Monday, November 15, 2004

...They Just Fade Away

Another indication of the neocons consolidation of power in the second Bush Administration. Powell's resignation, had it occurred at any number of critical junctures over the last two years, could have meant something. As it is, it's just a concession of defeat offered to his neocon opponents.

Powell was nothing more than a useful idiot in Bush's "I'm a moderate" charade. He was a beard, nothing more, and as such his resignation merits notice only because it unmistakably signals the absolute ascendancy of the neocons.

I will give Colin his props in one respect, however. He would on occasion tell the truth. He would on occasion forego the lies the media charitably characterize as spin and, whether out of principle or his own sense of dignity, acknowledge the truth. He did so on May 16, 2004 following a humiliating attempt by his staff to silence the Secretary of State in the middle of an appearance on Meet The Press. After Powell insisted that the interview continue, the following exchange between Russert and Powell took place:

RUSSERT: How concerned are you that some of the information you shared with the world is now inaccurate and discredited?

POWELL: I'm very concerned. When I made that presentation in February 2003, it was based on the best information that the Central Intelligence Agency made available to me. We studied it carefully. We looked at the sourcing and the case of the mobile trucks and trains. There was multiple sourcing for that. Unfortunately, that multiple sourcing over time has turned out to be not accurate, and so I'm deeply disappointed.

But I'm also comfortable that at the time that I made the presentation it reflected the collective judgment, the sound judgment, of the intelligence community, but it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading. And for that I'm disappointed, and I regret it.
One needn't be particularly imaginative to speculate as to the response Rumsfeld or Cheney might have offered - most likely a condescending lecture about how "the world isn't perfect, Tim." Powell's expression of disappointment and regret was an admission of culpability that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld would never have the decency to acknowledge.

Goodbye, Colin. It would have been nice had you remained in office as a counterweight against the neocon cabal, but you'd already demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to act as that counterweight. Enjoy your board memberships, honoraria and celebrity. And console yourself that you were right on Iraq and the neocons were wrong. But are you satisfied that you did all you could have done to avert this catastrophe?

It took McNamara nearly 30 years to finally tell the American people the truth about Vietnam. How long will it take you to tell the truth about Iraq, Sec. Powell?

P.S. I can't quite believe what I just saw. As I was finishing this post Powell came to the podium at the State Dept. to make a statement and take a few questions. As the first question was being asked the camera swung away from Powell and focused for a period of perhaps 8 seconds on the entrance to the press room - an incident eerily reminiscent of the Meet The Press contretemps.


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