Welcome Back to the Fight, Colin. . .

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powellpicclintonglobal.jpg
(This article appears today at Tina Brown’s “The Daily Beast.” Here is the actual link to my piece.)
This morning, about a nanosecond after Colin Powell gave his endorsement of Barack Obama for President, I called his long-time aide and former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson. The brusque former Army colonel told me he had no idea which way Powell might tilt but that he was “utterly ecstatic” with Powell’s decision.
And he said that like Victor Lazslo said to Rick after all of the drama in “Casa Blanca”, which happens to be Colin Powell’s favorite film, he felt like saying “Welcome back to the fight, Colin.”
Since exactly three years ago today — October 19, 2005 — the day Wilkerson cleared his conscience and offered a full-throated condemnation of the Bush administration and “Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal,” the American public has been waiting to see if one of America’s greatest contemporary generals would follow in his aide’s footsteps and be able to distinguish between loyalty to the President he had served and loyalty to the people and Constitution of the United States. Wilkerson’s friendship with Powell suffered a massive blow as some thought Wilkerson was presuming to speak for Powell, which he wasn’t — but on many levels — Wilkerson and other dissident Republicans frustrated with the nation’s foreign policy course helped legitimate an exodus away from the GOP and towards Obama. Powell has now joined them.
Colin Powell — probably the only man who could have run against and beaten George W. Bush in 2000 — probably sees a lot of himself in Barack Obama. Clearly, they are both African-Americans and committed to breaking through every last racial barrier in the U.S. But Powell would have supported Obama had he been Caucasian, Latino, or Vietnamese-American. The value that Obama brings to politics is that he transcends convenient typecasting. Colin Powell kept breaking the mold as well as he rose to prominence and almost the White House — held back by his wife Alma who feared scenarios of assassination as well as his own sense that he didn’t have “the fire in the belly” for elective office.
Powell said of Barack today that “he has both style and substance. I think he is a transformational figure.” W’s first Secretary of State also didn’t like the defamatory slurs deployed by the McCain/Palin team trying to link Obama to William Ayers’ anarchist views. And Powell doesn’t think Alaskan caribou-gutting expert and folk legend Sarah Palin is qualified to be President of the United States.
Powell’s endorsement breaks some family china. His son, former Federal Communications Chairman Michael Powell has been an advisor on technology to McCain. And his best friend and potential defense secretary choice in a McCain White House, Richard Armitage, is still listed — despite Bill Kristol’s best efforts to export anyone connected to Powell out of Republican circles — as a key national security advisor to McCain. Lawrence Wilkerson has been with Barack Obama from just about day one of the Illinois senator’s race.
John McCain has frequently referred to Colin Powell as one of the greatest national servants he has known — and vice versa. The break with McCain today is about the General’s firm belief that America is at a pivot point in its history. John and Cindy McCain love Abba. That may sound modern in a Pierce Brosnan kind of way.
But Powell, 71 years old, was in London last week dancing some hip hop and singing some rap with Nigerian group Olu Maintain. Seriously though, Powell works hard for young, underprivileged youth and launched “America’s Promise” to help motivate and animate young people who get little support from others. That’s what really is driving Colin Powell’s endorsement.
Much of the political left doesn’t think it wants Powell’s endorsement. They are still angry at him for helping the Bush administration promulgate lies and half-truths at the UN General Assembly meeting designed to shore up support for America’s misguided invasion of Iraq. Americans loved Powell’s honor and dignity, fairness — but that day cost him a lot in the eyes of much of the country and world.
But Powell fought torture. He said that Guantanamo should be immediately shuttered and the detainees brought into America’s existing judicial system. In the Israel/Palestine standoff, he said we should engage Hamas — something neither McCain or Obama have had the resolve to admit needs to be done. Powell has been insisting that we should be dealing with the world as it is — not as we may imagine it to be.
How could he tell the next young group of students he meets through his own organization or when he speaks at mega-forum motivational seminar — or visits with kids in the classes Larry Wilkerson teaches in inner city DC each week — that Sarah Palin is what they should try and become. No way.
Powell wants the world to be better, to stand for better things — and that is not the world cynically sculpted by Karl Rove, Bill Kristol and McCain’s current team.
From the iconic general’s vantage point, genuine hope and change is what Obama stands for — and we should applaud Colin Powell for coming back into the fight.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

46 comments on “Welcome Back to the Fight, Colin. . .

  1. l.t. Dravis says:

    By l.t. Dravis
    ON THE RADIO – Monday, October 20, 2008 – On or off OxyContin (can we ever be 100% certain with Rush?), Rush Limbaugh, the blowhard who prides himself on having an audience of millions of sycophants unable or unwilling to think for themselves (aka ‘dittoheads’), has divined that General Colin Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama because Obama is black.
    Powell endorsed Obama on MEET THE PRESS Sunday and Tom Brokaw asked about people who might “say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.”
    General Powell responded by saying, “If I had only that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, ten months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama.
    “And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can’t deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president.
    “And should that happen, all Americans should be proud – not just African-Americans, but all Americans . . . that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it’ll electrify the world.”
    Anyone who’s seen or heard General Powell’s endorsement of Senator Obama to be President of the United States understands that it was thoughtful, well presented, and completely based upon Powell’s assessment of Obama’s character, personality, temperament, and motivation.
    Nevertheless, the big fat idiot sent an Email to Politico.Com that said, “Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race. Okay, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.”
    The big fat idiot revealed an added dimension of stupidity when he continued the Email with, “I was also unaware of Powell’s dislike for John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia. I guess he regrets Reagan and Bush making him a four-star and Secretary of State and appointing his son (Michael Powell) to head the FCC. Yes, let’s hear it for transformational figures.”
    That the big fat idiot completely missed the General’s reasoning speaks volumes about the big fat idiot’s inability to understand an American hero’s endorsement of a candidate who will be, as General Powell predicted, “a transformational figure”.
    The big fat idiot proved the depth of his stupidity today when he went on the air and blathered, “Now back to General Powell. I-I-I-I-I-I just wanna button this up because the ‘drive-bys’ had a tizzy over my allegation that his nomination was about race. It, well, let me say it louder,” the idiot said, raising his voice to titillate his millions of ‘ditto-heads’, “and let me say it even more plainly. IT WAS TOTALLY ABOUT RACE! THE POWELL NOMINATION, OR, E-ENDORSEMENT, TOTAL, TOTALLY ABOUT RACE!”
    If the big fat idiot had done his research, he would have known that Ronald Reagan didn’t ‘make’ Colin Powell a four-star General because George H.W. Bush was president when Lieutenant General Colin Powell was promoted to four-star General on April 4, 1989.
    The big fat idiot (who, to my knowledge, never achieved the rank of four-star General) should also have known that no one ‘made’ Colin Powell a four-star General because after 31 years of distinguished military service, including combat tours in Vietnam and having been awarded the following medals and ribbons: Defense Distinguished Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Service Medal, Army with Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star, Vietnam Service Medal with 1 Silver Service Star, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, United Kingdom Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, French Legion d’honneur, and the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, Lieutenant General Colin Powell was promoted to the rank of four-star General.
    So, what should we think about the big fat idiot?
    Is he just stupid?
    Hard to believe that a big fat idiot who earns as much money as this one does could be too stupid.
    Okay then . . . should we think he’s just another lying Republican political hack?
    Not hardly . . . isn’t this the big fat idiot who told Republicans earlier this year to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of John McCain?
    Alright then . . . if the big fat idiot isn’t stupid and if he isn’t just another lying Republican political hack, what should we think about Rush Limbaugh?
    As much as I hate to admit it, I may have been wrong . . . maybe the big fat idiot isn’t a big fat idiot after all.
    In fact, I’m beginning to think the big fat idiot is nothing but a big fat phony who will say anything to get ratings.
    Yeah but, if Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a big fat phony who will say anything to get ratings, why would anyone take him seriously?
    Hmmmm?
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    Reply

  2. Tosk says:

    AFTER Powell let Larry Wilkerson go around letting the world know that he knew nothing about torture, it came out that “enhanced interrogation techniques” were discussed in excruciating detail on multiple occasions at the Principals meeting with Colin Powell present. Powell has not really been called out on this. Once when Diane Sawyer asked re him this apparent contradiction Colin Powell said that he didn’t have “sufficient memory recall” about the meetings; that he had participated in “… many meetings on how to deal with detainees…”; and, “… I’m not aware of anything that we discussed in any of those meetings that was not considered legal…”
    >>>>
    Steve said “But Powell fought torture”

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  3. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    arthurdecco…heavy dooooty link

    Reply

  4. arthurdecco says:

    For an eloquent appraisal of this war criminal:
    The Bagman Cometh Obama Embraces War Criminal”s Endorsement
    http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/3/1632-the-bagman-cometh-obama-embraces-war-criminals-endorsement.html
    I.
    Democratic Party circles are in raptures over Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama. One can see the heavily-blinkered logic behind their elation; now that our national politics has been reduced to a petty squabble over spoils among shifting factions in the imperial court, a nod from a consummate courtier like Powell is indeed a glittering prize for an ambitious prince.
    But out in the real world, where the operations of imperial power have left smoking trails of murder and ruin across the globe, the “endorsement” of a man who played an indispensable role in the slaughter of more than a million innocent people in a war of Hitlerian aggression should be regarded as a thing of shame, and vociferously rejected by anyone with a scintilla of honor or morality… continues…

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  5. Gridlock says:

    “one of America’s greatest contemporary generals”
    Yup, he shone when burning down villages in Viet Nam, lent a very useful hand in covering up My Lai, covered for a general who was fond of shooting civilians from a helicopter for a game, helped out Bush I with that pesky Noriega, sold missiles to Iran, helped Saddam post-Dijali massacre, threatened regime change in Iraq in the summer of 2002, and finally sold the pitch to the UN perfectly.
    40 years of solid service to the American Dream alright, and handsomely rewarded for it.

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  6. Tahoe Editor says:

    This is about the attempted rehabilitation of Colin Powell.

    “Let me be absolutely clear. Just this much John McCain is enough to threaten both the security of the United States and the peace of the whole world.” — Colin Powell
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/2338d1c0-c7bf-4174-8169-97b2fecf43d8.html
    Chameleon Powell
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/fef3545b-8317-439f-8e71-73587f4293fd.html
    Limbaugh: Where are the inexperienced, white liberals Powell has endorsed?
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/1008/Limbaugh_Where_are_the_inexperienced_white_liberals_Powell_has_endorsed.html?showall

    Reply

  7. Florestan says:

    Powell is embarking on a two front battle: the obvious one for
    Obama, the long term one for reestablishing a moderate
    Republican Party.
    His endorsement and explicit rejection of the memetic
    divisivenes and narrow backwards agendas
    which have come to dominate both McCain’s campaign and the
    controlling apparatus of the Republican Party are probably the
    first salvo in a campaign by moderates to retake their Party,
    which will likely be in disarray after a landslide Democratic
    victory (knock wood!!).
    Goldwater’s loss in ’64 marked the beginning of the
    transformation of the extreme Right from a disparate fringe to a
    well organized, well funded and disciplined political force. LBJ in
    65 said he feared he had lost the South for 50 years when he
    signed the Voting Rights Act. It is astonishingly fitting that
    Powell and Obama may mark the reversal of these trends.

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  8. bob h says:

    I would guess that one of the strongest reasons Powell rejects McCain is the prevalence of Neocon sentiments among his foreign policy advisers. I wish he had included that in his indictment of McCain yesterday.

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  9. Don Bacon says:

    “Out in the real world, where the operations of imperial power have left smoking trails of murder and ruin across the globe, the “endorsement” of a man who played an indispensable role in the slaughter of more than a million innocent people in a war of Hitlerian aggression should be regarded as a thing of shame, and vociferously rejected by anyone with a scintilla of honor or morality”.–Chris Floyd
    “No, this man is a coward and this hero worship of a self serving, ass covering fop who shows up a day late and dollar short is disgusting. The DC incest circuit must be Este Lauders’s biggest customer for all that lipstick it puts on pigs”.–Carroll
    As happens too often (Biden comes to mind) Steve Clemons goes for the spin of the big names and forgets the casualties of these character-less political fops.

    Reply

  10. Dirk says:

    This endorsement is of some importance to Barack Obama but I sense it is much more important to those people who supported the Iraq war and later came to regret it. These naifs, of whatever political stripe, having been led to the altar by Mr. Powell felt terribly betrayed when their dashing suitor turned out to be a wife beater; though with good public manners.
    Now that the recovering and wiser naif is supporting a hopefully new and visionary leader, it is at least cathartic that the wife beater has atoned for his sins and come to the same conclusion, if not a repudiation of the war itself.
    Well good luck, I hope you feel a little better about yourselves…

    Reply

  11. hayduke says:

    the sons damage to america while at the fcc, and the knowledge that likely his job was a political payback to his father, make his endorsement a bit less sweet. that being said, welcome aboard mr powell, sorta a dollar light and a day too late, but none the less….

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  12. steve duncan says:

    100 Republican oppo researchers are feverishly going to work on the background of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. By the time they’re done he’ll be the secret messenger, the mole within the military that was feeding Bin Laden intelligence. Same goes for Powell. You think you knew all there was to know after decades of service, reams of print and dozens of thorough background checks for increasingly important positions in government? Ha! You just haven’t received your robo-call yet…………..

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  13. Alex says:

    Furthermore, Frank, before that bill was even passed and Bushie boy wrote that signing statement, McCain capitulated on allowing the CIA to use torture in its interrogations. What people remember is the big news splash about McCain objecting to having torture be in the UCMJ part of the bill. But, after the news cycle calmed down, Cheney convinced him to accept torture by the CIA. (For purposes of this point, I am not talking about all those others who fell into the same trap because they are NOT running for prez or attempting to (dishonestly and dishororably) take credit for being all mavericky on torture.)

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  14. G Hazeltine says:

    One of our most serious problems as a nation is that most of us
    have no memory. Powell was articulate, but does not deserve the
    respect he seems to be getting.
    As Col. Patrick Lang reminds those who have forgotten:
    “Powell is someone who truly “blotted his copybook” as the Brits
    used to say. After a lifetime of service and achievement, Powell
    chose in the end to “drink the koolaid” that flowed in the
    bloodstream of the Bush/Cheney/neocon regime that has ruled
    the United States for the last eight years. He was Secretary of
    State at a time when his firm oppositon, and ultimately his
    resignation would have crippled the onrushing utopian crusade
    for Westernization in Iraq.
    He did not choose to follow that path. Instead, he chose to
    believe the corrupted judgments of an intelligence community
    leadership that betrayed the country and the armed forces by
    producing nonsensical estimates designed to create support for
    war among an ignorant and bellicose public that hungered for
    revenge aganst an enemy they could not even define.
    Today, when he was asked by Brokaw about his role as perhaps
    the greatest enabler of the Iraq War decision, he took shelter
    behind the collection of garbage that was served up in 2002-
    2003 by George Tenet and company as justification for war.
    For Shame! For Shame!
    He should hide himself and hope that someday men will
    remember the good of him and not the worst.”
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/10/p
    owell-endorses.html

    Reply

  15. Warren Metzler says:

    America’s greatest contemporary generals
    It is truly amazing one can make this statement. Powell was the
    Americal division person who did the initial investigation of Mai
    Lai, and claimed nothing bad occurred. He was a full fledged
    supporter of the first gulf war, obviously created by Bush senior to
    guarantee re-election (oh the best laid plans of mice and men).
    He is one of three chiefs of staff who never had senior fighting
    unit command, so obviously climbed the ladder through
    sycophantism. It is truly irrational to accept his claim he was
    fooled on the wmd issue, and thereby a sincere dupe as he
    delivered his testimony to the UN. He is a fraud, a man who has
    always acquiesced to the powers that be to rise through the
    system. There is nothing great about him, although he is
    contemporary.

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  16. Frank says:

    I’am tired of hearing plaudits about McCain’s role of support and championing the torture bill through congress as general Powell alluded to when endorsing Obama. McCain was silent re Bush’s signing statement after that bill was passed, thus hypocritically nullifying whatever “championing” he exhibited. “McCain could not be reached for comment about that signing statement” per news reporters asking for his reaction.
    I wish some town hall citizen would ask him about why he was silent about Bush’s torture bill signing statement.
    Next best is to have the Obama campaign jump on this fact which to me is a glaringly overlooked quintessential example of McCain’s hypocrisy.

    Reply

  17. Kathleen says:

    Linda…I think you actually agree with Carroll on Powel’s failure to speak up at a time when it could have mattered…, as do I… that said, I do think General Powell was THE right person to call McCain on his less than honorable race-baiting.untruthful characterizations of Obama….perhaps others will feel brave enough to skip the pro-forma ass-kissing of McCain, because he was torttred…that doesn’t give a candidate a pass on lying to win…
    Enon…I’m with you on the “ideological purist” comment…I get ragged on all the time because I hold firm on my instance to only support candidates who support impeachment…..thanks for the links on Powell….

    Reply

  18. Alex Becker says:

    I strongly disagree with those who view Powell’s endorsement of
    Obama as “redemption” for his support of the Iraq war. Colin Powell
    is an American hero and former Secretary of State, not a child in
    need of a stern talking to. It’s an insult to the man’s intelligence
    and judgement to suggest that he made the decision to endorse
    based on remorse for past decisions. If one were to watch his
    segment from meet the press this morning, you’d notice the depth
    in which he describes the process that has led him to the point of
    endorsement. If Powell were simply trying to recant past actions, he
    would not have waited until under three weeks away from election
    day to do so.

    Reply

  19. Linda says:

    Carroll,
    I slightly disagree as the only way that O’Neill, wilkerson, and Powell would have been heroes IMO would have been if they resigned very publicly in protest and then kept repeating over and over in the media their positions. They could have gained the public’s and Congress’ support and perhaps stopped us from ivading Iraq. They didn’t do that at the time when it would have mattered.

    Reply

  20. TonyForesta says:

    Thanks for the heartening links POA. I cannot imagine a military that has been so thoroughly abused, misrepresented, exploited, stressed, and burdened supporting the gop. So it is good to see Obama money flowing from the rank and file. I also welcome Powells exceedingly diplomatic endorsement. First it should help Obama, secondly – had Powell been more forcefull in condemnation of the fascists in the bushgov, – the Rovean brownshirts would be painting this endorsement a the meaningless gesture from a bitter old traitor, and turning the endorsement into a “blackthing”. Powells intricately worded support nipped those kinds of attacks in the bud.
    While I still hold Powell culpable for allowing the fascists to maliciously decieve America into hurling our daughters and sons, and trillions of the peoples dollars into the costly bloody crime scene and excuse for wanton profiteering in Iraq, – at this point the best tactics for exiting the fascists (which McCain would only perpetuate) and electing Obama is NOT giving the fascists and Rovean disinformation warriors and slime miesters any redmeat to use against Obama. Powell succeeded in this regard.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    People like Wilkerson and Paul O’Neil have been heros from the Bush Adm. Not Powell.
    What is his answer to why he did not speak up during his time in the Bush adm? What about after he left? What is his answer to why he didn’t speak up then? What is his answer to why he didn’t speak up about how “his-our’ military was being decimated?
    No, this man is a coward and this hero worship of a self serving, ass covering fop who shows up a day late and dollar short is disgusting. The DC incest circuit must be Este Lauders’s biggest customer for all that lipstick it puts on pigs.
    It takes no guts to finally say at the eleventh hour what 80% of the country has been saying for four years or more.

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  22. Zathras says:

    “…one of America’s greatest contemporary generals,” eh? That’s a pretty strong endorsement, considering Colin Powell never had a combat command after getting his first star, and was outside the chain of command in two of his three tours in prominent appointive office. Of course, George Marshall is considered one of the greatest American generals ever, and served his entire career in uniform in staff positions. Colin Powell ain’t him, even if you exclude the comparison between the two men’s respective tenures as Secretary of State.
    I’m not that impressed by endorsements, even those with a man-bites-dog quality. And I don’t do ecstatic. Powell’s Meet the Press interview today had a very inside-the-Beltway feel. He was careful to praise everyone whose name the public might recognize, even Gov. Palin; he used the exaggerated forms of praise common in Washington today (if Sarah Palin is “distinguished,” who is undistinguished?). He eloquently expressed anguish about people he did not feel able to name.
    Powell was defensive about his own record, and protective of the administration for which he worked, rather begging the question as to what an allegedly “transformative” leader like Sen. Obama is supposed to transform, and why that transformation is needed after eight years of a Presidency that Powell served. He worried and fretted about the way “politics” is conducted in this country, neglecting to mention the influence of his former chief in this area. Even the robocalls and rough tactics Powell complained about from McCain’s campaign are actually being managed by people who used to work for George Bush.
    All this is very ITB Washington: preserve one’s image, protect one’s friends, burn no bridges, offend no one if there is any chance one might meet them later — and still accept accolades for one’s own courage and wisdom and all the rest of it. I have nothing, personally, against Colin Powell; before his failure at the State Department he did the country great service as National Security Adviser 20 years ago, and was an able Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. But Powell personifies the Washington over which George Bush and his closest associates ran roughshod for years, much of which is now showering extravagant praise on the man who appears likely to succeed him. There are people in the media sensitive enough to matters of image and appearance to set great store on Powell’s endorsement of Obama now, but its significance is something other than what they think it is.

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  23. lurker says:

    Steve, we are so proud of you. We know you have a hand in moving these dissident Republicans. And it’s fantastic.

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  24. Enon says:

    “But Powell fought torture.”
    Not exactly. He raised objections, then quietly acquiesced. I think Charles J. Brown has a much more better take on what the record actually shows in that regards.
    Powell, Obama, and Torture
    http://www.undiplomatic.net/2008/10/17/powell-obama-and-torture/
    And I find the comments about “ideological purity” to be extremely offensive. Opposition to mass-murder (and there’s no doubt that the Bush Doctrine and the war in Iraq have led to exactly that, mass-murder) and to torture have nothing to do with ideological purity, just simple morality and humanity.
    Republicans used to understand this.
    When Republicans hated waterboarding
    http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/2008/10/teddy-and-torture.html

    Reply

  25. Sage says:

    I am one who has long written off General Powell for his despicable presentation at the United Nations. I, too, remember my disbelief when I saw his televised presentation.
    Today, however, Powell and I have come a long way closer. His statement about the young American Muslim soldier brought me to my feet. I am so proud of his courage in making this most obvious of statements which other leaders have avoided and which some have used as a topic for exploitation.
    I also feel that his use of measured words and his balanced remarks about Senator McCain made his endorsement all the more powerful. It is difficult to write him off as a GOP castoff with bile in his throat when he avoids inflammatory remarks and instead spoke as a man who wants to see healing in our country.

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  26. Sage says:

    I am one who has long written off General Powell for his despicable presentation at the United Nations. I, too, remember my disbelief when I saw his televised presentation.
    Today, however, Powell and I have come a long way closer. His statement about the young American Muslim soldier brought me to my feet. I am so proud of his courage in making this most obvious of statements which other leaders have avoided and which some have used as a topic for exploitation.
    I also feel that his use of measured words and his balanced remarks about Senator McCain made his endorsement all the more powerful. It is difficult to write him off as a GOP castoff with bile in his throat when he avoids inflammatory remarks and instead spoke as a man who wants to see healing in our country.

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  27. DonS says:

    . . . which is not to say that Powell may equally have been offended by McCain/Palin’s sexism, fascism, anti-intellectualism, mobism, etc. So much to be offended by when a campaign chooses the gutter.

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  28. DonS says:

    Not to be the rotten apple in the bushel and, as TonyForesta notes, it was a pretty “diplomatic’ endorsement, exactly how cowardly would Powell have to be not to speak out in some way against the rascist campaign McCain is running?
    But, you know, if Powell really seeks redemption — not just pretending that he hasn’t played a crucial role in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings — its going to take a whole lot more. I’m sure, like a lot of the other culpable principals, he would like to minimize the evidence that spells “war criminal”. Outside the spin machine, the facts persist.

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  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Military donations favor Obama
    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. soldiers have donated more presidential campaign money to Democrat Barack Obama than to Republican John McCain, a reversal of previous campaigns in which military donations tended to favor GOP White House hopefuls, a nonpartisan group reported Thursday.
    Troops serving abroad have given nearly six times as much money to Obama’s presidential campaign as they have to McCain’s, the Center for Responsive Politics said.
    continues at….
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-08-14-military-donations_N.htm

    Reply

  30. Chris in San Francisco says:

    Well, said Steve, well said.

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  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It will be interesting to see how much impact, if any, this endorsement will have on the military vote, which heavily favors McCain”
    Actually, it is my understanding that the military rank and file donations to the Obama campaign are far and above those to the McCain campaign. Retired military brass tend to become hardware lobbyists and political advocates for the military. It is no wonder they will endorse the party that helps fill their bank accounts. The rank and file’s seeming preference for an Obama presidency says far more about what the “military” thinks of these lyin’ treasonous pieces of shit in the current manifestation (or should I say, “infestation”?) of the “GOP”.

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  32. TonyForesta says:

    Always the good soldier, Powell did an intricate job of articulating the well thoughtout basis for his endorsement of Obama, while being as diplomatic and kind as possible to both McCain, and his former commander in chief. The narrowness (Rovean) vectors of the McCain campaign, the Palin choice, the divisive marginal personal attacks, and mirroring or perpetuation of the many of the policies and the present administration pushed Powell away from McCain, while Obama’s transformational candidacy, his intelligence, steadiness, and calm coolness over the last weeks won the former Secretary of State’s confidence.
    Bravo Powell. It will be interesting to see how much impact, if any, this endorsement will have on the military vote, which heavily favors McCain.

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  33. Scott says:

    I was very pleased hear Powell’s words, and like one of the other commenters, my respect is starting to come back for Powell. I am still troubled by his presentation at the UN in 2003, however. Someone above says that there should not always be ideological purity, but on a matter as consequential as our misadventure in Iraq, can we at least remember his role? I do hope that he is remembered for his military and diplomatic acts of honor, judgment, and courage, but Iraq should at least be an asterisk — a small moment of accountability for a presidency that has blindly insisted on the infallibility of its actions.

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  34. rich says:

    Colin Powell is to be credited for callling John McCain to account for lying about Ayers and blithely asserting Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist.
    It’s a damn shame no other Republican has spoken as clearly; those that have, have settled for mumbling in their soup. None have forced John McCain’s hand on his dishonorable campaign tactics.
    Inciting fear has slipped easily into fomenting violence: as McCain supporters cling to these lies, reporters have been attacked at rallies and Obama campaign workers have been physically assaulted as well. This is demagoguery inviting mob-rule, that leans to a fascist methodology fitting neatly with the best instincts of Establishment Republican party culture, from Nixon to H.W. to Cheney to Bush. Red-baiting, race-baiting, Muslim-baiting; only a series of Caligulas could drive a stake through the Constitution to save Liberty from Libertarians. Which is why the Joint Chiefs wouldn’t let Nixon anywhere near the nuclear button for months and years.
    It’s bitter, bitter fruit:
    http://www.wisn.com/politics/17754232/detail.html
    http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2008/10/19/local_news/doc48fa891c6397b889391842.txt
    Yet we hear nothing, really, from Republican ‘leaders’ about what this country stands for. Colin Powell is the only one, really, and that includes the mainstream media, who’ve reported that actual facts of McCain’s campaign and called it out for what it is.
    Instead there’s been a transference of any rightful anger to Sarah Palin.
    “David Brooks, … recently described Governor Palin as a ‘cancer on the Republican Party,’ explained in an interview that the movement is now embroiled in a debate: ‘Should it go back to the core principles of Ronald Reagan or should it go on to something else? That’s the core issue.’ ”
    David Brooks is nationally known as the Sophist-in-Chief. So expect to read his statement honestly:
    Ronald Reagan used precisely the same campaign tactics and communications strategy that Sarah Palin has modeled so effectively. It may be hard to hear from Palin, and harder to deny, but it’s the same thing. Be optimistic and appealing, convey [white] ‘family values’, race-bait, use quips to avoid substantive responses, tell the Big Lie often as possible.
    George W. did the same thing. But suddenly it’s unacceptable when Sarah Palin follows John McCain’s marching orders, and clearly models herself on Reagan & Bush.
    The cancer on the Republican Party has been there for several decades—as David Brooks well knows. That cancer defines the Republican Party and has been central to its success. It has nothing to do with Sarah Palin.
    Colin Powell should be applauded for calling McCain out. Somebody had to—and no one else in the Republican Party could be counted on to do it.
    At the same time, Powell is a half-leader and a deeply flawed intellect, who’s done far more damage to the country than actual repair work.
    A few statements on Guantanamo could not repair his UN speech or Iraq or American standing, without substantive and repeated follow up. That’s something his apologists can’t seem to grasp. Lip service just isn’t enough. McCain plays the same game, ‘repudiating’ ugly-to-unAmerican tactics in one breath, and grinning to Letterman seconds later, saying “a million words get said in these campaigns, HAHAHA.” It’s no repudiation at all.

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  35. ... says:

    i applaud powell for making these comments.. it’s never too late for anyone to change, including a country that has gone in a direction that is antithesis to its own well being… powell would like to support the idea their is still hope for the usa… i would like to support him in that idea too..

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  36. Linda says:

    Steve,
    So what are your insider friends telling you? Could this all be planned with Powell endorsing this week, Hagel next, etc.?

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  37. PeterG says:

    Richard Lugar has sort of endorsed Obama, at least his policies. Now if Chuck Hagel would endorse….

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  38. jsrutstein says:

    “Um, no. Rick and Louis make plans to join Free French garrison
    at Brazzaville.”
    I should have known better to attempt the analogy without
    knowing the film that well. I don’t remember Rick and Louis
    doing anything other than walking away together wondering
    whether they’d embarked on a friendship.
    Assuming you’re right, good for Rick! And, I’ll choose to
    continue to believe that Powell’s endorsement today is the right
    move at the right time. Maybe if Powell is called upon to do
    more before election day, we can speculate about what would
    have happened in Casablanca II.
    Feel free to educate me about the fate of the Free French
    garrison at Brazzaville.

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  39. Dan Kervick says:

    “While it’s disappointing that Powell isn’t going to stump for Obama, perhaps it’s instructional to remember that at the end of Casablanca Rick went back to his bar, not to the front lines.”
    Um, no. Rick and Louis make plans to join Free French garrison at Brazzaville.

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  40. Angie says:

    I was quite shocked this morning when I turned on MTP and heard Powell endorse Obama. I was certain that he wasn’t going to come out in support of either candidate this year.

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  41. arthurdecco says:

    Colin Powell is a WAR KRIMINAL, deserving of no one’s respect. FULL STOP!
    You Americans that love to suck up to power, no matter how vile, nauseate me.

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  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Powell’s voiced lack of faith in Sarah Palin, and his stated problems with John McCain actually matter more than his endorsement. I applaud him for stating the obvious, because it seems most politicians don’t have the balls for it. Any politician that is not willing to underscore Palin’s dangerous unsuitability to the position of VP is a politician that is putting politics above national security.
    Now, if Powell wants to redeem himself, he should immediately wash some of the blood off by revealing the FACTS behind Bush/Cheney’s criminal rush to war, and devote the rest of his life to advocating for criminal indictments and accountability. Short of that, he deserves a place in the history books with Adolph Hitler and Idi Amin. A great nation does not simply turn a blind eye to the criminal extermination of over one million human beings.

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  43. jsrutstein says:

    While it’s disappointing that Powell isn’t going to stump for Obama,
    perhaps it’s instructional to remember that at the end of
    Casablanca Rick went back to his bar, not to the front lines. Do we
    have any doubt, however, that helping Laszlo escape and whatever
    else Rick was likely to contribute in his own way was still helpful?
    And, of course, the good guys did win in the end. Perhaps Powell
    is confident that his splashy endorsement is plenty to seal the deal
    for Obama.

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  44. pacos_gal says:

    I was wrong. I really didn’t think he would endorse either candidate.
    So now the question is, will it have any sort of impact on the election at this point and if so, then how much?

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  45. Hokuto says:

    I don’t know Powell personally, but from what I’ve read, I’ve always admired him–outside of that disastrous spell in the wilderness as he acted the loyal supporter and enabler of the Bush administration’s rush to war–but I equally disdain the left’s urge to engage in periodic cathartic circular firing squads out of a surfeit of ideological purity. Powell’s endorsement will certainly have the effect of drawing some independent and moderate conservative holdhouts into Obama’s camp, and for that I’m grateful. This is going to be a most pleasant rout.

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  46. Bill R. says:

    My, those comments by Wilkerson are evocative! That scene in Casablanca of redemption applies here. (My favorite motion picture, ever!) I once admired Colin Powell and from today that respect is returning. He allowed himself and his credibility to be misused out of misguided loyalty. He can still make a contribution to this world, and he made a big one today by lending his stature to the cause of changing America for the better through the Obama candidacy. The left is not going to be altogether happy with Obama because he is a healer more than anything. And Powell’s endorsement today has to be in part a signal of that healing.

    Reply

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