Powell Advising Obama?

According to The New York Sun, former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell is purportedly advising Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. If this is true, I have to say it doesn’t reflect very well on Obama.

Obama has made his opposition to the Iraq War, even before the war, a centerpiece of his campaign. Powell, on the other hand, was not just any old supporter of the war; he was one of its architects, who went before the United Nations to present a case for war that he knew to be, in his own words, bullshit.

A spokeswoman for Obama’s campaign explains, “Any time you have the opportunity to seek advice on foreign policy from the former secretary of state, it is a welcome meeting,” but that’s a steaming load of horseshit masquerading as a reasonable explanation for an indefensible decision. Colin Powell stood in front of the world and lied to take to this nation to war with catastrophic consequences. He has no integrity, no credibility, and no honor. And he should be treated like a pariah for his despicable comportment, especially by Democratic candidates.

If Obama’s so keen to get foreign policy advise from a former secretary of state, perhaps someone could get him Madeleine Albright’s number. Harrumph.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Powell Advising Obama?

  1. No belief in the power of redemption Melissa?

  2. Melissa McEwan

    No belief in the power of redemption Melissa?

    Maybe I’ll feel more like giving Powell a break when the war he helped start has ended. Ahem.

  3. I don’t think Obama will be looking for Albright’s input soon. She seems to be pretty squarely in the Hillary camp.

  4. nightshift66

    From the political horserace standpoint, this seems to me to doubly hurt Sen. Obama. It will infuriate the anti-war part of the party, a large segment indeed. It also makes him look too unwilling to fight the GOP, which is what many of us are looking for primarily if not exclusively. And these are both true even if Obama isn’t taking Powell’s advice.

  5. i have trouble viewing blaming someone else for one’s own actions as being on the path to redemption. powell had every opportunity, every ability, all the power and credibility of his career and his office easily at hand. he could have stopped this all by himself. he didn’t, to his shame. he should have stood by the honor code for cadets at west point:

    a cadet shall not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.

    along with albright there is also zhbig, carter’s old sec of state. there is a wealth of knowledge and advice out there.

  6. Arkades

    I’m sure Powell can offer *lots* of advice about what *not* to do in government, learned through harsh and bitter experience. One of the perks of being a cautionary example. Yet Powell is far from being a tempting role model, given all that he helped come to pass.

  7. evilchemistry

    What minstrel boy said. Have you ever heard that radio commercial with Colin and he says “I don’t believe in giving up.”

    Fuck you, Colin.

  8. Fuck Colin Powell and his vaunted ‘reputation’ – he enabled Bush instead of calling him on his lies, then lied to all of us while KNOWING this was a spectacular blunder – remember the Pottery Barn rule? Fuck him.

  9. Ehhh, I watched the episode of Meet the Press that that article was based on, and got a totally different impression. Powell said he’d spoken with Obama twice and that he knows all the presidential candidates and has offered to give them all advice. It didn’t really seem like Powell was once of Obama’s advisors, more like they had had two conversations and the press wants to blow it up because it’s an African American with a lot of buzz surrounding his candidacy getting advice from another African American, about whom there was a lot of buzz surrounding when people thought he might run in the mid 90s.

  10. I’m not sure that this hurts Obama, from a political standpoint. Powell clearly erred in supporting the war, but he is also not in the fanatical neo-con camp. It shows Obama as willing to listen to other perspectives – something sorely missing from the current administration.

    Obama’s credentials in opposing the war are well established, so I do not think this will hurt him too much. His position is still basically to end the war as soon as possible, which is the important thing.

  11. Michelle

    I read about Powell talking to Obama in an article about Powell saying that Guantanamo should be closed. I think that’s pretty impressive.

  12. Sam Hensel

    I don’t believe Colin Powell is proud of what he did, nor do I believe that he is proud to have worked for the Bush Administration. Since leaving, Mr. Powell has become a major critic of Bush’s belligerant foreign policies. The other day, he called for the closing of Guantanamo Bay. I believe in redemption, and I believe that Colin Powell, despite his mistakes, is a good man. Perhaps the only good person to be affiliated with Bush.

    In the meantime, I hope people won’t get the wrong impression of Obama just because Colin Powell is giving advice. As one pointed out above, Mrs. Albright has endorsed Hillary Clinton. Colin Powell has not endorsed anybody; he’s just providing people with advise. Anyone can ask for it, and he will give it. Barack knew from the very start that an attack on Iraq would lead to a civil war in which Shiites and Sunnis would slaughter each other. He knew this war was a mistake from the very start. Of the first and second tier candidates (Clinton, himself, Edwards, Richardson, Biden, Dodd) he is the most anti-war candidate. Kucinich and Gravel aren’t worth discussing. I can forgive Edwards, Dodd and Biden for becoming anti-war when they realized their votes for the authorization were a mistake, but Hillary continued to support the war even afterwards. I don’t like it when candidates, like Hillary Clinton, flip-flop on key issues right before they decide to run for higher office. If Iraq is the single most important issue to you, Obama’s your man, regardless of his association with Colin Powell.

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  14. Well… I see two sides to this.

    First, Colin Powell felt he had to do his job. He didn’t personally support the war, but he’d been told to drum up support for it, so he did.

    Should he have resigned? It’s a hard question, especially when he was the only sane person in the bunch.

    His presentation to the UN isn’t quite as damning for me as it is for some. The problem was not so much that he pushed the war with bad evidence, but that despite the weakness of his evidence, his presentation was still seen as closing the case. Now, here’s the question:

    When he went before the UN, was he a prosecuting attorney, bound to present the strongest case he could, and let the jury decide? Or was he an agent of truth, bound to present both sides of the story, hoping to clarify things?

    I view him as having seen his job as having been a prosecuting attorney.

    Boy was *that* an awkward sentence. What I mean is, I don’t think he was right to have made the presentation he did, but I think he reasonably thought he was right to do so.

    I don’t exactly fault Colin Powell for having allowed Bush to use his reputation to push the war, but that brings me to the other side:

    I’m a lot more ambivalent about whether Powell should be doing more now to make reparations for the damage he did. I’m not sure if he should be doing more or not, but if it turns out he is aware of any of the criminal activity of the Bush administration, and hasn’t blown the whistle, then I’ve lost all respect for him. You can play good soldier to give a presentation, knowing that people will overplay your evidence because you’re so trustworthy, but you can’t keep playing good soldier when, as another person mentioned, it requires tolerating lying, cheating, stealing, and torturing.

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  16. amish451

    Harrumph
    I believe Powell may have felt felt duty bound during the lie-up to the war …some of his recent revelation/critical observation seems to be an attempt to redeem himself in the public eye …he is after all, a politician …I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop …could be a very long wait.

  17. Arkades

    I view him as having seen his job as having been a prosecuting attorney.

    But therein lies the problem. If his job were White House Counsel, everyone would know that he was essentially acting as an advocate, meaning that he had no duty (and indeed, no expectation) to present a fair reading of the evidence. If people had known that was the mode in which he was functioning, the mainstream *should* have taken his presentation with several more grains of salt.

    However, he was not serving in any public capacity as an attorney; he was serving as Secretary of State, who is head of the Diplomatic service. Furthermore, he had built a reputation as a wise and honorable leader within the military. It was on the strength of those reputations – his role as a diplomat and his credibility as a strategic thinker – that people gave additional weight to his opinions. Had Rumsfeld, for instance, presented the case to the UN, there (probably) would have been a great deal more skepticism, but Powell’s reputation (back then) was untarnished, and helped seal the deal.

    Perhaps he was only doing his job, as he saw it. But from the perspective of hindsight, it looks an awfully lot like perhaps he knew he was be used, yet let it happen anyway.

  18. Melissa McEwan

    Ditto everything Arkades said.

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