I realize I’m about 10 years late with this post, but cut me some slack.
I was watching Oliver Stone’s W. before the Super Bowl yesterday, because I’m only now able to look at the story of George W. Bush as entertainment, rather than the American tragedy it was to live through, and I was continually struck by how well retired four star general and George W. Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell is portrayed.
Throughout the movie, we are led to believe that it was stupid W, conniving Vice President Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, etc, who continued to push for the war in Iraq, while poor, virtuous Colin Powell attempted in vain to stop them from implementing such a poorly conceived and disastrous strategy.
I’m sorry, did I miss the press conference where the Secretary of State was stripped of all power? Did I miss the time that Colin Powell resigned from office before being asked to get America into a war he did not believe in? Have I forgotten all of the wonderful public work Powell has done since then to teach us about the errors of his ways that allowed him to sell us a war he himself did not believe in? I mean, if Colin Powell had been willing to run as a Democrat (or even a Republican) who is anti-war, I can literally think of no better vessel for that message in American politics.
Quite the contrary, it was Powell himself who gave the now-infamous speech at the UN in which he justified war with Iraq over things like “aluminum tubes” that can only be used to make centrifuges and “yellow cake” uranium, none of which turned out to have been in Iraq, after all. Woops, not to worry, only between 100-650,00 people died during that excursion!
No, instead, Powell has receded from public life, still enjoying the reputation as one of America’s finest statesman, bipartisan appreciation for his service, and I’m sure millions of dollar. That’s some principled stand for peace, Colin.