Colin Powell’s tenure as secretary of state will likely be remembered best for three things: his United Nations presentation on Iraq’s suspected WMDs; his opposition to the successful “surge” into that country; and his heinous role in allowing Scooter Libby’s prosecution while protecting his own aide — the real leaker of Valerie Plame’s name, Richard Armitage. We can forgive the first — after all, every intelligence agency in the West believed Iraq had WMDs — and in fact Powell has expressed remorse for his role. He’s never admitted error in opposing the surge nor apologized for his role in the Plame matter. Now he spends his time as an apologist for the president.
On “Face the Nation” this Sunday, Powell had this exchange with host Bob Schieffer:
BOB SCHIEFFER: What do you think the implications and the fallout of the Trayvon Martin case will be?
COLIN POWELL: I think that it will be seen as a questionable judgment on the part of the judicial system down there. But I don’t know if it will have staying power. These– these cases come along, and they– they blaze across the midnight sky, and then after a period of time, they’re forgotten.
What precisely is Powell’s beef with the “judicial system down there”? Is there some basis for his suspicion that six Florida jurors got it wrong? He doesn’t say, nor does he have the good sense to even go so far as the president in acknowledging the obligation to accept the verdict. (By the way, notice how that federal civil rights action investigation has disappeared from view?)
Powell is fanning the flames of racial animosity, just as he does when he asserts that voter ID laws are “being put in place to slow the process down and make it likely that fewer Hispanics and African Americans might vote.” Intentional racism, he claims. (The Supreme Court’s support for voter ID laws and finding that prevention of voter fraud escapes his view.) Alas, plaintiffs have lost a string of voter ID cases because they could not actually prove the laws (which allow for free, widely available IDs) adversely affect African American voters.
All of this is likely to hold Powell in good esteem among liberal elites and the administration in particular, as was his decision to endorse Sen. Barack Obama as an “historic” figure over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose views and voting record more closely tracked his own outlook, at least before he became an unremitting apologist for Obama and the race card game, in which the president happily indulges.
In the same interview, Powell completed his post-Bush conversion to the left’s foreign policy by warning against action in Egypt and Syria. (In the latter case, he winds up to the president’s left; the White House appears ready to act, however belatedly.) He defends Egypt’s Nasser-like Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi (“He feels it is his place now to bring order to the society.”) He seems unaware that in condoning Egypt’s oppressors, first Morsi and now Sissi, the U.S. won’t — as he puts it “when things have quieted down” — have much credibility.
Syria’s use of WMDs does not seem to faze him, putting him in the peculiar position of having advocated military action when WMDs didn’t really exist and cautioned against action when they were actually used.
Powell, since misleading the United Nations, arguing against the surge strategy and covering for the real culprit in the Plame flap, has now taken up the causes of racial paranoia and amoral realpolitik. In Georgetown, he’ll be lauded; in history, not so much.