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janbb's avatar

Shall we say a farewell to Colin Powell?

Asked by janbb (59375points) 1 month ago

Whatever you thought of his politics, he was arguably one of the last decent statesmen.

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20 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I was really sad to hear this today, I very much admired him.

elbanditoroso's avatar

He was an interesting character.

On the one hand, a smart, personable guy who had a lot to offer,

On the other hand, a person who lied (under orders) to the UN and to Congress as a pretext for inading Iraq and starting the Afghanistan war after 9/11… and look at the damage that continued for 20 years. He out-and-out lied. Which is something that US Army generals are not supposed to do.

History will record his career as mixed. I’m the same way, He did some good things, but there are some huge blots in his story.

product's avatar

He had such bloody hands, it’s difficult to think of much else.

JLeslie's avatar

His family’s story of immigrating to the US and their children going on to be successful and upwardly mobile is the American story I grew up with.

He worked for a Jewish family that owned a furniture store who told him to go to college. He always had planned to go to school, but he remembered that moment as very meaningful that they cared about him. Powell also learned Yiddish living and working in that part of the City. I think it is a nice story and so typical of NYC, and what I think of as my America. People from different backgrounds working together to help themselves, their community, and the country.

He benefited from NYC public schools K-12, including attending college through the city’s free program that was a well respected college system, and ROTC.

Supposedly, Powell had taken out a lot of misinformation before presenting to the UN, but he still has that speech as a blemish on his record for sure. To think the second Iraqi war could have been completely avoided really has to give us pause about any time we choose to go to war.

It’s sad to hear COVID hastened his death. He had cancer, was 84, and possibly the vaccines had never given him immunity or very little.

flutherother's avatar

I’m sorry to see him go. I thought he was a likeable man and a trustworthy politician. His support of the Iraq War was a mistake but he at least owned up to it later. I wish he had been less evasive when speaking about the My Lai massacre but overall, I count him as one of the best.

ragingloli's avatar

I shan’t bewail the belated expiration of this abominable malefactor.

filmfann's avatar

He admitted and regretted his mistakes. He was a decent man. Too few of those left.

rebbel's avatar

I feel sorry for his family.
I feel also sorry for the families of hundred thousands of people that lost loved ones in the war that ensued after the 11th of September.

I read a piece in which it was stated that he could have instigated a domino effect by resigning (before the speech at the UN).
Jack Straw would, apparently, had done the same, as would high ranked military staff (who didn’t agree with invading beforehand).

ragingloli's avatar

@filmfann
“just following orders”, eh?

kritiper's avatar

RIP
And thanks for your service!

Forever_Free's avatar

@product can you share why you feel that versus just stating it without context?

Forever_Free's avatar

Thank you for your 25 years of military service. As @janbb states, one of a true honorable men of recent

product's avatar

@Forever_Free: ”@product can you share why you feel that versus just stating it without context?”

He’s a war criminal that helped lead the effort (by lying) of the US invasion of Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

product's avatar

@Forever_Free: “one of a true honorable men”

Do you mind sharing what was “honorable” about him?

janbb's avatar

I used the term “decent’; I’m not sure I’d go so far as honorable. I definitely see many sides to his career; including the part he paid in leading us into a disastrous and immoral war.

Forever_Free's avatar

@janbb yes, correction on my use of honorable versus decent.

Forever_Free's avatar

@product He was the messenger that was provided intelligence that was/is highly doubted.
He objected highly to Bush and Cheney’s desire to go to war. If you are familiar with the months preceding, Powell thought such an invasion would be disastrous — and yet the prospect had for months seemed so preposterous to Powell and his deputies at the State Department that he assumed it would burn out of its own accord.
But by that August, it had become evident to Powell that he was not winning the argument. Powell proceeded to do what no one else in the Bush administration had done or would do: tell the president to his face that things in Iraq could go horribly wrong. “If you break it, you own it.
There are countless writings and books on this fact.
https://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/17/world/the-struggle-for-iraq-policy-wary-powell-said-to-have-warned-bush-on-war.html
“Plan of Attack” by Bob Woodward.

Forever_Free's avatar

@product Can you provide any evidence that he is a “War Criminal”

product's avatar

^ No. You’re good. I’m going to have to bail on this because we have such vast differences in the everything related to the topic (imperialism, war, perpetual good-intention “mistake” framing, etc).

Forever_Free's avatar

@product I was interested to hear you side. Understood and accepted.

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