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What Will History Make of Colin Powell?

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Posted on Jul 11, 2009
Colin Powell
AP / J. Scott Applewhite

Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state, speaking on Capitol Hill in 2008.

By Stanley Kutler

(Page 2)

Perhaps McNamara believed a war might gild his reputation. His appetite was insatiable; he got his war, but he lost his reputation.

McNamara proved no stranger to shaving the truth and then offering a wholly different set of facts. The alleged Tonkin Gulf Incident in August 1964 provided a pretext for a greatly expanded American role in Vietnam. The National Security Agency initially reported an attack by North Vietnamese PT boats against American destroyers stationed in the gulf, often in the North’s territorial waters. But subsequent reports indicated that “incident” might have resulted from a combination of bad weather and nervous radar and sonar operators. McNamara ignored the second report, and President Johnson then portrayed the “incidents” as “deliberate attacks and open aggression on the high seas.”

Johnson ordered retaliatory airstrikes, and on Aug. 5 submitted a resolution to Congress authorizing him to take “all necessary measures to repel any armed attacks against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” Except for the very brave Sens. Wayne Morse, D-Ore, and Ernest Gruening, D-Alaska, Congress immediately folded and gave Johnson and McNamara their blank check.

McNamara did not testify truthfully to Sen. William Fulbright’s committee about the alleged attack in the gulf. Johnson headed off growing criticism of the war by enlarging it—just what he thought he needed to avoid Harry Truman’s burden of a limited war in Korea. Johnson also thought he would not be nagged by the question of “who lost Vietnam?”

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McNamara used the moment to implement his game plan for counterinsurgency. Eventually, he despaired of the ineffective bombing assault, and finally concluded there could be no American military solution. Johnson eased him out—and into the cushy sinecure of the presidency of the World Bank. McNamara’s beloved statistics no longer added up, and he realized the venture was doomed. But McNamara always found it difficult to grapple with the intractable fallacies underlying the war. It was no game of dominoes, he must have sadly learned. And he kept his silence about what was true for three decades, and more.

The blame McNamara deservedly receives now must also note that he was at the service of two of our very distinctive Cold Warriors, Kennedy and Johnson. McNamara could not absolve them for their decisions. Similarly, history must remember George W. Bush’s fateful decisions, enabled by Colin Powell (as nicely articulated by Michael Lind here).

McNamara remained unswervingly loyal to Kennedy and Johnson for over 30 years. Finally, toward the end of his life, he admitted the war was a mistake. Rather late, it seems. McNamara had planned, implemented and supported a war that was a total failure. The South Vietnam “domino” fell, but nothing changed geopolitically. There is no Republic of South Vietnam today; officially, there is no Saigon. Our failure must be measured in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and 58,000 American combatants. That is McNamara’s historical burden; that is the truth he never could fully acknowledge for it surely would poison the reputation he hoped that penance, and eventually redemption, might bring him. Truth is an elusive commodity for such people.

Powell and McNamara exemplify the ever-loyal, unquestioning subordinate. McNamara self-righteously invoked Dean Acheson’s quiet departure from the New Deal as his model, but Acheson’s silence did not assure a place at the World Bank for the Truman secretary of state. If McNamara had denounced the war, would it have made a difference? What if the popular Colin Powell had expended some of his political capital and denounced the dubious rationalization for war against Iraq? Perhaps their dramatic gestures would have been wasted. But Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox’s forceful stand against Nixon in October 1973 is instructive, showing that public resistance to a superior can make a difference.

Justice cannot always be served; but Lincoln reminded us that “we cannot escape history.”

Stanley Kutler is the author of “The Wars of Watergate” and other writings.


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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, July 23, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

Why do a few brown genes make one black in America or genes alone make a committed atheist Jewish? in the old South an octaroon was one eighth black, and they were still considered “colored.” Do we still consider someone black as long as there is just a “touch of the tar brush?” On America’s colonial plantations the house slaves were high-tone, closer to white, because they were the children of the whites and their personal servants, and these people naturally enough were more white in their thinking, loyalties, and actions more white than black. Sexually ambiguous males or the less physically robust ones who could not work well in the fields were kept close to the house and were taught to play music and dance. Exceptionally strong ones became skilled at sports. It is a rebuttal to those who think that America is well on its way to fully accepting blacks into the main stream to see these psudo-blacks like Michael Jackson, Colin Powell, and Barak Obama raised to high office instead of real black leaders. I am a white male Southerner with blue eyes and very fair skin, but I have spent time working alone in the field in Africa and Asia amid very poor people, photographing mine fields for the United Nations. I feel like I am really a lot more black than Barak Obama, who like me was raised primarily by a white woman and a white family. I feel like there are a lot of us white folks, those who really get the point of what white America and Europe still are doing to Africa and Asia, who are a lot more black in ways that count than these caricatures of house negroes like Colin Powell, Michael Jackson, and Barak Obama. When push comes to shove they will always sell their own people out to the white power structure..

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By Horatio Green, July 22, 2009 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America’s Betrayal (1)

A great number of Americans embrace war, more than it would take to make peace viable, even though many consider it as morally wrong and evil. They believe that history has dictated that we always have had war, and therefore we will always have war; a belief that war is necessary to protect us against evil. This misbelieve is one of the reasons, along with unbridled patriotism and nationalism, and unquestioning loyalty to our government, many Americans accept deception, misrepresentations, and will accept obvious and outright lies by America’s leadership on issues of war and peace.

When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences (2) by Eric Alterman is a good book that describes why and when American Presidents feel compelled to deceive. The fact is America’s Presidents and America’s congressional leadership, will use deception, misrepresentations, and lies that do put America at considerable risk, and Americans in positions where they will lose their lives. From George Washington to George W Bush, and particularly from folks like Robert McNamara, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell, they all have unacceptably caused the needless slaughter of countless millions of lives. The latter committed their betrayal of Americans out of their loyalty to the President.

(1)http://horatio1937.blogspot.com/2009/07/americas-betrayal_22.html

(2)http://www.thenation.com/doc/20041025/alterman/single

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By Raymond C, July 15, 2009 at 4:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Harry Belafonte , on the Larry King Live Show, not too long after 9/11, set the standard for what any informed person might think and say about Colon Powell and Condolisa Rice.

Interestingly enough, I don`t think he was ever invited back to The Larry King Live show. I would guess that wasn`t Larry`s decision (Larry is generally a fair man). It was probably a decision of Larry`s boss(es).

I have very little respect for Colon Powell, because he did not speak the truth and resign, but chose to do the dirty spade work for Bush and Cheney ..‘the two torqued power nuts ‘!

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By skmacksk, July 14, 2009 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

Thank you Mr. Kutler for your thought provoking post.I will comment on the career of Mr. Powell.
Colin Powell’s biography might well be titled ‘In Search of Bourgeois Respectability’ without any irony.His life was and is about his emancipation from his humble roots. That is the American Story, but in his case ,he surrendered his critical moral faculty to a thorough going,destructive, political conformity, wedded to a large ambition. Without doubt, talent,temperament and intelligence were also present.
A political leader must at some point take some risks, place a political wager on his ability, intuition and hope. And faith in his ability to inspire his constituency to follow his lead . Mr. Powell is a practiced conformist, it is his existential habit, and to expect anything else is to engage in wishful thinking.  His political timidity is a function of that conformity.
As an experienced military man he was fully aware of the human cost of war. Yet he buried his doubt and made the U.N. Speech. He could have resigned and made the public aware of his doubts, but unsurprisingly he chose to be an advocate for war. He squandered his moral/political capital and established himself, in the public mind, as just another spokesman for an unapologetic American hubris.
Perhaps Mr. Powell can still play a part in American politics. When the Republican Party tires of its self-destructive addiction to the No-Nothings, Mr. Powell could, very well, be the most attractive asset the Party has to offer, regardless of some unseemly political baggage.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 14, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Stanley Kutler uses a truncated quote of Omar Khayyam’s magnificent Rubaiyat. From the second Fitzgerald translation, 1868, stanza 76:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

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By Sepharad, July 13, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk, your July 12, 10:21 comment is very important. History is full of unpleasant surprises for people seeking to demonize members of any particular society or race or religion as being any more or less bloodthirsty than any other group of people. There is nothing but the conquest cycle, people seeking advantage for their own tribes or races or nations. What is remarkable because it is so exceptional is that at times, individuals found the moral courage to say “No, enough. That’s wrong.” Usually, when part of the human race does something right, it’s in their own self-interest.

For example, when the U.S. made slavery illegal in the northern states it was because their agricultural and mercantile (slave and rum trade) system changed to an industrialized society that needed neither slaves to function at home nor to fill their ships. Many states, such as Ohio, then made it illegal for free blacks to live within their borders. Alexander deToqueville was traveling in this country at that time and noted that the northern slaveholders and merchants were selling their slaves to the still primarily agricultural South. At the time he wondered how the South would dispose of its slaves as agricultural technology changed its economy.

Another example was the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Pizarro and 35 Spaniards were able to defeat the powerful Inca Empire because the Inca had enslaved all of the other smaller tribes in the Andes, nearly all of which gave the Spaniards information and aid, even fighting for them. In the Inca conquest of these tribes, they had found it useful to build stone huts filled with food and weapons and water at regular intervals along the Inca trail. These supply depots proved vital to the Spaniards. It still might have not worked, but luckily for the Spaniards they arrived in the Andes right in the middle of the Inca’s Civil War, and were able to play Atahualpa off against his brother to the north even after capturing Atahualpa.

Life’s changes are more complicated than they may seem at first glass.

That said, ardee was right to attribute Colin Powell’s legacy to the decisions he made throughout his life. He was ambitious, sometimes honorable, and at worst either was afraid to speak truth to power ... or simply didn’t know what the truth was. It will be a long time before we know what went on in his mind and behind the scenes. And still longer before we understand it completely.

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By BruSays, July 13, 2009 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

I think ardee said it very well:

“We are all of us, each and every one, faced with decisions in our lives. How we decide what path to walk determines our character and our legacy.

Powell chose his path and now he must live with the judgment.”

But I’ll add one thing. There are few things more sad and pathetic than this: Watching this man Powell attempt to defend the path he took by redrawing the map he used.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, July 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Rock said it best years ago:

“You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America’s Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn’t want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named ‘Bush’, ‘Dick’, and ‘Colon.’ Need I say more?

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By Sepharad, July 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, True, history often becomes a narrative (or conflicting narratives), but when it is interpreted “in the eye of the beholder” it becomes subjective and as such no longer history.

Historiography is a very, very demanding discipline. Even if adhered to faithfully, there is still some wiggle room in terms of which among zillions of available facts the historian chooses to include. Too many people who call themselves historians don’t even try to select facts in a way that will present the most complete, hence useful and fair, manner. The best historian of a given time and place is someone who, you might say, “doesn’t have a dog in that fight.”  Unfortunately, people often choose to write history in an area in which they have some interest to protect or emotional ties that leads to shaping rather than discovering a theory to enlarge on and support. (E.g., I would never try to write a history concerning the Middle East. I’m very comfortable, on the other hand, writing history concerning connections between Al Andalus’ Reconquista and the conquistadors of the New World.)

Ideally, journalism is contemporary history and should be approached the same way you approach writing good history. It’s harder, though, because there isn’t the emotional distance that passing time gives, there are myriad sources and information which the journalist hasn’t enough time to evaluate and weigh, and the old saw “only time will tell” is useless.

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By truedigger3, July 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

sepharad wrote:
“The day that history becomes a mirror for opinions from a wide range of perspectives rather than a mirror of reality at a given moment in time, is the day that democracy has lost its primary basis—the ability to make decisions based on a true understanding of the past.”
_________________________________________________

History, is a narrative and is in the eye of the beholder. That is the way it was, and the way it is all the times.
What history says depends largely on who writes it and what his agenda or personal opinions are.
Decisions are based on current facts and motives and not on measuring relative to historical events, especially, time changes things and prospects.

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By Sepharad, July 13, 2009 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

Most of the comments here answer the question “What is my personal opinion of Colin Powell?”

What history will make of Colin Powell is a different question. If we are lucky, history will describe him in the context of his times, record the influences brought to bear on Powell, what Powell himself said he was doing, and what Powell actually did. Some of it was good, some of it was bad, some of it will become clearer as more information becomes available.

The day that history becomes a mirror for opinions from a wide range of perspectives rather than a mirror of reality at a given moment in time, is the day that democracy has lost its primary basis—the ability to make decisions based on a true understanding of the past.

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By dihey, July 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

When General Powell gave his speech at the UN the copy of Picasso’s painting “Guernica” in that hall was deliberately covered on demand from the White House hence could not be seen. That is all you need to know about General Powell: “We reserve the right to ‘Guernicate’ Iraq”.

Today his successors, egged on by President Obama, reserve the right to ‘Guernicate’ Afghanistan. Is that not a million times more important to discuss than “what history will make of General Powell”?

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By Xntrk, July 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

For those who believe it is somehow racist to point out the Obama’s election does NOT mean the end of racism and the beginnings of a grand new world, I would like to recommend a couple of interesting sources of information as to what the Progressive/Left Wing Blacks are writing and talking about today. Their opinions of Obama and Colin Powell are rather less referential than those of the average White Progressive.

I have provided the link, followed by a paragraph from an article in the latest edition of each journal. If we truly want to understand the world we live in and what those around us are thinking, it behooves us to broaden our outreach to include those from other cultures. Talking to ourselves in the mirror isn’t discourse, it’s vanity.


http://www.blackcommentator.com/index.html

In the very name of “change” and “hope,” the masses of Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples inside the United States, and throughout the world, are once again the pawns and dupes of U.S. corporate / military greed and madness; this time under the Obama / Biden regime. Meanwhile, the U.S. lap dog corporate media continues to play its fifth column role to its corporate-government masters by doing all it can to continually anesthetize a dumbed-down U.S. public to the precipice of disaster upon which it sits.

http://www.blackagendareport.com:

As has been noted here at BAR many times, the political fortunes of black working class struggle and working class struggle as a whole are retarded by a continued mass reliance on different personality parades which are themselves a carryover from the politics of the white upper middle class mainstream. Face it, ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama isn’t anything but NYC’s David Dinkins writ large. (“They’ll take it from me”, Dinkins reassured NYC’s owners.) Obama’s politics are so reactionary they line up with those of the WW I-era Ivy league intellectual and imperial gangster Woodrow Wilson on many points, the issue of U.S. global hegemony first and foremost.

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By Folktruther, July 13, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

I think Xntrk’s point, Virgina, is that power delights in getting the oppression of a grouping done by memebers of the group.  The actual whippers of slaves were themselves slaves.  The oppression of Palestinians in Israel funded by the US are the Abbas group of Palestinians.  The workers in the death camps sending Jews to their deaths were themselves Jews.

Western elections are based on selecting the personality you like to implement the policies of the ruling class oppressing you.  And the point is not really to tell the truth to power-power is not interested in truth- but to tell the truth to the people to help rid them of oppressive power.

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By hearya, July 13, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

History must make mincemeat of his mousemeat.

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By Marc Schlee, July 13, 2009 at 6:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who?

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

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By Xntrk, July 13, 2009 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

Virginia777: We disagree. I personally think it is racist to assume or imply that ALL minorities, whether we are talking about Blacks, Indians, Women, or Wage Slaves; are always on the side of their companions in misery. There are finks, and rats, and weasels, and whores, in any group.

They are the ones who put a smile on there face and do as they are told in return for money and power - usually at the cost of pain and death for many others of their group.

Stereotypes are usually based on behaviors observed and categorized, not only by members of the White Power Structure, but by members of the racial group in question.

My Dad who was racist, btw, but educable, once commented he had never seen a “Mexican who wasn’t bent over working in the fields or asleep under a tree.” After taking a job driving bus loads of migrant workers from the Border towns in Texas to the beet fields in Colorado, He realized why that was true. He said he had never been so ashamed to be white as he was when he saw how these farm workers were treated along the way. And how hard they worked when they got to the job. He concluded they napped in the shade because they were too worn-out from working to even enjoy a break by sharing a cigarette and a story.

And even today, the coyotes who smuggle Migrants in thru Mexico are Mexican themselves. Selling out their brothers for the almighty dollar.

As I said, read your history. The stereotype of the ‘House Negro’ isn’t one created by the Master, it was based on the opinion of the poor bastards chained to the plough.

And I Am Eccentric. I have no idea what stereotype you are referring to when you put Gen in front of it.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, July 12, 2009 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

to Xntrk (is that Gen-Xntrk? I think so.)

it is racist to call ANYONE a “house negro”!

That IS NOT called “speaking truth to power”.

(!!)

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By LostHills, July 12, 2009 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Powell was a major salesman for an illegal and unjust war the he didn’t even believe in himself. History will jugge him for what he is: a whore.

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By hippie4ever, July 12, 2009 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

A warmonger who lied to the UN; a Secretary of State who betrayed country for neocon influence; a stunning waste of protoplasm.

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By beanT, July 12, 2009 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s those that can fool the greatest number of people that are the most capable of doing the greatest harm. Those with the greatest number of trendy superficial characteristics often fall into this category.

These people should be held accountable for their actions or at least fired and removed… certainly not given time on the sunday major network bobblehead shows.

All that matters is a man’s actions in the end.

Sure appreciated that history lesson!

beanT

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By Mark T, July 12, 2009 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I waited until comment #16 to see some mention of Mai Lai. Comments regarding racial background are inappropriate, so set that aside. Powell is a smart man who realized that the path to power was to serve power. He did a credibly good job covering up Mai Lai, and was rewarded with advancement and career.

Comes Bush II, and his role has not changed much. He’s still the man he was back in Vietnam, serving power.

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By Xntrk, July 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

Virginia 777: Object if you like, but it is not racist to point out that the major faces explaining the Empire to the US and the rest of the World, are Black. It is the truth. Just as it is true that the White Fascist Oligarchy has long hidden behind the faces of minorities when dealing with minorities, whether at home or in other countries.

The Spanish did it repeatedly in Latin America. They hired Black ‘Slave-Catchers’ to run down run-away slaves; and rewarded those same Slave-Catchers with papers declaring them ‘White’. Those grants allowed those Blacks to live like the White Spaniards rather than like a Person of Color, who was not allowed to ride a horse, or wear boots, among other symbols of superiority.

Custer had hired, Crow Indian Scouts’ working to run down Sitting Bull the Renegade Tribes who dared to challenge the supremacy of the US Army. To rub salt in the wound, the US then rewarded the Little Big Horn to the Crow Indians who were the scouts, rather than to the Winners, who were transformed into the losers.

Read your history. There is nothing insulting about speaking the truth to power. The insult is when we join in covering it up. Bribery is often subtle, but following the the fame and fortune trail usually works. Colin Powell would be an unknown Army Officer if he weren’t so good at making himself useful to his superiors. And, sure enough: the reward has been fame and fortune!

What a surprise…

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By Big B, July 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

Powell took an oath to promote protect and defend the constitution of the united states. He instead chose to promote protect and defend the most corrupt presidents is US history. For these transgressions he deserves to be ceremoniously stripped of his rank, flogged, and excecuted for his part in ignoring high treason.

Hey, he chose a career in the military. It should now end with the rolling of a single drum, and the dropping of a red hanky.

It has to be this way, or others will try these same transgressions in the future.

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By Virginia777, July 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

to Gulam:

I object to this racist terminology (name-calling) you are using to define Obama and Colin Powell:

“house negroes serving the war machine”

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By Virginia777, July 12, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

I would say the “dirty job of lying to the world about American Imperialism” has been awarded to (by lobbyists and special interests no doubt) our mainstream Press,

which has done a “smashing” job of it, for a long time now.

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By artie, July 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A corrupt, dishonest, despicable person; really a traitor.

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By Gulam, July 12, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

There is a cartoon by Dwayne Booth, an occasionally brilliant but wildly inconsistent cartoonist known as Mr. Fish, about Colin Powell that cuts to the heart of the matter.  It is difficult to imagine anyone who could have more fully let down Americans or Americans of color, unless it is Mr. Obama himself, turning the war against the Afghans and the Iraqis into a more general war against Muslims by invading Pakistan, failing to jail or even investigate his predecessors, going along with the ludicrous lies concerning what happened on 11 September, continuing with signing statements and extra-legal incarceration. They are both major league sell outs, house negroes serving the war machine and “those who control the financial system.”

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By HC, July 12, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Colin Powell was the one individual who could have derailed the Bush/Cheney inanities simply by resigning rather than appearing before the U.N. to perpetuate the lies. The shift in focus and attention from the liars to one who had, at that time, the stature to say “no” would have been enough to undo the runup to war, and would have removed whatever credibility the Bush regime had fashioned for itself.

Of course, Powell would have been vilified by many, and the focus on him would perhaps have been humanly unbearable, even to this day, for being alone at the very apex of a moment in history.  History did indeed swing on his decision.  Had he acted otherwise, as grueling and wrenching as that might well have been, and having suffered greatly for it, he perhaps would be a tragic figure today; having acted as he did, however, with the historical moment now having well passed, he has been defined by that moment.

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By Folktruther, July 12, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

the US has been a highly racist society, founded on ethnic cleansing and slavery, stealing half of Mexico from Latinos, and killing millions of non-White people as part of American imperialism.  since most of the world is non-White, the dirty job of lying to the world about American imperialism is given, lately,  to non-Whites, like Powell, Rice and Obama.

Powell, as Truthdigger and PSmith, have noted, was a professional gofer, with a specialty for Explaining.  that will be the historical memory of him.

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By amex, July 12, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

If he suspected that the Iraq war was a scam - damn him for allowing so many deaths (Americans and Iraq) and not standing up to a spoiled brat and his corporate fascist thug VP.  If he believed that Iraq needed to be attacked - because of all of those facts that he produced at the UN, then how did he get to play general and finally Secretary of State?  Can’t we get someone in government with some spine?

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By AT, July 12, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama has spoken. If you are of African descent you must be held accountable for war crimes you had committed. Did Powell commit war crimes?

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By MeHere, July 12, 2009 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

My “fondest” memory of Powell is when he appeared on TV to show the UN and the nation some of the evidence for the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He used some meaningless surveillance photographs that were laughable—I understand some at the UN laughed right then and there. A favorite moment was when this mature military man pointed to some blurry photographs and said something like : “See, in this photo this truck is here but, in the next one, it has moved to here.”  It was an embarrassing and tragic symbol of everything that would come to pass. 

But let’s remember that the nation didn’t question this war, just like they never question any war until they see it is a no-win situation…. and even then….

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By xypher, July 12, 2009 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

As a typical politician.

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By lester333, July 12, 2009 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

Colon Powell is an enormous sycophantic charlatan.

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By beanT, July 12, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The people that have the capacity to fool the greatest number of people are the ones who are capable of doing the greatest amount of damage.

Until Americans can get back to judging people based on their actions and nothing more, we going to continue spiraling out of control.

beanT

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By coloradokarl, July 12, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

I believed Powell when he shook King George’s stash at the Ubited Nations hearing. Who wouldn’t? Since then I have invested a few hundred hours surfing the web: 9-11, Anthrax, Barksdale, Global Conspiracy, Etc. The fascism of the Capitalists runs deep and this current program of “recession” will not work in America. The “Hydra” of Federal, State and local Government influenced with the Corporate election Bribes will be destroyed by it’s own greed and lust for power. Buy Locally and only what you need. STARVE THE BEAST

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By Paul_GA, July 12, 2009 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

As the Peter Principle might put it, Powell was an effective general who reached his level of incompetence when he was raised to high political office; i.e., secretary of state.

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By ardee, July 12, 2009 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

We are all of us, each and every one, faced with decisions in our lives. How we decide what path to walk determines our character and our legacy.

Powell chose his path and now he must live with the judgment.

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By truedigger3, July 12, 2009 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

Colin Powel is an affable and smooth talker, but first and foremost, he is careerist like everyone else who reached that high.
If he was not in the inner circle of the neo-con cabal, he served them well and did their bidding.
His enfamous and dispicable theatrics and lies in the UN about the WMD will stay forever in his legacy.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 12, 2009 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

It has been said: “to the dead one owes only the truth”, perhaps that can also apply to the living dead, those walking bureaucratic zombies like Colin Powell, and the other enablers of the Bush-Cheney crime syndicate, who believe that if they continue to spout double-talk long enough, history will “vindicate” them.
This also brings to mind that infamous press conference, where President George “I know I’m right” Bush, threw out a ballpark figure of 30 thousand dead Iraqis, “tops”, which Mr. Kutler refers to as countless. Cindy Sheehan later said that if you took the President’s number to be true, that’s 10 times the amount of death on 9/11. She then asked how much blood is required to fulfill your need for vengeance?
The late William Gaddis once wrote an article in Harper’s called “The Rush For Second Place” where he refers to the walking disaster known as Robert McNamara, who after the Vietnam debacle, became the president of the World Bank. Gaddis referred to this as “an American success story”. This reveals that when the power elite screw up, they are often rewarded.

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By Arabian Sinbad, July 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In my book of history, McNamara was a public servant who betrayed the public trust in favor of a misguided political-military-industrial complex, or the war-mongers’ camp. Hence he was a war criminal whose heinous crimes and the so-much blood on his hands were compounded by the fact that he died a natural death and not hanged up in public!

The same also applies to Colon Powel. He along with his two evil bosses, G. Bush and Dick Cheney, are all war criminals and public servants who betrayed the public trust, deserving the poetical justice of hanging in public.

However, in the case of Colon Powel, he might be slightly excused as being a man in a “mental state of slavery” if not a physical one, when he had to go along with the evil ways of his “white enslavers.” He might be a victim of his and his ethnic group’s history of enslavement, who, deep inside his psychic being, never believed that his slavery has ended despite of the fact that it has been officially abolished a long time ago.

So Powel’s slavish service to his evil white bosses can be slightly excused, at least intellectually, on account of being a slave without total free will.

This judgment also applies to Condi Rice who actively participated in the evil of her white bosses! And if this psychological burden of slavery is not finally broken in the person of Obama, we might justifiably be saying the same thing about him after his first term in office!

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By Jon, July 11, 2009 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Powell will go down in history as the (just following orders) servant for Bush/Cheney.  Like them, he betrayed the United States of America.

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By rockinrobin, July 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

History HOPEFULLY will RECORD the TRUTH: that the USA deliberately lies, deceives, and misleads purposely “painting” false pictures, and totally fabricated EVERYTHING to the PEOPLE; it is KNOWN as PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT.
JFK did NOT want the war; LBJ did; Halliburton, LBJ/Rumsfeld, Bush/Clinton, Kissinger & most of the Pentagon parasites & pirates who have looted & robbed the PEOPLE of the USA for over 100 years are ALL CONNECTED TO MONSANTO & DOW: their NAMES are interchangable with them; Agent Orange; White Phosphorus; similar product, different name; they paid Pakistan Army $1m to CREATE and TRAIN a TALIBAN; since THAT became public knowledge it’s back to the old “Al Queda” who had NO links with Saddam Hussain (who’s regime was SET UP by the SAME USA GOV FOLKS), as was the SHAH, & multiple other countries horrid rulers; SAME IMAGE as that of the USA; THIS is why $900,000,000,000.00 (TRILLION FOLKS!) is like POCKET CHANGE in their pockets; like 25 cents or 50 cents is to us; WAKE UP AMERICANS!
SEE thru the PATTERN of DECEPTION! It is a HIGHLY ORGANIZED CRIMIANAL REGIME (target & harm for PERSONAL profit & PERSONAL GAIN); it is a CRIME!
Yet NOTHING is done; soldiers die; women & children cry; when they come back the SAME FOLKS who deceived them to make trillions off war: have started the “anti vet movements”: and REFUSE to give them jobs nor do they give them what they promised them; however, if you return ALIVE: they CALL YOU 9 times a day demanding repayment as “you have not fulfilled your contract!” and DENY them medical claiming “there is no $” cuz the PEOPLE have ALWAYS bought the LIE.
TELL ME THIS: you who doubt: they have CLAIMED they are a “force for good” give aid to all countries needing it; WHY THEN DO THEY WANT TO “CHANGE THEIR IMAGE!!!!!!!”

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By bachu, July 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment
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He will be judged as an opportunist whose judgment failed him in during the last days of his career.

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