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Gary Hart

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General Comments on the ISG Report, entire page
January 10, 2007, 11:40 am

At a time when America produced somewhat larger gauge leaders, a report of this consequence might have been produced by a combination of Robert Lovett, Averill Harriman, George Kennan, and John J. McCloy, or by George Marshall alone with his typewriter. Either way, it would have had a longer shelf-life than 48 hours. But, of course, in those days journalism itself was larger gauge.

It is apparent that this is less a prescription for managing retreat from a failed imperial overreach than a very consequential foreign policy taffy-pull between a neoconservative cabal now largely in retreat or hiding and re-emergent traditional “realists.”
Given Mr. Bush’s obvious unwillingness to abandon his effort to impose theological idealism on the Middle East (“victory” over the forces of evil) in favor of grubby reality (cutting our losses), this report has already become an historic anachronism to be pondered by future generations of international relations dissertation writers.

The constitutional time bomb at the center of this bizarre departure from mainstream American foreign policy is the dangerous theory of the “unitary presidency.” Once 9.11 gave Mr. Bush the opportunity to declare “war on terrorism,” this theory automatically triggered itself into an executive branch run amok, a presidency conducted without regard to Congress’s Article I powers, judicial review, oversight, accountability, or checks and balances.
It causes one to wonder whether the first casualty in war is the truth or whether it is the U.S. Constitution.

Gary Hart