Colin Powell Needs to Retire
Don’t get me wrong. There is much about Colin Powell that I like. But that does not mean that I have to be foolish in my assessment of the Secretary of State. I admire any man who served two real tours of duty in Vietnam as much as I despise the man, John Kerry who says he served two tours and did not. My reasons for thinking Powell should retire is based on what he has said beginning with the assertion that one of his main jobs is to advise the President of the United States. Well, he has given President Bush some bad advice along the way. And that is the beginning of my argument Powell needs to pack his bags and go home. Salsa made in New York City has a bad reputation, and so does State Department leadership in some very vital areas.
The son of Jamaican immigrants has done some worthwhile things, and these are worthy of note. For instance I like his account of his experience as an infantry lieutenant fresh from Ft. Benning to the Fulda Gap in Germany, where it was expected the Soviet Union would follow the traditional path of invasion. Shown his battle position he said, “…my captain put me in the field and he said, Between that tree and that tree is what you are supposed to do in the strategy of containment.”
"Well, what's my mission?" he asked the Captain.
"When the Russian army comes, stop it," He replied.
“Well, I can handle that.”
I like that positive attitude, with maybe just a touch of naiveté. But the can do attitude is the best trait of the successful soldier.
Risking being compared to Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar I would like to point out other laudable things that catch my attention. While doing so, I protest that my desire Colin Powell retire from the State Department is not a desire he should retire from living and serving. But I would like to see him return to his level of competence. For instance his two combat tours in Vietnam were distinguished by the exercise of his abilities. He rose to the top of his profession, not as a graduate of West Point but from the position of being an ROTC student. He has distinguished himself in many ways, such as in his association with America’s Promise, an organization that challenges Americans to scale up their investment in youth, and committed to making America's youth a national priority. Colin Powell has done many great things but his role as Secretary of State is not one of them.
Memorable quotes from his successful life include the following:
“Challenge young people by having high expectations of them; engage them with the opportunity to realize those expectations through constructive, character-building activities.”
“Some men achieve fame as witnesses to great events. Some men are renowned because they have participated in seminal events. And some men are venerated for their talent to interpret such events.”
My complaint with Colin Powell is that in the end he failed in the application of the last quote. He has failed to interpret the past and understand current events.
General Powell was selected by President George W. Bush as his Secrerary of State in January, 2001. As the first African-American to hold this high office in the United States Government it may be that there is a reluctance to replace him if the fact he has been promoted beyond his level of competence has been recognized by the Bush Administration. I say if, because the State Department has a history of actions contrary to the best interests of the United States through history. So some more State Department follies could actually be missed.
The straw that broke the camel’s back with me came in connection with the continuation of the myth that Bush stole the 2000 election from Al Gore. Thirteen Democratic congressmen demanded in July that UN observers be invited to monitor the upcoming presidential election. One of the few things Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary has done right was reject their request, yet Colin Powell did not have as good sense as Annan did. He invited the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to monitor our election anyway. The only excuse I can make for him is that he must be the victim of the Bronx’s historically defective educational system or the lead based paint previously used on window sills that caused him to loose all appreciation for American institutions and sovereignty.
His actions thrilled House Democrats. But then when he retired from the Army some of them had reason to believe he might be one of them and a potential candidate for a presidential nomination as a Democratic candidate. He certainly has given George Bush’s enemies plenty of propaganda material. Representative Barbara Lee, who loves the Taliban more than national security said, "We sincerely hope that the presence of the monitors will make certain that every person's voice is heard, and every person's vote is counted." Continuing the lie that they weren't in 2000.
If you love American sovereignty, you should agree with me that we do not need a Secretary of State with so little understanding as to try to intrude foreigners into the American political process. I wonder why we are part of the United Nations anyhow? The ODIHR would also have to tread on State sovereignty as well. Florida elections officials have already said that foreign observers cannot come within 50 feet of the polls. If Secretary Powell does not have any better sense than to bring them, I hope the State of Florida will defend their sovereignty by shooting these intruders when they seek to violate the fifty-foot limitation.
This was not the first incidence of Colin Powell getting it wrong and giving wrong advice to President Bush. His most significant error is connected with the error I would call number two, an error which he actually repeated five times. That error was saving Yasser Arafat, which he did five times before President Bush put an end to his folly in a public policy speech on the 24th of June 2002. But Arafat is still head of the PLO and I place this continuation in part on the fact Colin Powell continues to be wrong headed on so many things where the Middle East and Israel is concerned. The most significant error he has made is the promotion of the Roadmap to Peace for Israel and the Palestinians. In fact the whole discussion about a Palestinian State shows an ignorance, willful or otherwise, concerning the way the modern Middle East was set up by the British, and in particular how and why the Kingdom of Jordan came into being. It is not that I expect Powell to be always right, but there are some things we should never be wrong on, and these are some of the areas where he is failing.
The land for peace movement has been wrongheaded ever since its inception. And Powell has been continuously close enough to the action to realize that. He can call for the world community to fight Hamas, but he cannot seem to comprehend the radical Palestinian groups are just a reflection of the overall evil of Palestinian leadership that hates America as much as they hate Israel. The non-elected State Department’s agenda is in opposition to the muzzled beliefs of many among the military. It is my opinion that the State Department careerists are more interested in their piece of the power pie than they are in Israel or the national security that is a benefit of having Israel remain intact in the Middle East. Both Gary Bauer and Newt Gingrich have both spoken harshly against the State Department.
It is my opinion that tampering with the security of Israel is equivalent to tempting God. The Roadmap Plan looks to me as a capitulation to terrorism anyway and it is ill conceived and plainly wrong headed to anyone who knows anything about the Middle East, the Arab mind, and has genuine goodwill toward Israel. Powell’s are of international expertise should be seen as confined to the Far East and Soviet Union, when we look at where the concentration of his life has been. He is not moving on his feet to learn the truth about the realities of the Middle East, America’s historical conflict with Islam, and the role Israel has in our life. Retire, General, and quit hurting the nation you once served well.
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Buchanan, Georgia 30113