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Ear to the Ground

Godspeed, Colin Powell

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Posted on May 25, 2009
colin powell
Flickr / U.S. Dept. of State

“I am still a Republican,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell declared Sunday.

In the latest attempt at figuring out how to give the GOP the makeover of a lifetime, former Secretary of State Colin Powell gave his version of the Grand Reform on “Face the Nation” Sunday. Criticizing the “diktats” of the far right and their “shrill” and “judgmental” tone, he spoke of broadening the base to win people back. As usual, Karl Rove readily fired back.

The New York Times:

Colin L. Powell challenged Dick Cheney on the legacy of the Bush administration and the future of the Republican Party on Sunday, declaring that Republicans should not bow to “diktats that come from the right wing.”

The remarks by Mr. Powell, a former secretary of state, amounted to a public rebuttal of Mr. Cheney, the former vice president, and Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio commentator, who have questioned Mr. Powell’s Republican credentials and suggested that he should leave the party.

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By Folktruther, May 27, 2009 at 1:09 am Link to this comment

Vurginia doesn’t believe in Santy Claus and I don’t either.  Powell took the fake Bushite story, knowing it was fake, to the UN to tell the whole world, sealing the US invasion of Iraq.  Godspeed, my ass.

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By ardee, May 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Rosa, May 26 at 1:16 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I like that Powell doesn’t seem to have political aspirations beyond acting as a watchdog.

He contemplated a run at the White House and his wife put her foot down! She was sure he’d be assassinated.

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By Virginia from Virginia, May 26, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It was obvious to everyone on earth that the Bu$hies were manufacturing “info.”, up until our attack on those innocent Iraqis, about the threat from Iraq.  So Powell had excuses for why he believed the Bush*t immediately prior to his U.N. nonsense???  Hey Powell!  Consider the source!  After being fed a pack of lies all through 2002 and early 2003, suddenly the lies seem plausible, so Powell OKs being the conduit for those latest lies???  Shouldn’t Powell have been dubious about truth emmanating from this pack of story-tellers?  Suddenly, truth rears its head from these war-mongers?
I think not.  I don’t buy Powell’s excuses and his exoneration of himself.  He was either looking for and excuse to spread the lies or he is stupid!


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By Rosa, May 26, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As entertaining as it is to watch Republicans cannibalize eachother, at some point they have to get their ish together. Here is a great video about this:
I like that Powell doesn’t seem to have political aspirations beyond acting as a watchdog.

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By skmacksk, May 26, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

Thank you for the great post,and indispensable link, a must read for anyone interested in the career of General Powell.
Best regards

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By don knutsen, May 26, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Powell certainly has his apologists. Though I do commend his pushing back at Cheney’s recent rhetoric, he’s spent all of his career playing the “good soldier” role, which included being a prime voice-box for this war built on bull-shit delivered us by the administration he was a major player in. If he had screwed up the courage to do whats right, to resist this war and to ultimately resign over it before it took place trhen maybe he could have influenced a few more of the brain-washed, goose-stepping repub.s in congress. But he didn’t, and now, years after the fact, as he tries to resurect his own reputation he’s taking pains to finally distance himself dfrom the likes of Cheney. Where the hell was he when we needed him ? The truth is he and Codi Rice were two of the biggest liars in the run-up to Cheney’s war in Iraq and they have no more credibility now then they deserve.

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By G. Watson, May 26, 2009 at 1:48 am Link to this comment
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Colin Powell’s dedication to his Country was never under question until Darth Cheney and Mr. Cyst Limbaugh decided to attack him. Cheney’s SIX deferments and Rush’s Polliodial
Cysts paint these two as ‘Chicken Hawks… men to afraid to risk their own necks but more than willing to sacrifice their neighbor’s babies to save themselves.
Creepy guys, these two. I would give neither of them a job as a carnival barker in front of a traveling Brothel.

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By MarthaA, May 25, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Powell hated to give that speech, but was pushed into it and tried to ascertain for himself that the statements were confirmed fact that George Tenet would stand behind, when he requested Tenet be behind him as he loyally gave the prepared speech as requested in representation of President George W. Bush andthe Bush administration.  After all, Colin Powell is a General accustomed to obeying presidential orders as is the Secretary of State.  General Colin Powell only reported what the President of the United States and the CIA were standing behind closely at that time; but now they’re trying to distance themselves and use Colin Powell as their scapegoat.

People of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION should be more concerned about identifying and voting the corporate led CONSERVATIVE/MODERATE DLC NEW CLASS democrats out of the Democratic Party than worrying about Colin Powell, who became a victim of CONSERVATIVE RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN EXTREMISTS; because without the CONSERVATIVE DLC NEW CLASS the CONSERVATIVE RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN EXTREMISTS would never have been able to accomplish their plan.

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By ib42, May 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

Troubling that Powell lied about wmd to the UN and us. No gun was held to his head, and he had the choice to be truthful, but didn’t.
He is still a remarkably sensible man, and if he ever lives down this smear on his career, he just might be what the repugnicans need to be credible again.

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By Rob, May 25, 2009 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Powell endorsed ultra liberal Obama on the basis of Obama’s ethnicity.  At the time, he declared Obama to be a man who could become one of our very greatest presidents.  The day that Powell made that endorsement and declaration he left the republican party and became a democrat inasmuch as Specter did.  My suggestion to Powell now would be to stop speaking of himself as a moderate republican and lofting the RNC ways the republican party can restore itself and instead offer the liberal democratic base that’s in power a retired general’s insights into how the democratic party can be all that it can be by adopting Powell’s “moderate” republican beliefs.  I betcha Pelosi, Reid, Obama, and DNC chairman are holding their breath waiting to implement the general’s keen insights on moderation.

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By ardee, May 25, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Powell is a figure about whom I am conflicted. He was, as a military man, best known as a “water walker”, one who upsets no apple carts and achieves promotion by remaining firmly on the fence.

Despite his appearance of honesty he refused to carry out the bidding of General Westmoreland in investigating the My Lai massacre, instead attempting to sweep it all under the rug.

In the words of fellow Bronxite Ray McGovern:

Powell knew he was welcome into the club, or in this case the White House, only as long as he toed the line and was willing to offer up what was left of his reputation to the Bush/Cheney war effort.

True, in one brief spurt of behind-the-scenes assertiveness, Powell insisted that arch-prevaricator (and former CIA director) George Tenet sit behind him during Powell’s unforgettable/unforgivable speech at the UN on Feb. 5, 2003.

Could he have been so unaware as to think this might somehow shame the shameless Tenet into coming clean with the intelligence?

No way; and he knew it. Powell had already confided to then-British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that the case against Iraq was what in the Bronx we call a “crock.”

I know Powell. In the early 1980s, when he wore but one star as military assistant to the Secretary of Defense - and I was a CIA intelligence briefer - I used to do him the courtesy of pre-briefing him, to the extent I could, on what I was about to discuss during my early-morning one-on-ones with his boss, Casper Weinberger. I found Powell to be anything but naïve.

He and I had a good bit in common - growing up at about the same time a mile from each other in the Bronx, “Distinguished Military Graduates” commissioned via Army R.O.T.C. - he from City College in 1958, I from Fordham in 1961.

Initially, I was blissfully unaware of the many times he had compromised himself - in doing Weinberger’s bidding on Iran-Contra, for example. And so in 1989, I took a certain pride by association when Powell made it to the very top as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

That pride dissipated quickly as I watched Powell bend to those who were bent on launching a war of aggression on Iraq. Republican elder statesman James Baker, who was secretary of state under George H.W. Bush, has referred to Powell as the one person who could have stopped that war. Baker is right.

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By AWM, May 25, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

In Canada we have several parties however only two ever get to hold the reins of government for several reasons
1)The msm discredits any party or candidate who doesn’t kowtow to the ruling elite
2)The my family has always voted for this party syndrome
3)some people will only vote for a party they think can win which is why I feel that opinion poll results should not be released during an election

Having more parties isn’t the answer in fact taking part in the political process alone will not work at this point only civil disobedience will work. It was people taking to the streets that led to the new deal in the 30’s not politicians choosing to do the right thing for the people they did it because they felt that if they didn’t the outcome for the ruling class would be much worse

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By MarthaA, May 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

There is NO WAY to make the REPUBLICAN PARTY not be led by its CONSERVATIVE BASE; it will always be led by the CONSERVATIVES.  REPUBLICANS can call themselves moderates and they can call themselves liberals, and they can put out liberal rhetoric, IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER, [A CONSERVATIVE by any other name is still a CONSERVATIVE.] because, when it comes time to vote and the chips are down, ALL REPUBLICANS VOTE LOCK-STEP CONSERVATIVE RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST, as does the Republicans-Lite NEW CLASS DLC infesting the political left-wing of the political spectrum in our nation.

CONSERVATIVES can call themselves CENTRISTS all they want because it doesn’t mean anything.  Moderates are Centrists, and one can only be either a Left-Wing Centrist or a Right-Wing Centrist, as there are NO OTHER CENTRISTS. When the supposed Centrist/Moderates of the DLC-NEW CLASS on the Left keep voting CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST, then you know that a rose by any other name is still a rose. 

It is time to have more institutionalized political parties than TWO, as there is no chance of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION making a dynamically beneficial decision for the betterment of our nation politically, when the political choices for the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION are only two, prearranged to go along with THE PARTY, the fascist DLC NEW CLASS duopoly that’s ONE with the CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN RIGHT-WING EXTREMISTS.

Unless a NEW political party is institutionalized, voting a supposed 3rd party that isn’t institutionalized only insures our inability to be able to clean up the Democratic Party that has been infested by the right.

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By P. T., May 25, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

Getting people to vote for you when you tell them they do not have a right to something such as health care is increasingly difficult.  The Republican Party is at a dead end.

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By AWM, May 25, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

If the republicans consider McCain a moderate then they are in more trouble than they think.He championed virtually all of Bush’s policies and voted for them almost every time.
And as for Powells UN performance I have to ask did he lie or was he lied to
not knowing the answer I have to take my default position on the truthfulness of politicians and assume the former

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By G.Anderson, May 25, 2009 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

I do have some sympathy fof Colin, clearly he was used by the right, as the front man in a con job.

Unfortunately he’s barking up the wrong tree.

Reforming the Republican party is like trying to put a Tie on a Tyranosaures Rex, and invighting it to a dinner party, where your the guest of honor.

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By boggs, May 25, 2009 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

Why does everyone have such a reverance for Colin Powell after we all watched him sit in front of the United Nations and lie about centifuges that help take us into Iraq?
Charm and inteligence should not trump credibility.

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