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Powell: I told you so. Well, I told him so.

vastleft's picture

All we can do is again wish that Powell had lov'd Caesar less and lov'd Rome more:

The former American secretary of state Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2½ hours vainly trying to persuade President George W Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today’s conflict cannot be resolved by US forces.
“I tried to avoid this war,” Powell said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. “I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”

Powell has become increasingly outspoken about the level of violence in Iraq, which he believes is in a state of civil war. “The civil war will ultimately be resolved by a test of arms,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty to watch, but I don’t know any way to avoid it. It is happening now.”

He added: “It is not a civil war that can be put down or solved by the armed forces of the United States.” All the military could do, Powell suggested, was put “a heavier lid on this pot of boiling sectarian stew”.

Certainly, it's a good thing that Powell lends his voice to the growing chorus of Republicans who are losing that surgin' feeling. But, gee Wilkerson, this horse has long since fled the Pottery Barn door, hasn't it?

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Big Whoop, maybe he could have talked a little longer. Maybe he could have gone public. Maybe he could have resigned. Instead, he enabled the lies, gave them respectable cover. Too little too late now. He should be indicted with the rest of the gang; if he turns state's evidence maybe he walks with probation.

I have no respect anymore for this man.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Technically, Powell might squeak into the class of 2006 with some of his comments last year, but if there's a better example of too little, too late, I don't know what it is. All the Ronnie Reagan 20 Mule Team Borax in the world ain't gonna cleanse that reputation.

History also owes Powell recognition for perhaps the finest example of irony seen in our lifetimes, the Colin Powell Center initiative for...

Multilateral Diplomacy and International Organizations: Examines the histories and best practice of international organizations such as the United Nations, with particular emphasis on issues of conflict and security.

You can't make this stuff up.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

powell has been an enabler and an apologist, as well as an uncle tom, for decades. fuck him. too little too late doesn't begin to encompass my contempt for him.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... and, no one ever seems to remember that. The avuncular demeanor and occasional good intentions are nice and all, but the blood on his hands is in the millions of gallons.

Submitted by lambert on


No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Joe Bourgeois's picture
Submitted by Joe Bourgeois on

Bringiton, Great idea in re: indicting Powell. Let's be magnanimous & give him a chance to redeem himself, if possible. For the time being having him testify to Congress might be fun.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

but this same conversation was going on a bit earlier over at the Turtleneck's place. Party by the nym of cosmic tumbler was putting forth the proposition that Powell's behavior (UN appearance etc) was motivated by fear. A troll came along and mucked up the discussion and the reasoning behind this was never really explained, but I posted my thinking on the subject. It promptly got deadthreadded so, lest the world be left without my wisdom on the matter, I dig it up and drag it over here:

On the Colin Powell thing I can think of one reason for him staying in place that doesn't involve fear, "evil" or suchlike intangibles. It's still self-serving in one sense but strikes me as fitting the pattern for a lifelong military officer: He knows this Iraq thing is going to happen no matter what he does or says, so the only way he can have any influence whatever to make it happen in the least-bad way possible is to stay in his position at State.

There's no way a Cabinet official who "serves at the pleasure of the President" can take an open position opposite to that of the man who employs him. His only option would be to resign and then speak. And resignation would deprive him of any leverage whatever on actual actions. Plus the question of who would have been appointed to replace him: almost certainly an AEI-style toady, somebody (*coughCondicough*) of neither diplomatic nor military skill or background.

What we may think of this (that it's self-serving, craven, egotistical, and blatant rationalization) is not the point--we were debating how he could justify it to himself given what he now says he believed.

I would be interested if those with military experience/background find this plausible. We can never get inside his head, and I am not trying at all to excuse his actions. But Powell is one of those people I, and I think many, wanted to think better of, if that makes any sense, and it seems worth exploring how he came to go so wrong here.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

There were probably many things rattling around in his head, but the stakes were too severe to do anything but resign and/or blow the whistle rather than deliver his soul to the devil, and chaos to us and the Middle East.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

a long time ago. In addition to his part in the Mai Lai coverup, Powell was also in it to his eyeballs moving missiles during Iran-Contra and in the subsequent coverup. He kept his nose clean only because Reagan pulled him into the inner circle for protection. His behavior under Shrub has been more of the same-old same-old, doing what he’s told. Powell is of that generation that came up through the ranks after racial discrimination was banned officially but still rampant. He moved up by being competently subservient, Yassah, Nahssah, step and fetch, no threat here. Never was able to stand up for himself, even sitting behind the Secretary of State’s desk. Pity, waste of a good mind.