Hewitt vs Odom

It's a priceless interview as you hear one empty gas-bag of ideology slowly deflating. General Odom does not fully convince me that swift and total withdrawal from Iraq is in our best interests, but as time goes by and the evidence mounts up, I find him far more plausible than I did a year or two years ago. And this is a riposte I wish I'd come up with when I was subjected to Hewitt's bad-faith questioning:

Why do you keep asking me a question that I'm giving you an answer to?

Heh. It takes time to realize who is interviewing you. There's a sickening moment when Hewitt tries to accuse Odom to his face of being the modern equivalent of Neville Chamberlain. But Odom's candor throughout is immensely refreshing and Hewitt deserves props for allowing him to win the argument. This interaction was particularly revealing, I thought. It's about the consequences of withdrawal:

HH: Did you predict or see coming the Cambodian holocaust after our withdrawal from Southeast Asia?

WO: That would have happened if we'd stayed.

HH: But did you predict it?

WO: We didn't ... we were not in Cambodia.

HH: But did you ...

WO: We [helped] perpetrate that.

HH: Did you or anyone you work with at the time see it coming? Did you see the reeducation camps in Vietnam?

WO: No, we didn't. I wasn't focused on that then. I was focused on Vietnam.

HH: And what about the reeducation camps and the boat people?

WO: Well, what about them?

HH: Did we foresee that? Did anyone sit down ...

WO: Well, we said that things much worse than that were going to happen.

HH: John Kerry, when he testified before the Senate, actually thought it would be a couple of thousand people that would be…

WO: Well, I'm not John Kerry, and I don't ... I'm not defending John Kerry’s position. I’m saying the big scare in Southeast Asia was that there will be a whole group of countries that became pro-Soviet bloc, and pro-Chinese. Well, two more went communist, but they were not pro-Chinese. We were pursuing a war to contain China, the Soviet policy had become containing China. We were presenting a half a million U.S. troops in pursuit of Soviet foreign policy objectives. Right now, we are pursuing al Qaeda and Iranian foreign policy objectives in Iraq.

Ouch.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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