Monday, October 20, 2008

Colin Powell: All is forgiven

I used to be an ardent admirer of Colin Powell, and always followed his career closely. One reason for my unusual interest in Powell may have been that we shared some common elements in our personal backgrounds. We were both born in Harlem, both had foreign-born parents, and both were raised in the South Bronx. And then, of course, we both also served in the Army. But that's an even bigger stretch.

I lost my respect for Powell, however, when he failed to quit as Secretary of State in the Bush Administration after objecting to the invasion of Iraq. He recently said he spent 2-1/2 hours trying to persuade President George W. Bush not to invade. It was particularly disappointing that he allowed himself to be disgraced when he appeared before the United Nations to defend the invasion.

All is forgiven now that Powell has endorsed Barack Obama to be President. He declared his support for Obama in the eloquent style that I had always associated with Powell. His critique of the Bush Administration was so penetrating and his assault on John McCain's Presidential campaign tactics so devastating that it erased whatever hard feeling I had harbored about the former Secretary of State.

I am amused by Pat Buchanan's denunciation of Powell's Obama endorsement. Buchanan made a big deal of the fact that Powell's career was largely promoted during Republican Administrations, starting as an Army major on the White House staff when Richard Nixon was in office. Powell was subsequently named National Security Adviser and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W.Bush and then was appointed Secretary of State by George W. Bush.

Buchanan complained that Powell was therefore disloyal to the Republican Party because he has failed to show his appreciation to the party for his meteoric career success.

By endorsing Obama, Powell has actually shown a greater loyalty to his country for he recognizes that Obama is a better choice for the Presidency than John McCain.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


I felt exactly the same way you did about General Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama.

General Powell spoke for more than 6 minutes and never once referred to a note or script. I think that shows an abundance of sincerity and conviction. He was very sure of himself and certain that he was making the right decision.

I have always thought that HE would be the first Black President and, instead, he is trying to insure that Barack Obama is the first, although I don't think race had anything to do with the endorsement.

Colin Powell was the icing on the cake of Barack Obama's election. I really don't think John McCain and Sarah Palin stand a chance of being elected now.

I saw a fellow at an Obama campaign stop the other day with a sign that read:

"Sarah, I can see the end of your political career from my house."

Very clever...

Monday, October 20, 2008 7:11:00 PM  
Blogger Hoots said...

Mort, you may already appreciate that Colin Powell and Barack Obama both worked as Shabbos goyim in their younger days. I recalled that piece of trivia about Powell but didn't know about Obama until I did a search just now.

Monday, October 20, 2008 7:51:00 PM  
Blogger Sylvia K said...

A great post as always and I, too, was a great admirer of Powell and was so upset with his support of Bush. Now I can also say, "all is forgiven". He came through as I had hoped he would. You've shared a background with some very interesting people in your life time.

Monday, October 20, 2008 8:51:00 PM  
Blogger Lydia said...

You expressed perfectly my yo-yo impressions of Powell. It was also interesting to read of the similarities between the two of you.

Monday, October 20, 2008 9:16:00 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

I always felt Colin Powell performed many of his duties as Secretary of State under duress. Some of the things he said back then came across as "they are making me say this".

The man had great integrity and thefore I was confused by some of his actions during his time in the cabinet. His actions back then were disappointing but I was glad that at least it came across that he didn't like what he was doing rather than trying to insinuate that he was acting in our best interest.

I was glad he was there during that time and for me there is nothing to forgive.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 1:44:00 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Actually, Buchanan got it wrong; Powell showed great loyalty to the Republican party by not speaking up before now. He never seemed bitter at the way the Bush boys treated him and has kept silent until this moment.

I think he sees the great danger to our country if McCain/Palin win and felt the love of his country finally was stronger than any loyalty to a party that treated him so harshly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 2:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mari Meehan said...

I think Powell was uncomfortable with what he put forth at the UN preceding the war. He was left out of the loop on many occasions which was certainly an insult. It also precluded his ability to look more deeply into the information he was being fed. That paired with his military background; ingrained loyalty, caused him to act as he had been trained - as a "good soldier".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 3:33:00 PM  
Blogger janinsanfran said...

I don't know that I can say, for myself, that ALL is forgiven Powell for this endorsement. But a lot certainly can forgiven. His calm, reasoned decision to speak for a more inclusive, more thoughtful America, was a gift to us all.

Sunday, October 26, 2008 7:58:00 AM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

I always have liked Powell and admired that he did his job and did it well (well, as well as he could given his nut job boss) until the end.

I also respect that he didn't whine when he was treated badly. He is an honorable man of dignity and wisdom and his support for Obama clinched my vote.

Sunday, October 26, 2008 9:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever weakness Powell displayed under the Bush administration is past. He has shown his true self with words we so desperately needed to hear. He's someone who does not need to "wear" his love for his country. We feel it when he speaks.

Monday, October 27, 2008 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger joared said...

Seems I recall Powell had a lengthy deliberation with himself before affiliating with the Republican Party many years ago. Wonder if he regrets his choice then?

I have little regard for Buchanan's opinion and respect Powell much more for finally stepping forth for the good of his country.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5:54:00 AM  

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