Am I saying Barak Obama won’t be President? Not at all, the man I’m
talking about had his chance at the Presidency eliminated by his link
to the invasion of Iraq. I’m talking about Colin Powell, soldier,
statesman and reluctant warrior.
He was born in Harlem, to Jamaican parents…earned a degree from City
College of New York and was commissioned a second Lieutenant in the
Army upon graduation. He was a career soldier for 35 years, wounded
twice in Vietnam and rising to the rank of 4-star General.
He became Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor in 1987 and in
1989 he was named as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. In January 2001
President George W. Bush named Powell as Secretary of State. From the
first day he was the most popular and arguably the most experienced
man in the White House.
He was the author of the “Powell Doctrine” which essentially says
before you commit the US military, you make sure the objective is
clear and of critical importance. If so, you commit massive force and
resources. We exercised the “Powell Doctrine” in the first Persian
Gulf War (the one we won), and we ignored it completely in the last one.
Powell clashed with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld on the need to
invade Iraq and tried to talk George Bush out of it, explaining the
huge potential downside of invading an Arab country. As a result he
was marginalized and bypassed during much of decision making process.
The Secretary of State, a 4-star General, was essentially taken out of
And still, as a good soldier and loyal member of the administration he
carried the US argument for invasion before the UN, backed by shaky
evidence from an intelligence gathering operation that ran through the
White House, not to it. He was the man who sacrificed his reputation
and future political career to try to sell the world on the need for a
war he thought was a mistake. He was loyal…to a fault, and because of
that he’s no longer mentioned as a potential Commander in Chief, a job
he’s more qualified for than any man in nearly fifty years (since
He is a Republican, albeit a moderate one…basically he’s not a
political person. He hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race, he’s
contributed to McCain, but is on good terms with Clinton and Obama as
well. Which gives him an interesting range of options, he might do
nothing…he might endorse Obama, which would add little to his campaign
or…and this is a big or…he might become John McCain’s Vice
Presidential candidate, which wouldn’t add much to that campaign
either (two moderate Republicans, both with military backgrounds, no
real regional sway). BUT it would take some of the African American
vote from Obama, and in a close race that might be enough.
And remember…since Powell left the Bush administration after the first
term, he has made it clear (as have the authors of numerous books on
the war), that he tried to at least slow the race to war, and better
still…if he’s in another administration he might be able to slow or
stop the next one.