The Airing of Grievances
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Colin Powell: Treated Like A Red-Headed Step Child Until The Bitter End
As you've likely seen, Frank has already hit us up with a superb Powell write-up up here. But, with some additional details coming forth in an article in today's Washington Post I felt the need to chime in. Turns out that Powell played the chump role right down to the very bitter end. According to the Post:

[Powell planned to resign a few months ago, but apparently] "had second thoughts and had prepared a list of conditions under which he would be willing to stay. They included greater engagement with Iran and a harder line with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ....[But Powell] was not asked to stay. A senior State Department official said Powell made no demands of the president and gave no hints that he might stay, an account echoed by White House aides."
So, apparently Powell's last gasp effort to restore even a modicum of dignity to his formerly good name, never even made it off the ground. Purportedly ready to make one last stand and the door slammed right in his face. Run along now boy your services are no longer needed.

To be fair, as yours truly noted in the Comments to Frank's post Powell was in a truly unenviable situation these last four years. On the one hand, his military training resulted in a need to be fiercely loyal to the administration. But on the other, that same background purportedly calls for carrying oneself with the utmost honor and dignity. Obviously, simultaneously adhering to both of those priniciples during his tenure at State was nothing short of impossible. That being the case, Colin had to go with one or the other, and, from where I sit, the choice he made is one that he will regret for the rest of his life. As we all know, Powell opted for loyalty. By doing so, he did a grave disservice to himself as well as his country and, as a result, leaves office with his credibility shot to hell and his dignity lost in the very deep recesses of George Bush's ass. His worst moment, and the point of no return, undoubtedly coming during his his February 5, 2003 address to the U.N. Security Council (and the world) concerning the since proved to be non-existent weapons in Iraq:

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources."
In the end, the strongest emotion I feel for Colin Powell is sympathy. Yes, of course, there is a good deal of disdain, but sympathy carries the day. He hitched his cart to the wrong wagon and paid a spectacular price -- his formerly good name gone and his inner peace presumably not far behind. Used up. Kicked to the curb. And left to wonder what might have been. And, to me, that's about as sad as it can get.
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