Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A good soldier

A lot of commentators have referred to outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell as a good soldier for sticking it out for four years even though he was on the losing end of the administration's major foreign policy debates. The Trib has a somewhat different take:

His skepticism became sureness when the marching orders were given, just as his reluctance for the first Gulf War turned into duty-bound performance.

But his status was different on these two occasions. He was a soldier -- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1990 and 1991 -- but a civilian diplomat in 2003. He was utterly free to resign in 2003 if conviction was his guiding light. To wit: My God, the Bushies are doing it again.

And thus, upon his decision to quit as secretary of state, Powell leaves too late. He did not resign in 2003 to take a stand for his widely praised moderation -- when principle was truly at stake.

We do not think Powell a bad man, but a crafty one.

This Rockefeller Republican wanted it both ways. The less perceptive may give him credit for having danced with panache. Yet of a man of whom it is said loyalty is a watchword, his loyalty was to Colin Powell.

Of course, other accounts of Powell's tenure portray him as winning many battles the public doesn't know about, and keeping the administration in check. Hard to fathom, and scary to imagine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Trib was not alone in its assessment of the Life and Times of Colin Powell. I think, perhaps, the Trib's editorial page position might have stemmed from the paper's stand against the latest war in Iraq, an editorial stance most people seem to forget in their zeal to paint the daily as a right-wing rag.

7:24 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

They also forget its support of gay rights and abortion rights.

8:55 PM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home