Friday, May 12, 2006


The president threw out the first ball in Cincinnati and the vice president threw out the first ball in Washington D.C. Could this signal that the Bush Administration is in their last throws?

Originally published in Chicago Tribune Web Blog, April 18, 2006.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Two distinguished American statesmen addressed the UN on matters of possible war forty-one years apart. The contrast between their performance and its outcome could not have been more different.

In 1962, Adlai E. Stevensen, our UN Ambassador, electrified the UN and the world by presenting dozens of crystal clear photos proving Russian installation of nuclear missile sites in Cuba. Stevensen bypassed diplomatic courtesy after asking the Russian UN ambassador to confirm or deny Russian involvement by stating, "Don't wait for the translation, answer the question, are you installing these missiles in Cuba?" Having caught the Russian flatfooted, Stevenson responded to the Russian's silence by proclaiming, "I'm prepared to wait until Hell freezes over for your answer. " At that moment, Russian credibility collapsed, paving the way to a successful settlement. Stevenson's words are as powerful today as they were in 1962 for those of us who heard them live.

In January, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN on Iraq's WMD programs and the need for immediate action to disarm Iraq. Three years later not a single word is memorable, nor true based on what we have learned. What is memorable are the cartoon drawings of WMD mobile laboratories Powell displayed purporting to prove Iraq's WMD program. At that moment, Ambassador Stevenson must have turned over in his grave. What is truly sad about Powell's performance is that, with his charisma and credibility, it arguably gave the final push which legitimized the unnecessary and disastrous Iraq War.

These two performances before the UN will long be analyzed by historians. But the verdict is already coming in: Secretary Powell, you are no Adlai E. Stevenson.

Originally published in Daily Herald, May 30, 2006