Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell Speaks His Mind;
Republicans Poop Their Pants

Few public figures in American politics have the stature of Colin Powell. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War, and Secretary of State during George W. Bush's first term, Powell has foreign policy credentials out the wazoo.

Powell is also known for something called the "Powell Doctrine," which basically says if you're going to attack or invade someone, you do so with an overwhelming military force. This is not to be confused with the Rumsfeld Doctrine, which says that if you're going to invade someone, you do so with as small a force as possible, get bogged down, hopelessly muck things up beyond all recognition, then walk away and leave your mess for someone else to clean up.

Yes, there is the matter of his 2003 testimony before the U.N. about the supposed WMD's in Iraq, but most people now realize he was as duped by the trumped up evidence as the rest of America. More importantly, behind the scenes he tried to warn the Bush administration that it was making a mistake in Iraq. And how was he rewarded for his wisdom? He and the State Department became increasingly marginalized as the Pentagon took over the rebuilding effort in Iraq. Shortly after Bush's reelection, Powell was shown the door.

Since leaving government service in 2005, Powell has maintained his silence on Bush's conduct of the war. While other former administration officials have cashed with unflattering behind-the-scenes books, Powell has maintained his silence. He has done so even though a book deal could easily have netted him $10 million or more. If nothing else, Powell continues to be a loyal soldier, reluctant to publicly rebuke those above him. This silence, while frustrating to many administration critics, has probably only further enhanced Americans' admiration for him.

That's what makes Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama all the more devastating to the McCain Campaign. While the Republican ticket may not have been entirely dead, it was rapidly taking on water. And if that wasn't already bad enough, Powell's move yesterday on Meet the Press amounted to nothing less than a torpedo amidships.

On the other hand, it's not the first time McCain has gone down in flames.

In one fell swoop, Powell has dismissed the Republican party's argument against Obama: His lack of foreign policy experience. But he didn't stop there. Powell also blasted the McCain camp for its "polarizing" campaign, and said that all they're doing is trying to deflect attention from the most important issue facing the nation today: The economy.

In particular, Powell said he was "troubled" by Republican efforts to paint Obama as a Muslim:
"Well, he's not," Powell said. "But what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim? The answer is no. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim kid dreaming he could be president of the United States?

"I've heard senior Republicans" say such things, Powell said. "This is not America. We've got to stop polarizing ourselves."
To further drive home his point, Powell told the story of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, a Muslim soldier. Last year Khan gave his life in Iraq, and he is now buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

0 thoughtful ramblings: