It’s not nice to hit people when they’re down, but in the case of mortgage-scandal implicated Richard Holbrooke, maybe we should make an exception. Holbrooke, who’s been angling to become secretary of state in a new Democratic administration, once again reveals that by temperament he is less diplomat and more partisan hack. In Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, toward the end of what to that point was a most readable review of Michael Dobbs new book on the Cuban missile crisis, he tacks on this, totally, utterly gratuitously:
It is hard to read this book without thinking about what would have happened if the current administration had faced such a situation — real weapons of mass destruction only 90 miles from Florida; the Pentagon urging “surgical” air attacks followed by an invasion; threatening letters from the leader of a real superpower and senators calling the president “weak” just weeks before a midterm Congressional election.
Life does not offer us a chance to play out alternative history, but it is not unreasonable to assume that the team that invaded Iraq would have attacked Cuba. And if Dobbs is right, Cuba and the Soviet Union would have fought back, perhaps launching some of the missiles already in place. One can only conclude that our nation was extremely fortunate to have had John F. Kennedy as president in October 1962.
Not only are the two situations utterly not comparable, but Holbrooke isn’t even curious enough to wonder why, if say they were comparable, it took JFK no more than two weeks to resolve the crisis whereas Bush spent a year and a half just getting ready to move against Saddam Hussein.