Saturday, April 23, 2005

Kung Powell Chicken

Am I the only one sick and tired of the manner in which Colin Powell chooses to make his supposedly important opinion known? The most current manifestation of this abject phenomenon is his secondhand weighing-in on tonsorial adventurer/motivational speaker John Bolton, whose nomination for UN diplomat is merely the latest in a long line of "fuck you very much"es from the second (and possibly last) Bush administration.

The affair also marks Mr Powell's most serious conflict with the White House since leaving the administration in January. His telephone conversations about Mr Bolton with two Republican senators, Lincoln Chafee and Chuck Hagel, were private, but Mr Powell's aides confirmed the calls had been made and let it be known that he had given Mr Bolton mixed reviews for his performance as an under-secretary of state in the administration's first term.

The aides told the Washington Post and the New York Times that his remarks had fallen far short of an endorsement, and had raised concern over his harsh treatment of more junior analysts and diplomats whose views did not match his own.

Mr Powell had already declined to sign a letter by seven other former secretaries of state endorsing Mr Bolton, and his former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has told the New York Times that Mr Bolton would be an "abysmal ambassador".

Mr Powell's entry into the Bolton row is an embarrassment for President Bush, who gave the nominee his emphatic support on Thursday and dismissed resistance to the appointment as a partisan Democratic manoeuvre.

Exactly what is Powell trying to salvage at this point? Certainly his reputation as the ultimate company man is cast in stone, and it's not as if he's ever cultivated a political career. Could this be a cynical attempt to set the stage for a 2008 showdown between the military men, against Wesley Clark? Anything's possible, but this is really just Powell's usual M.O. Anytime he's had something critical to say, it's been either through subordinates, or after he's out of his appointed office -- or in this case, both.

The main single event that convinced many people who initially supported the invasion of Iraq (including, reluctantly, myself) was Powell testifying about the absolute certitude he had that the Iraqis were up to something, and we had to act, and soon. It didn't mean anything coming from the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld Axis Of Lying Shitbirds, but Powell gave the argument credibility for a lot of serious people. Considering Powell got his start on the way up by helping coverup the My Lai massacre, the fact that he had as much credibility as he did says something, mainly that Americans are forgetful.

Let's just say that Powell's credibility is more or less in the crapper at this point, and one way to resurrect it would be to consider that if he has something to say, he oughta fucking come out and say it like a man. This sotto voce bullshit don't play, not at this level.

As the history of great powers takes place, every juncture is a critical one, so saying that we're at a critical juncture in our history would be an obscene Friedmanesque cliché. But the stakes haven't been this high since the height of the Cold War and mutually assured destruction -- and maybe not even then.

The USA is about to undergo a very serious tectonic shift in all phases -- economically, militarily, culturally, politically. We are about to be deposed as the big dogs, and it will not be a painless process. How we decide to play with others is going to be huge in determining just how soft our landing will be.

Putting an asshole like John Bolton at the UN will make the landing much like that of Wile E. Coyote and his trusty anvil. Bolton is not just an asshole, he's an incompetent, dangerous asshole. Powell knows all this. His first loyalty is not to the diplomatic corps, nor to this malignant tumor of an administration, nor even to what's left of the Republican Party.

Powell's primary loyalty is supposed to be to the citizens of the United States of America, and as such, if he has something to say about the corrupt, inept menace that's eating away this country from the inside, he needs to fucking stand up and say so. Time is running out, and while history forgives principled subordination of partisan rhetoric, it does not forgive weaselly pussies.

This is an opportunity for Powell to come clean once and for all, and shed light on the political mycosis of this rotten gang. He shouldn't keep squandering it by having his assistants and buffers relay his phone calls to the media.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have felt this about Powell forever. He should speak like a man or STFU.

And the blood of all the dead Iraqis and Americans - including 9/11 dead - is on his hands as much as Cheney or any of these other nazis.

There's a truly special place in hell for the Powells of this world.

Love your blog, have bookmarked you

- Sharkbabe

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