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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Gee, ya think?
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that part of his dramatic testimony to the U.N. Security Council before the Iraq war was based on intelligence that appears to have been unreliable. -- CNN

The rest, of course, was complete crap.

The worst administration in American history has for over three years now had way more credibility with much of the public than it ever deserved. Not much foreign policy experience? Well, they've got Powell at State. A bunch of chickenhawks? Well, there's Powell, y'know, who was in Vietnam. A bunch of silver-spoon rich white guys? Powell is black and not from a rich family.

Much of the popular story of the (first) Gulf War is a lie; the true story is a lot nastier and bloodier. But in the spring of 1991 the leaders in that war had a shiny glow about them. But Powell wasn't a prissy twit like Bush Sr., and he wasn't to blame for the lousy economy. Powell wasn't creepy like Cheney, or profane like Schwartzkopf. The appearance was that he did his job as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with quiet competence. His glow was the brightest, and lasted the longest.

In December 2000, before the Supreme Court decided to give the presidency to aWol, the Bush campaign paraded Powell before the camera as their choice for Secretary of State. His glow hadn't worn off, and many people (myself included) were at the least confused into thinking that maybe W wouldn't be so awful in foreign policy since he would have Powell working for him. I suspect that this nomination, before they were really entitled to make it, gave the Bushies some ammunition against those who were pushing for full recounts.

I know a lot more about Powell now than I did then. He's a fraud. He tried to cover up the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. He was up to his stars in Iran-Contra. The first Gulf War was pretty much genocide of Iraqi soldiers and civilians (first by U.S. bombs, then by U.S. troops, and then by Saddam's forces against civilians while U.S. troops stood idly by and let those mass graves get filled), and Powell again was a major player in all of that. In a just world, by 2000 he would have been in a prison somewhere for war crimes. Instead, he was using his ill-gotten credibility to boost the chances of an obviously incompetent presidential candidate.

His February 2003 UN speech was not an abberation which sullied the reputation of a great man. It was the crowning achievement of a life of crime.