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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Condi: An Improvement Over Powell

That's my prediction. Allow me to explain.

In the past few days, it's been almost impossible to find a critic of Colin Powell, the outgoing secretary of defense. On Monday, Newsday printed an article entitled "Reactions to Powell's Resignation". Even in this left-of center publication, every single reaction portrayed Powell in a positive light. It's as if the newspaper was trying to make it into the Powell family scrapbook rather than actually reporting a cross-section of reactions to his tenure as secretary. Here are a few of the quotes:

"As a soldier and a statesman, Colin Powell provided exceptional leadership. His steady hand and the reasoned approach he brought to his work will be sorely missed." -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"Colin Powell commands tremendous respect on Capitol Hill; his successor will have quite a legacy to live up to." -- Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee.

"The resignation of Secretary of State Colin Powell is a major loss to the country. Secretary Powell has been by far the most responsible, thoughtful, realistic, and credible member of the administration's foreign policy team." -- Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

Excuse me, folks, but are you out of your damn minds? Colin Powell was the worst of a bad lot. As a young man, Colin Powell was responsible for trying to cover up the Mai Lai massacre. Instead of telling the truth, Colin told his superiors exactly what they wanted to hear--a pattern that marked his career trajectory from Vietnam to Iraq. When Colin Powell stood before the United Nations and presented a case for war based on evidence that he knew was bogus, he made a mockery of values he claims to adhere to.

Wolfowitz, Pearle, Rumsfeld, and Rice have the courage of their convictions. They believe they're doing the right thing; they're true believers with a truly warped mindset. Powell, on the other hand, embodies the greatest danger to democracy: Someone who will act against his own conscience and intellect for the sake of loyalty and career advancement. The media has fallen for cheap "bad cop/good cop" theatrics. Here's what happened: Cheney and Rumsfeld rant. Colin asks them to leave the room. He offers Kofi Annan a smoke, gains his confidence, and then tells him "the straight story". The world bought it because they didn't know the real Colin Powell. By playing the straight man, Powell was able to do more damage than the rest combined.

Condi Rice's nomination is a disaster. It means a tremendous powershift to the neoconservative right. The good news is she has absolutely no credibility, and this will mitigate her influence on world affairs.

This Administration views itself as an unstoppable juggernaut with a mandate from the voters. In the next few years, our aggressive foreign policy will be humbled and marginalized as Condi's abrasiveness rubs other nations the wrong way.
An excerpt from "Behind Colin Powell´┐Żs Legend",
written by Robert Parry and Norman Solomon

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