Colin Powell: America Needs to be an Open, Welcoming Nation

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colin powell sings.jpg
(Colin Powell sings YMCA during 2004 ASEAN summit in Indonesia)
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was in Cleveland on Friday. And in his remarks, he struck a tone about as opposite from Vice President Cheney as one can imagine.
From a report by Brian Albrecht of the Plain Dealer:

{Powell] then segued into a story about how, as a private citizen, he now has to endure airport security searches, even though he’s obviously no terrorist.
As he said he told one wand-wielding guard, “If you know I’m Gen. Powell, why don’t you go over there and look for Osama bin Laden?”
Yet in a pattern he would follow for the duration of his remarks, he used humor to transition into something serious. Such as airport security, and how he believes America is paying too steep a price for overly stringent precautions that have discouraged foreign students and people seeking medical care from coming here.
As he said, “What we cannot do, can never do, is change who we are as a people. We are an open, welcoming nation. So let’s not be afraid, America. Let’s stand tall, welcome the rest of the world, and show terrorism what democracy and freedom is all about.”

Powell has also urged Guantanamo to be shuttered. He thinks we need to find vehicles to engage Hamas. If he was Secretary of State in any other administration than this one, I think Powell would be in Tehran, secretly, doing some tough deal-making with Iran’s leaders.
And he thinks America must remain an open, welcoming place for the rest of the world — particularly the Muslim world.
That’s a brand of public diplomacy that Karen Hughes never quite mastered.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

44 comments on “Colin Powell: America Needs to be an Open, Welcoming Nation

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yes, Jon’s comment is sensibly sacharin.
    If Powell can be useful in changing our course, fantastic. But denying history does not need to be the price we pay for his usefulness. The man is a liar, and bears tremendous responsiblity for every drop of blood that has been spilt in Iraq.
    Redemption for Colin Powell will cost far more than an occassionally donning of a hard hat, so he can mutter self serving assertions of having been hoodwinked by blatant and obvious decievers.
    And it is truly despicable that he thinks the serious downside to Bush policy is long lines at the airport. There are a million or so Iraqis que’ed up at the Pearly Gates, that would gladly trade places with him.

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  2. Steve Clemons says:

    Jon…. I think all of us should thank you for that clear-headed statement. Now let’s get back to thinking about what Cheney’s next move will be.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

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  3. jon says:

    Steve rightfully writes about wanting to ‘move the needle’ on foreign policy. I think all of us who come to and write on this site want that as well. Differing points of view, objectives and methods, to be sure.
    Steve is inside the system. Most of the rest of us are outside of it. Steve provides us, out of generosity, a window into some of events that would otherwise not be apparent to us. Quite a gift. Steve also shares his thoughts on matters in an extremely open manner. Something not that common in foreign policy circles, and certainly not to us unwashed.
    I have found that when you want to make progress with government, and you don’t possess great wealth or political power already, it is necessary to push matters from both the inside as well as the outside, using whatever tools you can gather, in order to make any progress at all.
    This means working with people you may have disagreements with, building coalitions, and taking advantage of events in order to move your agenda forward. Inevitably, politics involves compromises and your successes are often short of your initial goals. But that is life and the reality of working in a democratic system where every point of view must be considered.
    My point of view about Powell pretty much matches that of the other posters. Steve has a different point of view. Steve has shown himself willing to consider and discuss many subjects, and has an open enough mind to genuinely consider opposing points of view and to change his mind when convinced. Personal attacks and insults aren’t the best way to convince anyone. Neither is an emotional appeal.
    Powell’s actions and behavior were quite a let down. I think many of us hoped that he could counterbalance the entire rush to war. He didn’t and probably couldn’t. I’m sure he now regrets not being able to. Maybe many of us projected unreasonable expectations onto to someone who never said he would abide by our expectations. At this point I think he’s yesterday’s man. By his actions and accommodations he has shown the degree to which he dissipated his moral authority and judgement. Quite a shame, but we have other matters to attend to.
    I get very emotional when I think of the damage done to our country, the Constitution and our freedoms (among other things) by this lawless gang that has hijacked our government. My fury over this won’t change anything. I must act. And so must we all. While we can act as individuals and have some limited effect, we will get more done by working with others in a concerted manner.
    Blogs are a great place to blow off steam, but they should also be tools for communication and strategizing, for building the momentum to make a real difference. This blog is a phenomenal place to learn about and discuss foreign policy. It is a place where some real work can be done. Not as a substitute for other efforts, but as a way to set objectives, build alliances and coordinate action.
    Steve (and America) had a real win in stiffing Bolton’s nomination. It happened because there were folks on the inside working the levers of power, and people on the outside rattling the cage, making an issue out of something that had been business as usual.
    This created an opening that is reverberating throughout government. It showed a chink in the armor and proved that policy could be successfully opposed. And it happened because many people came together to work for this goal, using the tools and abilities that each of us have This can be duplicated and expanded, and it is essential that we do so.
    Steve is creating opportunities so that the consensus on foreign policy can shift. He’s the reasonable guy on the inside, picking up support, making converts and bringing them to a better place. Those of us on the outside can be a bit more outspoken and a little less diplomatic in our actions. We can prod our senators and officials a bit more forcefully and encourage them to move in Steve’s direction. Politicians want to get re-elected. bureaucrats want their projects and funding. Now, find your points of leverage and put your back into it!
    It doesn’t mean that we all have to agree about every detail, or that we all have to be doing the same thing at the same time. But we do all have to be pulling in the same direction and not kicking at each other. Otherwise we deserve to get more of the same.

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is a link to a Larry Chin article, written pre invasion, that offers a myriad of links thjat demonstrate that Powell not only used faulty and misleading iontelligence in his UN speech, but that he KNEW, beforehand, that the intelligence was faulty and misleading.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHI303A.html

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Tractionless politically, eh? With Congress sitting at an 11% approval rating, I would say we are politically irrelevant, Steve. By “we”, of course, I mean “we the people”.
    I guess “political traction”, as defined in Steve Clemon’s dictionary, means the ability to completely disregard the will of the people.
    Tell me Steve, just exactly what percentage of the American people do you feel the two parties are “representing”. And which party has the most “traction” as you define it? The Bush Administration has tremendous “traction”, does it not? If their criminal successes are what passes as “traction” in Washington, do you really subscribe to the notion that this is what “we the people” should pursue?
    And I am no anarchist. But neither am I a serf to a completely non-representative gang of leaders that have completely subverted the rule of law and the basic tenets upon which this nation was founded.
    To portray Powell as a victim is a departure from reality, Steve. Many lay people, such as myself, were able to inform themselves sufficiently to realize that we were being lied to, and Powell certainly was privy to many intelligence sources that were disclaiming the assertions he took to the UN. This isn’t conjecture, it is know fact. Rice, whom you have defended as well, also made outrageous claims that were irrefutably shown to be patently false. You have defended Dov Zakhiem as well, a man who was seated over the “dissappearance” of over a trillion dollars. In addition, as many times as you have lauded Hagel, you absolutely refuse to engage yourself in discussions about his actions in regards to ES&S. Like Scott Paul’s recent post in regards to the island’s being inundated by “rising sea levels”, without acknowledging the scientific debate raging about whether or not the islands might actually be sinking, you seem, at times, prone to only presenting one side of the picture, and completely ignoring any warts that may sully the picture you want to paint us.
    It would be one thing if in rereading Powell’s UN speech we found many “mistakes” that have since been shown to be false. But that is not the case. His speech is riddled with assertions that were KNOWN FALLACIES. And, in the language of us common folk, Steve, that makes him a LIAR.

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  6. DonS says:

    Good comment Steve. Your approachableness is a virtue which we the commenting public may take a bit far some times.
    But, for myself, I comment:
    — to put ideas and reaction on a forum that might be seen by someone a) in power and b) with a conscience.
    — to challenge my own views by publishing them. albeit in a pretty anonymous way, as a non player.
    — to present some thoughts for you to reflect on, since you obviously a) read the comments b) consider them and c) have something of a meta appreciation of your role
    — to vent
    Sometimes, Steve, I think you not so transparently seek to elicit pov’s, perhaps for all of the reasons I myself post, and maybe more.
    As for the fact that I am, indeed, singularly, “tractionless politically for whatever reasons”, I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Or, rather, I’m tempted to say,”well of course”. What many on this forum have said, repeatedly, is stark acknowledgement that we are indeed powerless, and that the system is flawed, that the system does not seem to be working as it should. Something seems more dire than the dark days of McCarthy, or even the horror of Nixonian Watergate, Iran Contra; you name it.
    For me, that observation is of an almost 65 year old political scientist/lawyer, now counselor, who has studied politics all his adult life, lived and worked in DC for the Gov’t. An educated,perhaps, pov, measured against the average citizen. But, in no way a player, and I’d be surprised if you thought that any non-insider could push this system much. Either one or both of us is seriously out of touch.
    Anyway, I’ll let that go.
    For myself, sometimes I don’t think you appreciate the potential influence that some commenters here imagine of you, or for you. Necessarily, I recognize your role and influence must be played out within your milieu, your views and your personality. Of course, if you were an anarchist, none of the poohbahs would speak to you! I don’t consider myself in any way an anarchist. But I am radically alarmed at the state of our polity.
    Thanks for the unique and idiocyncratic forum you’ve got going.

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  7. Linda says:

    I had a fun Sunday while you guys fought it out at computers. I don’t claim to have any idea what Powell was thinking when he spoke before the UN. Though my opinion is that he wasn’t thinking very clearly. He really hasn’t said or written that. And my guess is that he won’t admit his mistakes until 20-30 years from now as McNamara did.
    It’s already too little and too late for me. He was speaking to some scholarship group in Cleveland,what he prefers to do now. It wasn’tnot even the local foreign relations council. Cleveland knows better as they are represented by people like Kucinich.

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  8. Steve Clemons says:

    I have tried several times to pull the plug on my use of “ilk” that many of you want to keep dragging back up. Given the way some of you assault others on this blog on occasion for their views, and their differences from your own, I’m surprised that you are as thin-skinned.
    My use of the word “ilk” was to recognize clear as day differences between my views and those of POA. I am frequently referred to someone as “corrupt” as someone whose views can be manipulated by access to a reception now and then, etc. I completely disagree with the characterization — but the demarcation between those who are engaged in regular contact and discussion with policy makers does differ from those who are not. One is not better than the other — they are different.
    It is interesting that you ascribe to my comments more judgment than I intended. You might think about that a bit.
    In any case, we are not all the same — the people are quite fragmented in their views — and I’m a genuine post-partisan centrist in my own self-estimation. Some of you seem close to anarchists. And some of you are far more conservative….but “my ilk” is one that is focusing on trying to rob from the neoconservative/pugnacious nationalist movement territory in Washington from which to operate.
    That is what I focus on — and if Colin Powell is an ally in that, all the better. What is odd is how those of you not who have so frequently defined yourselves as distinct from me (until I did the same and you blasted me for it) and my views are not focused on that objective.
    Some of you have powerful views, great ideas, passion, commitment — but you are tractionless politically for whatever reasons. I can’t explain why. Perhaps your posting on this blog gives some mileage to your views, and that’s fine by me in most cases.
    I’m a realist trying to push the needle on foreign policy — and I’m my own judge of how to get that done. I have tough standards and feel as if my colleagues and I have had some impact. Others of you seem to love to rant — but it would be better if you focused that energy on action that would make a difference.
    In any case, as I said before to those of you who seem so bothered by the word “ilk”, I apologize for any offense. None was intended. Look up the word…geez.
    But in any case, there is a difference between inside the beltway types and those outside — as I’ve been told by POA so many times. Ilk, sort, type — all are words that help describe disparate groups.
    best regards — and I hope you guys and ladies are having a fun Sunday,
    Steve Clemons

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  9. samuel burke says:

    shakespeare for steve.
    “Men at some time are masters of their fates:
    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
    this is for all of those who play the fool to a power that they know is immoral.
    remember you are not part of the club, youre an underling playing your part upon the stage for the directors.
    once your part is played you will be like those who you called “your ilk” that you so contemptuously separate yourself from.
    either it is “WE THE PEOPLE” or it is not the america the founders intended.
    ” a los pueblos les toca lo que se merecen”

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “has colin ever apologized for giving us his son, Michael, at the FCC?? WHAT was that about?”
    I believe Clinton appointed Michael Powell to the post. Ironic, isn’t it? While Powell was pursuing media purity by fining anyone in the industry that even thought about the F-word, his benefactor, Bill, was redefining the term “executive privilege”.
    Whenever I see a picture of Michael Powell, it brings to mind an image of a young black Elmer Fudd, maniacally running around washing everyone’s mouth out with soap, repeatedly muttering “thilly wabbit” under his breath.

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  11. Shawn Fassett says:

    has colin ever apologized for giving us his son, Michael, at the FCC?? WHAT was that about?

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  12. DonS says:

    “. . . off to the store for a case of gerbils, a jar of vaseline, and a red Porsche. . .”
    I gotta admit, POA, that one got me.
    A 12 step program. Hmmm. As an addiciton couselor, I’m familiar with a lot of them, but not one that exactly fills the bill here. Maybe its a niche that needs filling. Something like rose colored glasses as a mandatory higher power. Powerless over cocktails weenies. That sort of thing.

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  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Have we already forgotten the millions of Americans that protested in the streets, that were not “set up” by Bush’s lies? Should we assume they had information that Powell didn’t possess?
    What about Scott Ritter? Did Powell just miss Ritter’s input?
    Thielmann offers evidence that Powell was informed that the aluminum tubes were not suitable for centrifuges, WAY before Powell made the UN speech. I guess we are just supposed to ignore that, give Powell the benefit of the doubt, where no doubt exists?
    Powell LIED, at the behest of his slimey evil masters in the White House. He knew he was lying, but he did it anyway. And partially as a result, a million people are dead, more are going to die, our nation is being bankrupted, our armed services are seriously damaged, our credibility is ruined, our nation is less secure, far more people hate us, the Middle East is irrepairably destabilized, and we can now count our “allies” on one hand. God help us if we need to reach out for help, because the world community will undoubtedly spit in our face.
    The only thing missing here is Powell’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. He should march right to the front doors of the White House and demand it. Certainly, he deserves it. After all, he did more damage than both Bremer and Tenet combined.

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  14. arthurdecco says:

    “I have seen this affliction many times before, as it applies to the Hollywood crowd. One minute they are lawn mowing middle american neighbors, then pfft, upon recieving their first movie accredidation as Head Gaffer, they are off to the store for a case of gerbils, a jar of vaseline, and a red Porsche.” posted by POA
    LMAO!!!
    (Ain’t it the truth?)

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  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, DonS, as Steve admits, “bob”s deleted post incited him to post this fantastic snippet of halucinatory literary admiration. I fear Steve’s synaptic processes were seriously damaged by “bob”s inappropriate attack. Only by sequestering Steve in the loving arms of middle America could a cure for his affliction be rendered. But we would have to kidnap him to achieve such a goal, for he is far too starstruck to willingly submit to cohabitation with the peons.
    I have seen this affliction many times before, as it applies to the Hollywood crowd. One minute they are lawn mowing middle american neighbors, then pfft, upon recieving their first movie accredidation as Head Gaffer, they are off to the store for a case of gerbils, a jar of vaseline, and a red Porsche.
    At that point, they are almost unsalvageble, unless of course they enroll in a twelve step program, admit to their problem, and try to find a higher power that isn’t advocating priesty pedophilia or the extermination of the Muslims.

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  16. arthurdecco says:

    Mr. Clemons, You claim Wilkerson and others told you Powell was railroaded. You assert we should be upset with Bush and Cheney, rather than with Powell.
    The fact is I KNEW the information in Powell’s speech at the UN was demonstrably false – ME! – a Canadian living out in the country, fer crissakes!
    (And no, I don’t mean that I “knew”, as in “had faith”. I had read and collected the information that contradicted the propaganda being spewed by the serial liars in the Mainstream Media, the fully-owned-and-operated-by-rich people’s think tanks and the Republican Administration in the lead up to their illegal invasion of Iraq.)
    That suggests to me that Powell is
    (a) stupid,
    (b) a whore to power
    and/or
    (c) an enabling traitor.
    There can be no other rational explanation for his presentation to the United Nations – a speech filled to overflowing with irrational and easily refutable lie after lie at a time when reason and truthfulness were what was required from your political leaders.
    Imprison the sonofabitch, I say. Strip him of his accolades, then ignore him forever after.
    Mr. Clemons, POA has wiped the floor with you on this one. Some things, situations and foul traitors are indefensible.
    Powell, with his endless self-serving, “I was sandbagged!” and “What I REALLY meant to say….” is not worth the loss of your reputation defending him. You’re reminding me of the people who lined up to write letters of support to the Judge in defense of cowardly war criminal, “Scooter” Libby. (Tell me, what kind of an middle-aged asshole allows himself to be called, “Scooter”, anyway?)
    (btw, your “ilk” crack drew my rancor too! and your explanation and justification for using it was lame, lame, lame.)
    It brought immediately to mind an old R&B hook by Jean White, “Mr. Big Stuff, (Who Do You Think You Are?)”

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  17. DonS says:

    It’s a rather dangerous calculus, and perhaps the hallmark of the “good German”, to assume 1) things aren’t as bad as they appear to be and 2) things will eventually get better by increments.
    I’m as much invested in middle America as the next guy, and therefore am heartily drawn to deny the undeniable.
    But I don’t believe time is on our side. (“Our” in this case meaning, perhaps, any semblance of world stability, much less a viable two party system in the US, exercising checks and balances)
    So who, if not a Powell and the potential information he could bring to bear — albeit at the risk of his tarnished but still existent stature — will step up to the plate? Powell could get a pretty big megaphone any time he chooses. But I guess he’s too good a German, at best.
    Sorry Steve, you brought him up. He carries a lot more burden of blame than is excusable.

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  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BEFORE he got snipped, I meant to say. I think, once, long ago, he had some, but Washington ate them.

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  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Wilkerson and others have told me that they were railroaded.”
    Just like the co-defendents of any crime do.
    Everyone in prison is innocent, Steve, doncha know?
    BTW, Steve, it is time to lay to rest your assertion that I support Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich for President. If you search this blog, you will find no such advocation from me. It pains me that you have so completely perverted the point of my admonissions. What I support is ANY candidate’s right to have their candidacy equally presented by the media, and to recieve an unbiased presentation of their campaign rhetoric to the public at large. The media is not only failing to do so, they are willfully refusing to do so. And so are you. This is WRONG. I do not want the media deciding who will be PLACED in the White House, I want the voting public to decide. It is quite obvious that this is not going to be the case. The media is deciding who the candidates will be, what rhetoric will be heard, what issues will be debated, and whose warts will be hidden. And you are doing the same. I disagree with Ron Paul on a myriad of issues, and agree with him on many. Same with Kucinich. But the fact is that most American’s have NO IDEA what either candidate stands for, because the media refuses to present an equal podium. It is the same refusal YOU have advanced with your “This is my blog and I will…”, despite the fact that both Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have assumed positions that you claim to adhere to as well, and are definitely apropos for mention on a number of topics here.
    The fact that both Kucinich and Paul are the ONLY candidates that have renounced AIPAC’s influence on American foreign policy, and are both candidates that refuse to sacrifice their convictions for political expediency says volumes about why the media has sought to marginalize them. Pointing that fact out does not constitute an assertion that I intend to vote for either candidate.
    Personally, to be honest, I doubt I will vote. The gig is up, Steve. We no longer have a voice. Certainly, I will not cast a vote for the further destruction of our nation, yet that is precisely what any of the mainstream candidates stand for. Like I said to Linda, a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.
    I think it is time to concern myself with which vegetables to plant, where the elk herd is wintering, and whether or not to neuter my pup Jake. People tell me it won’t change his personality, but I’m doubtful. I know if you cut my balls off, it would sure as hell change mine.
    It woulda been nice to have known Powell he got snipped, wouldn’t it have?

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  20. Sandy says:

    I would think it is getting harder and harder….and harder….for you to keep defending the indefensible, Steve.
    A man of honor would have resigned. Period.

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  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, I can find no media account of Al-Saadi ever being released from custody. 23 hours a day of solitary confinement. His crime? Honesty.
    I wonder if Powell ever has trouble sleeping. Somehow I doubt it. If he was a man of integrity, he would be exposing the Bush Administration’s crimes, committed in decieving this nation into war. But he can’t do that, because he realizes that he is just as indictable as they are, perhaps even more so. So, instead we get these inane and self-serving mutterings, uttered while in costume, like we see above.
    They better keep me away from the editing room, because if I was in charge of his PR, he’d be pictured with a death’s skull in place of his lying maw, and he’d be standing on a million dead bodies.

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  22. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — Powell and those who worked with him discarded much intel that the Bush White House tried to make him use. He refused — but he didn’t refuse enough as he established criteria for what he would use and not use — and to Powell’s mind, the material he used was more than single-sourced. But clearly, it was wrong — and Powell has admitted as much. But you are wrong to assert that Powell knew parts of his UN speech were bald faced lies. That is inaccurate. Wilkerson and others have told me that they were railroaded. Be angry at Bush and Cheney — as I am — but I don’t think Powell is part of this crowd as you would paint him to be.
    You want Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich — and I admire your passion, but you are not going to get either into the White House. There are people inside the Bush administration who have been trying to do good things — but you seem not to be able to see that either. You work at a level of extreme that is just a bit too far.
    Sorry the “ilk” comment offended. It was not meant in any negative way. I primarly wanted to differentiate between those close to the political process and those distant. You so frequently criticize my closeness that I figured you had used something along the lines of “ilk” with me long ago.
    But as I said, no offense intended.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/stephens11072005.html
    The Lies of Colin Powell
    A Tale of Two Generals
    By ELI STEPHENS
    There are still a remarkable number of people who maintain illusions in Gen. Colin Powell, and believe he was really a “good guy” who tried his best to moderate the evil nature of the Bush administration but failed. As part of that, they actually give credence to Powell’s recent “mea a little bit culpa” speech in which Powell asserted that his February, 2003 speech to the U.N. was now “painful” for him and a permanent “blot” on his record. Of course he hid behind the claim of having “been misled about the accuracy of the intelligence on which he relied” and didn’t take any actual responsibility for what he said. This despite the fact that reports at the time (June, 2003) had Powell saying “I’m not reading this. This is bullshit,” and removing “dozens of pages” of alleged evidence.
    Supporters of Powell like to claim that Powell was just being a “good soldier,” but, with apologies to German readers, the proper colloquial term for Powell’s behavior is that of a “good German.” A “good soldier” not only doesn’t have to obey illegal orders, it is is obligation to disobey them. From Powell’s role in covering up the My Lai massacre, to his speech at the U.N. which even he recognized was filled with “bullshit,” Powell has acted to promote illegal actions; in the latter case, he played a key role in moving American “establishment” opinion to support the illegal invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and Americans. Of particular interest are statements like these which Powell made in his U.N. presentation:
    “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”
    Such a statement takes on even more significance given today’s revelation that reports as early as February, 2002 had indicated that key portions of the “intelligence” presented by Powell were sourced to a “likely fabricator.”
    Colin Powell is a free man and not only welcomed, but honored by “polite society.” A war crimes trial for his role in selling an illegal war doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. Meanwhile, another General, Iraqi Gen. Amer al-Saadi, sits in solitary confinement in a prison in Iraq, where he has been for the last 2 1/2 years. As with most prisoners held by the Americans, he has neither been convicted, tried, or even charged with any crime. Gen. al-Saadi, you’ll remember, was the Iraqi liason to the weapons inspectors, the voice of Iraq when Iraq denied having any weapons of mass destruction or WMD programs. And just what was Gen. al-Saadi’s crime? For all intents and purposes, it was speaking the truth to Powell’s lies:
    “‘I have always told the truth about these old programs,’ Saddam Hussein’s top scientific adviser said in an interview with German TV last April [2003]. ‘The future will show it.’ After surrendering to U.S. forces on April 12 [2003], al-Saadi was jailed, interrogated by the CIA and declared a prisoner of war. But his line on WMD never changed, and now -” following declarations by former weapons inspector David Kay “- it seems that al-Saadi was indeed telling the truth. ‘I’m still vegetating in solitude,’ [i.e., solitary confinement] al-Saadi wrote to his wife last month [January, 2004]. ‘[I feel] degraded.’
    And although there was talk this June about the possibility of freeing al-Saadi (and other Iraqi scientists), it appears it was just talk. Although the 2004 election has come and gone, and the Duelfer report has long since proven that al-Saadi was telling the truth to the world, his freedom, and ability to speak would still be an embarassment to the U.S., and that outweighs a man’s right to freedom in this “might makes right” world.
    The intimate connection between Powell and al-Saadi is part of why al-Saadi is still being imprisoned and silenced. In his U.N. speech, Powell said:
    “It was Gen. Saadi who last fall publicly pledged that Iraq was prepared to cooperate unconditionally with inspectors. Quite the contrary, Saadi’s job is not to cooperate, it is to deceive; not to disarm, but to undermine the inspectors; not to support them, but to frustrate them and to make sure they learn nothing.”
    Al-Saadi shot back at Powell’s slander:
    “Al-Saadi described the report as ‘unworthy of a superpower,’ and singled out Powell’s charges point by point as being fabrications.
    “In particular, he derided Powell’s assertions that Iraq attempts to hide secret information by keeping it moving in vehicles driven around the country.
    “‘All of that is fiction,’ he said. ‘It is simply not true.’
    “Saadi described Powell’s approach as a ‘a deliberate attempt to undermine the credibility and professionalism of the inspection bodies by making allegations which directly contradict their assessments or cast doubt on their credibility.'”
    History has proven that every word al-Saadi spoke was true, and every accusation made by Colin Powell (“We know that Iraq has at least seven of these mobile biological agent factories…There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more…Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons.”) was false. And still Al-Saadi rots in prison. At least we think so. As a reflection of both the way the U.S. government conceals information about the people it is holding, and the lack of curiousity on the part of the media, it’s interesting to consider what we know about the status of al-Saadi’s imprisonment. Newsweek actually ran a story in June with a picture captioned “Was el-Saadi [sic] released?”, and reported that “Former U.N. inspector David Albright said he’d recently heard credible reports that al-Saadi…might have been freed from custody,” while in this exchange which took place in the British House of Parliament in February, it is asserted rather specifically that Dr. Al-Saadi “was released by the US on 18 January 2005.” Yet the Newsweek article also reports that a “State Department official…denied al-Saadi had been freed from custody,” while in July, 2005 (i.e., well after January), Dr. Rod Barton, an Australian scientist who was a key deputy to Dr. Charles Duelfer, made a strong plea for the release of Dr. al-Saadi, which would certainly indicate that someone in a position to know still believed him to be held. Given all this, and the fact that if Gen. al-Saadi had been released, chances are we would have heard about it (and heard from him), Left I on the News considers it virutally certain that Dr. Amer al-Saadi is still being held prisoner by the Americans.
    Back in 2004, here’s what then chief weapons inspector David Kay had to say:
    “As a prisoner of war, al-Saadi can be held without charges until the Coalition declares an end to hostilities. Kay suggests that the Pentagon will ultimately relinquish al-Saadi and other scientists to Iraqi authorities, who may decide to indict them for crimes against humanity.”
    This, of course, begs the question of what war we are talking about. Regardless of the linguistic fiction of the “war on terror,” Gen. al-Saadi was an officer in the Iraqi army, and if the U.S. declared him a prisoner of war, it was the war of aggression launched by the United States, i.e., the invasion of Iraq. And, while fighting continues (obviously) in Iraq, that war succeeded in topplng the existing Iraqi government and replacing it with a new government, which has now officially been granted “sovereignty” by the United States and the United Nations, and the United States is no longer at war with the Iraqi government, i.e., those hostilities have ceased. American troops are currently in Iraq at the fictional “invitation” of the Iraqi government, helping to stabilize the country against internal opposition. The Americans clearly have no right whatsoever (not that they ever did) to continue to hold Gen. al-Saadi. But in prison (and, presumably, in solitary confinement) he remains, his voice silenced while the lying Gen. Colin Powell walks free.

    Reply

  24. arthurdecco says:

    “Why doesn’t he change his politcal Party and start trying to salvage his reputation and legacy.(?)”
    Posted by JimD
    What would be the point, JimD? There is only one political party in America nowadays – the Corporate Party.
    POA said: “The man (Powell) should be indicted for treason.
    Absolutely.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Thielmann reported to Secretary Powell’s office that they were confident the tubes were not for a nuclear program.”
    Again, read Powell’s speech carefully.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Man Who Knew
    Ex-Powell Aide Says Saddam-Weapons Threat Was Overstated
    Feb. 4, 2004
    (CBS) In February, Secretary of State Colin Powell made a surprising admission.
    He told The Washington Post that he doesn’t know whether he would have recommended the invasion of Iraq if he had been told at the time that there were no stockpiles of banned weapons.
    Powell said that when he made the case for war before the United Nations one year ago, he used evidence that reflected the best judgments of the intelligence agencies.
    But long before the war started, there was plenty of doubt among intelligence analysts about Saddam’s weapons.
    One analyst, Greg Thielmann, told Correspondent Scott Pelley last October that key evidence cited by the administration was misrepresented to the public.
    Thielmann should know. He had been in charge of analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Powell’s own intelligence bureau.
    ——————————————————————————–
    “I had a couple of initial reactions. Then I had a more mature reaction,” says Thielmann, commenting on Powell’s presentation to the United Nations last February.
    “I think my conclusion now is that it’s probably one of the low points in his long, distinguished service to the nation.”
    Thielmann was a foreign service officer for 25 years. His last job at the State Department was acting director of the Office of Strategic Proliferation and Military Affairs, which was responsible for analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat.
    He and his staff had the highest security clearances, and saw virtually everything – whether it came into the CIA or the Defense Department.
    Thielmann was admired at the State Department. One high-ranking official called him honorable, knowledgeable, and very experienced. Thielmann had planned to retire just four months before Powell’s big moment before the U.N. Security Council.
    On Feb. 5, 2003, Secretary Powell presented evidence against Saddam:
    “The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction pose to the world.”
    At the time, Thielmann says that Iraq didn’t pose an imminent threat to the U.S.: “I think it didn’t even constitute an imminent threat to its neighbors at the time we went to war.”
    And Thielmann says that’s what the intelligence really showed. For example, he points to the evidence behind Powell’s charge that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes to use in a program to build nuclear weapons.
    Powell said: “Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb. He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries even after inspections resumed.”
    “This is one of the most disturbing parts of Secretary Powell’s speech for us,” says Thielmann.
    Intelligence agents intercepted the tubes in 2001, and the CIA said they were parts for a centrifuge to enrich uranium — fuel for an atom bomb. But Thielmann wasn’t so sure.
    Experts at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the scientists who enriched uranium for American bombs, advised that the tubes were all wrong for a bomb program. At about the same time, Thielmann’s office was working on another explanation. It turned out the tubes’ dimensions perfectly matched an Iraqi conventional rocket.
    “The aluminum was exactly, I think, what the Iraqis wanted for artillery,” recalls Thielmann, who says he sent that word up to the Secretary of State months before.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Houston Wood was a consultant who worked on the Oak Ridge analysis of the tubes. He watched Powell’s speech, too.
    “I guess I was angry, that’s the best way to describe my emotions. I was angry at that,” says Wood, who is among the world’s authorities on uranium enrichment by centrifuge. He found the tubes couldn’t be what the CIA thought they were. They were too heavy, three times too thick and certain to leak.
    “Wasn’t going to work. They would have failed,” says Wood, who reached that conclusion back in 2001.
    Thielmann reported to Secretary Powell’s office that they were confident the tubes were not for a nuclear program. Then, about a year later, when the administration was building a case for war, the tubes were resurrected on the front page of The New York Times.
    “I thought when I read that there must be some other tubes that people were talking about. I just was flabbergasted that people were still pushing that those might be centrifuges,” says Wood.
    continues at…
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/10/14/60II/main577975.shtml
    Powell KNEW portions of his UN speech were bald faced lies.

    Reply

  27. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — I appreciate your views, but we will disagree on this one. I think Powell is a need and important voice. I’ve had moments doubting him and his direction too — but all in all, I think he’s honorable and attempted to do the right thing — under a boss who didn’t deserve Powell’s service.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I am sure that Colin Powell speaks on the basis of notes given to him, but this is not correct. Our inspectors have not seen that the Iraqis were moving anything away from the sites that we are visiting”….
    Hans Blix, denying an allegation by Secretary of State Colin Powell that inspectors knew of cases in which Iraq had moved banned items around before inspectors arrived on the scene.
    Heres the line of shit Blix was referring to…
    “Numerous human sources tell us that the Iraqis are moving not just documents and hard drives, but weapons of mass destruction, to keep them from being found by inspectors. While we were here in this Council chamber debating Resolution 1441 last fall, we know, we know from sources that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was dispersing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agent to various locations, distributing them to various locations in western Iraq.
    “Most of the launchers and warheads had been hidden in large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to escape detection.”
    “We also have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities.”…Colin Powell, LYING to the world.
    More horseshit from Powell….
    “And the record of Saddam Hussein’s cooperation with other Islamist terrorist organizations is clear. Hamas, for example, opened an office in Baghdad in 1999 and Iraq has hosted conferences attended by Palestine Islamic Jihad. These groups are at the forefront of sponsoring suicide attacks against Israel.
    Al-Qaida continues to have a deep interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. As with the story of Zarqawi and his network, I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al-Qaida. Fortunately, this operative is now detained and he has told his story. I will relate it to you now as he, himself, described it.
    “This senior al-Qaida terrorist was responsible for one of al-Qaida’s training camps in Afghanistan. His information comes firsthand from his personal involvement at senior levels of al-Qaida. He says bin Laden and his top deputy in Afghanistan, deceased al-Qaida leader Muhammad Atif, did not believe that al-Qaida labs in Afghanistan were capable enough to manufacture these chemical or biological agents. They needed to go somewhere else. They had to look outside of Afghanistan for help.”
    “Where did they go? Where did they look? They went to Iraq. The support that this detainee describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qaida associates beginning in December 2000. He says that a militant known as Abdallah al-Iraqi had been sent to Iraq several times between 1997 and 2000 for help in acquiring poisons and gasses. Abdallah al-Iraqi characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.”
    Heres the link to Powell’s UN speech. Read it, then come back to me and tell me that Powell didn’t know that at least some of what he was telling us was crap. Powell wasn’t “set up” by this Administration, he was COMPLICIT with this Admiinistration in laying the groundwork for a deception of historical proportions. The man should be indicted for treason.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3710.htm

    Reply

  29. Steve Clemons says:

    POA – see your email inbox.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, its not up to me to encourage “bob” in either direction. I too found his deleted post distasteful, with no constructive intellectual input, just as you did. But not near as distasteful as your “ilk” comment. You should be careful, comments such as that are a direct window into just how out of touch with Middle America you have become.

    Reply

  31. jon says:

    Powell is not some shining knight we need to come riding to the rescue. He shares blame with others in the administration for bringing us to war in Iraq. Not so much as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or Tenet, but certainly his fair share. But comparing him to Hughes is a cut too deep.
    Powell was the best of a bad bunch. Probably selected for the luster he could bring. If the rest of the administration had been of his caliber we probably would not have this disaster in the Middle east to contend with. Powell might be receiving a Nobel prize and we could be discussing the inevitability of the dawning Republican and US century. But it appears that policy and character do have some linkages.
    Powell’s performance at the UN was shameful. His rewriting of that testimony indicates just how squishy he knew his facts were. Yet he went ahead. And many others used his as their example of why the invasion was necessary.
    His tenure at State was also no glorious moment. All of State’s initiatives for Iraq were summarily canned. The Pentagon is now issuing parallel foreign policy statements. He appears to have been outmaneuvered at every turn. Perhaps he should tell us in more detail what his foreign policy successes have been, and just what actions of the administration he was able to improve.
    He forgot that as a Cabinet Secretary he could no longer be a good soldier. His abetting and collusion bring with them responsibility and a share in the judgement. If he wants to rehabilitate his reputation, Powell will have to do far more than he has so far.

    Reply

  32. Steve Clemons says:

    Bob…I tried to email you but the email bounced back. POA is wrong about the reason that I had your post deleted. It was gross ad hominemism, and you aren’t welcome here if that is the level of your commentary.
    Here is the note I tried to send. You decide what you want to do:
    Dear Bob —
    Your post on my blog could have been much better. I’m not one to censor many comments on my blog….Look back, and you’ll see I’ve endured a lot. But you engaged in pretty savage ad hominem attack and called me a whore. If that’s the level of your commentary — and I don’t believe it is — you aren’t welcome to post on the blog. If you can participate in a constructive way, even if you challenge and disagree with my comments, you are totally welcome to continue to post. I’m blind copying POA on this as he will tell you that I’m pretty fair. I will leave it up to him whether he wants to encourage you to stick around or not.
    Despite his and my obvious differences, we tend to get along just fine and respect each other at a core level. But if you persist in the kind of name-calling you did this morning, and that you began to do again — you are not welcome here.
    I hope you choose to stay and participate — but drop the vitriolic approach.
    Best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Now Steve deleted my previous post.”
    It must be because of what “ilk” you belong to.
    You wouldn’t happen to be an American, would you? If so, we must respectfully, (or not), ask you to sit down and shut up. Or better yet, bend over.
    Being of the specific “ilk” known as “citizen”, you obviously do not have the mental capacity to understand the intracacies through which the Washington gladiators must manuever.

    Reply

  34. Steve Clemons says:

    bob — you engaged in an ad hominem attack. I now have some screeners who deactivated your comment, which I looked at. Your post actually inspired my post about Powell. I won’t be intimidated by you or any others in what I decide to post.
    I won’t put it back up because it’s name-calling. Smarten up your criticisms, and I’d be happy to leave them up. But frankly, I’d be just as happy if you decided to take the name-calling elsewhere.
    And no, I don’t have the balls to leave that kind of message up. That’s a silly comment, and I think you are capable of better.
    Best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  35. bob says:

    Dont forget that Colin helped cover-up the massacre in MY LAI in Vietnam 34 years ago. We killed innocent kids and women but Colin had to play the poodle like he did for Bush and Cheney in 2003 prior to the war. I hope Americans will nevr forget what we did in MY LAI.
    Now Steve deleted my previous post. You are still pathetic apologist for Colin Powell. Leave my comment on your blog if you have the balls.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, your “ilk” comment perfectly underscores the poisonous elitism that you people are afflicted with. Man, it pissed me off. I’m not pimping for these fucking murderous monsters, you are. Talk about blind? I’m not making excuses for bringing this nation to its kness by prattling some inane self serving bullshit about “gladiators”, you are. How are these fucking “gladiators” doing at managing our affairs, Steve?
    Yeah, poor little Colin Powell, “set up” by the big meanie Bush bunch. But gee, if he only had a role in the Iran dog and pony show, then, by golly, he’d show us what he is made of. Sorry about those dead Iraqis, sorry about the integrity of our armed services, sorry about our credibility before the world community, its all a big frame up, and Colin’s hands are squeeky clean. And hey gee golly, isn’t it wonderful that Angel Powell is using humor to set up his criticism of the Bush Administration? I mean gosh, how dastrardly of the big mean Bush bunch to cause us long lines at the airport? I mean gee, couldn’t they have just confined their efforts to killing a million or so Iraqis? How dare them inconvienience the flying public!
    My “ilk”, indeed.
    Does anyone own a mirror in Washington, or are you people afraid of them by now?

    Reply

  37. Steve Clemons says:

    JimD — I’d be happy if General Powell helped save and reorient the Republican Party. We need a house-cleaning in the Republican sphere — and the Democratic. For all of the hyperventilation here about what would be ideal in our world, I would like to remind that the House and the Senate are governed by one party — and I think that party is AWOL right now. I refuse to support Dems unconditionally because they so frequently disappoint. I wrote before the 2006 race that I hoped Dems would not win the Senate because they wouldn’t be ready to take on the responsibility for redirecting the nation — but they did win, and now are as responsible as the White House for what is going on in Washington.
    So, that is a long-winded way of saying that I am for sensible, responsible views on both sides of the aisle. And frankly, I think Colin Powell is closer to the objectives you folks say you are about than you give him credit for.
    But end of subject for me — more to do today.
    Best,
    Steve Clemons
    The Washington Note

    Reply

  38. JimD says:

    Why doesn’t he change his politcal Party and start trying to salvage his reputation and legacy.

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…but one of the things that many folks of your ilk…”
    What “ilk” would that be, Steve? A taxpaying citizen whose kid is going to be paying for the actions of these bastards, and who realizes Powell’s actions helped Bush murder over a million human beings? If you want to drive it down to “ilk” talk, theres no blood on MY hands, Steve. Can Powell say the same?

    Reply

  40. samuel burke says:

    Be diplomatic steve, dont let your morality color your reporting.
    Who cares if hundreds of thousands are dead due to an illegal war based on proven lies, or that millions of mothers fathers and children are displaced and living in terror.
    who cares if the entire middle east is coming apart at the seams, the important thing is not to blame anyone in particular or to mention aipac or to say that israel is the reason why they hate us, or to speak about the crimes israel commits against a population of abused arabs.
    worry about the dreaded cuban lobby, they are the menace steve. keep swiping at windmills while the dragon rapes the constitution.
    be an american hero!!!
    remain silent.

    Reply

  41. samuel burke says:

    Be diplomatic steve, dont let your morality color your reporting.
    Who cares if hundreds of thousands are dead due to an illegal war based on proven lies, or that millions of mothers fathers and children are displaced and living in terror.
    who cares if the entire middle east is coming apart at the seams, the important thing is not to blame anyone in particular or to mention aipac or to say that israel is the reason why they hate us, or to speak about the crimes israel commits against a population of abused arabs.
    worry about the dreaded cuban lobby, they are the menace steve. keep swiping at windmills while the dragon rapes the constitution.
    be an american hero!!!

    Reply

  42. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — this is a topic you and I completely disagree on. It’s good to have folks outside the beltway putting pressure on Washington and the gladiators here to try and move policy and politics in healthier directions — but one of the things that many folks of your ilk seem blind to is that Washington is not really a binary place, filled with just good people and bad. Powell is judicious — and bailed out this country on numerous occasions when Bush might have done great harm, even before the invasion of Iraq.
    In my view, Powell was set up for his UN speech — and I think he feels it was a low point for him, and the nation — but at the same time Powell’s doctrine, his brand of thinking about problems, and his commentary today deserve my and your respect.
    I expect a lot of vitriol from you on this subject — but I’m a fan of Colin Powell, and appreciate his willingness to speak about what this country should be doing.
    Best regards to you,
    Steve

    Reply

  43. hayduke says:

    pissed off american: you sure speak for me. these comments of ‘freedom’ from a man who could have made a difference, but chose to please his boss instead, make me want to throw up. hey colin, where are the bodies? give us evidence of bush and cheney’s charade. but then coming from the father of the former FCC who set that area back into the stone ages at the behest of his right wing wacko’s, that is probably way too much to ask.

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If he was Secretary of State in any other administration than this one, I think Powell would be in Tehran, secretly, doing some tough deal-making with Iran’s leaders.”
    ROFLMAO!!!!! You mean like he did in Iraq?
    Unbelievable, Steve.
    Powell belongs on dock, facing a judge, answering charges next to Cheney and Bush.
    These belated little chickenshit mumblings of his to not erase the fact of a million dead Iraqis. Nor do they erase the fact he very probably possesses knowledge that would help us put Cheney and Bush in prison. Powell is an embarrassment, and should either spill the beans, or STFU and fade into obscurity.

    Reply

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