ABC News’ Political Punch blog notes that Samantha Power—the Pulitzer-winning Harvard professor booted from the Barack Obama campaign in March for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster”—has re-emerged as a member of the president-elect’s transition team. Power is listed as a member of PEBO’s “agency review team” on national security. Surprisingly, Power is said to be focused on the State Department—where Sen. Clinton will likely soon take the helm.
Power has made her career writing about the politics of genocide. To her credit, in a March 5, 2007 LA Times op-ed she called out both those (such as McCain) who used the danger of post-withdrawal genocide to justify an indefinite US occupation as well as myopic anti-war activists who deny the threat (or reality) of a genocidal civil war in Iraq:
Although critics of withdrawal do a masterful job of painting a grim picture of the apocalypse that awaits, they offer no account of how US forces in Iraq will do more than preserve a status quo that is already deteriorating into wholesale ethnic cleansing…. What is needed to stave off even greater carnage than we see today is neither assuming massacres won’t happen nor suspending thought until the surge has demonstrably failed in six months — at which point other options may no longer be viable. Rather, we must announce our intention to depart and use the intervening months to prioritize civilian protection by pursuing a bold set of measures combining political pressure, humanitarian relocation and judicial deterrence.
Of course, the conventional wisdom is that “surge” “worked,” but we say that’s bunk.
However, Power has also got her own extremely dangerous double standards. As we noted in some of the unpleasant bickering with Bosnia/Rwanda genocide-deniers on this blog, her best-selling book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide views the problem entirely as one of US failure to act against genocide in places such as Bosnia and Rwanda. Genocides which have been carried out with US connivance or direction in places such as Guatemala and Colombia are completely invisible to her.
We noted Power in our analysis last year of neocons and “pragmatists” in the Obama camp. While Power is not strictly speaking a neocon (as her more realistic Iraq comments demonstrate), we have to view her appointment as a neocon tilt, as she shares the neocons’ interventionist assumptions.
See our last post on the pragmatist-neocon wars.