted by: Harry at February 13, 2003 1:03 PM

Aside from the whiplash, I believe Cardinal Etchegaray was also dispatched to speak with Yasser Arafat about the conclusion of the siege at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Posted by: Kevin at February 13, 2003 1:18 PM


In all seriousness, I don't see why you would have whiplash.

Her first column most emphatically did NOT say that she now agreed on war. She simply said that she found Colin Powell to be the sort of person she WOULD trust, if she had to trust anyone in this Administration.

Personally, I found that part of her first column the most bizarre. Powell said very little that was new, other than the photos. So far as I can tell, Mary just hates Dubya/Rumsfeld as messengers, and dismisses their message as a result. But she likes Powell, so she'll listen to him more.

But she was not convinced. And now, after a week to think about it, she's still of the opinion that war is bad, and hopes that we can somehow avoid it, even if it is by human shields. (I wonder if she thought that British tyke, back in '90, was serving the cause of peace, when Saddam broadcast him on his knee?)

Nothin' to see here, IMO.

Posted by: Dean at February 13, 2003 5:04 PM

Dean: In the first she says he made the case for war, even if she's not ready for it yet. In the second she says the case hasn't been made.

Posted by: oj at February 14, 2003 1:03 PM