those who do not learn the lessons of history shall be doomed to rewrite it.
house columnist richard cohen, writing three years ago in the washington post on the appearance of then-secretary of state colin powell before the united nations to present evidence of saddam hussein's secret weapons program:
the evidence he presented to the united nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. only a fool — or possibly a frenchman — could conclude otherwise.
... but the case powell laid out regarding chemical and biological weapons was so strong — so convincing — it hardly mattered that nukes may be years away, and thank god for that. in effect, he was telling the french and the russians what could happen — what would happen — if the united nations did not do what it said it would and hold saddam hussein accountable for, in effect, being saddam hussein.
... if anyone had any doubt, powell proved that [iraq] has defied international law — not to mention international norms concerning human rights — and virtually dared the united nations to put up or shut up. there is no other hand. there is no choice.
— "a winning hand for powell", february 6, 2003
cohen today, (re)writing on the third anniversary of the invasion:
colin powell, you may recall, soiled his stellar reputation with a united nations speech that is now just plain sad to read. almost none of it is true.
... whatever bush's specific reason or reasons, the one thing that's so far missing from the record is proof of him looking for a genuine way out of war instead of looking for a way to get it started. bush wanted war. he just didn't want the war he got.
— "bush wanted war", march 30, 2006
i guess cohen didn't want the war he got either. so what of his reputation? (all right, to be honest, it was never "stellar".)
it is of course always a good thing each day a war pundit joins the rest of us in the so-called "reality-based community". but the one thing that's so far missing from the record is proof of his mea culpa.