Scowcroft spanks the younger George


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Geraldine Sealey
October 14, 2004 6:08PM (UTC)

Former Bush 41 national security adviser and family friend Brent Scowcroft isn't doing Bush Junior any favors this week. First he provided the Democrats with perfect ammunition against Bush's attack on John Kerry for a comment that terrorism could someday be reduced to a "nuisance." Republicans said this proved Kerry just didn't get the terror threat or how to handle it -- that this is a war, goshdarnit, and not something you can just "manage" like diabetes. But it turns out Scowcroft has a very Kerry-like philosophy about terrorism. Here's Scowcroft, courtesy of Daily Kos: "Can we win the war on terrorism? Yes, I think we can, in the sense that we can win the war on organized crime. There is going to be no peace treaty on the battleship Missouri in the war on terrorism, but we can break its back so that it is only a horrible nuisance and not a paralyzing influence on our societies."

And now, in a Financial Times interview, Scowcroft criticizes Bush's unilateralism; says he is "mesmerized" by Ariel Sharon, which Scowcroft considers folly; and says that Bush's recent cooperation with the U.N. and NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq is a desperate move to "rescue a failing venture." Bush's "unilateralist" stance had damaged America's bond with Europe, Scowcroft said. "It's in general bad," he said. "It's not really hostile but there's an edge to it."

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Scowcroft was never a fan of the Iraq war and warned Bush against rushing into it. Scowcroft has long said the war in Iraq was a diversion from the fight against global terrorism. But Scowcroft's willingness to publicly criticize the younger Bush within three weeks of the election is striking. "Sharon just has him wrapped around his little finger," Scowcroft told the FT. "I think the president is mesmerized."

And this next quote is tough; Scowcroft is essentially saying the president's policies have been shaped by his political ambition. "This is a man who's really driven to seek re-election and done a lot of things with that in mind," he said. "I have something of a hunch that the second administration will be quite different from the first."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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