Yesterday, President Bush devoted his radio address to the situation in Iraq. Zbigniew Brzezinski responded on behalf of the Democrats, opining that the war has been conducted with “tactical and strategic incompetence.” Brzezinski added that “patriotism and love of country does (sic) not demand endless sacrifice on the part of our troops in a war justified by slogans.”
I haven’t found a transcript of his statement so I don’t know what, if anything, Brzezinski said about what tactics or strategies we should have used in the past, or what we should do differently going forward. It sounds like he opposes “endless sacrifice” but what amount of sacrifice does he consider appropriate for a war “justified only by slogans?” The Democrats lost the last election partly because John Kerry was incoherent on the war. How do Brzezinski’s statements advance the ball?
But there are several more pressing questions. First, where does Brzezinski, the top foreign policy adviser during the harrowing Carter years, get the nerve to accuse anyone of incompetence? Carter/Brzezinski presided over our greatest setback ever in the Middle East, the rise of a fundamentalist Islamic regime in Iran, which they basically invited by signaling their lack of support for Shah knowing that his strongest enemies were fundamentalist clerics. They also presided over and basically invited a Communist takeover in Nicaragua. Under Brzezinski’s tutelage, Carter was shocked, betrayed, and unprepared when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. And who can forget what may be the worst piece of incompetence the U.S. has been associated with in its modern history, the failed rescue attempt of our hostages in Teheran?
The second question flows from the first: can’t the Democrats find someone more credible and contemporary than Brzezinski to deliver their address on a subject as vital as Iraq? Some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters suggest that she could fill the void that has plagued the Democrats since 9/11 by providing tough-minded, non-squeamish leadership in the war on terrorism. This view is plausible, though not necessarily correct. But even if it is correct, the party’s reliance on Brzezinski tends to confirm that a second President Clinton wouldn’t be able to staff her administration with tough-minded, non-squeamish foreign policy officials.
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