Mr. Powell’s endorsement exposed a fundamental policy rift in the Republican party’s foreign-policy establishment between the so-called pragmatists, a number of whom have come to view the Iraq war or its execution as a mistake, and the neoconservatives , a competing camp whose thinking dominated President Bush’s first term and played a pivotal role in building the case for war.NYT
Mr. Powell, who is of the pragmatist camp and has been critical of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war, was said by friends in recent months to be disturbed by some of the neoconservatives who have surrounded Mr. McCain as foreign-policy advisers in his presidential campaign. The McCain campaign’s top foreign-policy aide is Randy Scheunemann, who was a foreign-policy adviser to former Senators Trent Lott and Bob Dole and who has longtime ties to neoconservatives. In 2002, Mr. Scheunemann was a founder of the hawkish Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and was an enthusiastic supporter of Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi exile and Pentagon favorite who was viewed with suspicion and distaste at the State Department when Mr. Powell was its secretary.
Powell's endorsement should remind us all of the stakes in this election. A choice between tolerance or the promotion of division and fear, a choice between a continuation of the neocon's demented and cynical adventures, or a return to sanity in American foreign policy.