Colin Powell’s declaration of support for Barack Obama prompted some commentators to note the irony of a candidate who owes his party’s nomination in great measure to his opposition to the invasion of Iraq receiving his most important endorsement from the man who made the fraudulent case for war to the United Nations Security Council.
If Powell was a reluctant supporter of the Bush administration’s adventure in Iraq, the same can’t be said for Obama’s latest groupie from the right – Ken Adelman, a former sidekick of Donald Rumsfeld and one of the noisiest neo-conservative voices in support of the war.
Along with many of the war’s early cheerleaders, Adelman jumped ship when things started to go wrong, telling Vanity Fair last year:
“I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional.”
Adelman sang a different tune in April 2003, crowing in the Washington Post that analysts who warned that thousands of US troops could be killed in a war in Iraq had been shown to be wrong.
“Now is not an occasion for gloating,” he gloated.
“But now is an occasion for pride, and for thanks to our fighting men and women and those leading them. My confidence 14 months ago sprang from having worked for Don Rumsfeld three times – knowing he would fashion a most creative and detailed war plan – and from knowing Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz well for many years.”
Now Adelman is clambering aboard the Obama caravan, telling George Packer in the New Yorker that the Democrat has the right temperament to be president.
“When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird,” Adelman wrote in an email to Packer.
”Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I’ve concluded that that’s no way a president can act under pressure.”
Adelman identified McCain’s pick of Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate as the trigger for his decision to back a candidate who opposes everything the neo-conservative movement stood for:
“That decision showed appalling lack of judgment. Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office – I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency. But that selection contradicted McCain’s main two, and best two, themes for his campaign – Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick.”