Despite Media Coverage to the Contrary, Rummy and Unilateralism Aren't the Rage
One Harris Poll that came out last week should send a warning flare to Bush and the Project for a New American Century cabal, namely Rummy.
Over the last few weeks, the media have reported a series of alleged disagreements about Iraq between Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. A new Harris Poll strongly suggests that, if this split becomes more serious and the public chooses sides, the majority, and probably a large majority, would side with Colin Powell and the State Department against Don Rumsfeld and the Pentagon.
When the public is asked who they would trust more if Powell and Rumsfeld disagree on U.S. policy on rebuilding Iraq, a 54% majority favors Colin Powell and only 8% say they would trust Donald Rumsfeld more. However, this still leaves 23% who have no preference for one or the other, and 15% who are not sure. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents all favor Powell, and relatively few would support Rumsfeld.
This is not just a question of personalities. Fully 80% of the public thinks it is important to involve a broad coalition of different countries, in addition to the United States and Britain, in rebuilding Iraq and 51% think this is very important. Only 14% thinks this is not important.
While the preference is much less marked, a 49% plurality would also prefer the United Nations to take the lead in rebuilding Iraq as compared to 38% who think that the United States should take the lead. However, on this question the parties divide sharply. A 65% majority of the Republicans favor a U.S.-led operation, while 65% of Democrats and most Independents want the U.N. to lead.
It is clear from these findings that not only does the public have much more trust in Powell than in Rumsfeld, they also tend to prefer the more multilateral approach favored by the State Department than the more unilateral approach favored by the Pentagon.
By the way, did you hear any of our media cover this rather striking story? If you were to read the polls that are reported by cable news, you would believe that Bush’s Iraq policies and the PNAC agenda are significantly popular with voters. Yet when you burrow down and find a fresh poll like this which indicates that we haven’t become a country of Neanderthals after all, you don’t hear about it.
It can be assumed that Rove digested this poll almost immediately. You also know that the PNAC cabal knows from reading this poll how dangerous Colin Powell is to them.
No wonder Rummy was in such a foul mood on the way back from the Middle East last weekend. Not only was he answering questions about why his hand-picked buffoon Jay Garner was being demoted and replaced by a Foggy Bottom Reagan-era Iraq know-nothing, but I'm sure someone told him about this too.
Condi? Condi? Walk away from those mirrors. The boys may need your skills again soon.