As a libertarian, I of course have no dog in the fight between McCain and Obama. But since the Democrats and the Left in general are all atwitter over Powell’s endorsement, it’s time to make a few serious observations.
First of all, Colin Powell is almost the perfect embodiment of what is lacking in the American political character. He is a career apparatchik who has risen through the ranks of the military, and then on to Secretary of State, by pretty much being a toady, a consummate courtier.
Why do the news media and the American people, then, seem to admire–even worship–him so much? Well, because (in the nauseatingly frequent words of the mainstream media) he “looks presidential.” He wears nice suits, he has just the right amount of gray about the temples, and he measures his words carefully, always aware that he should sound reasonable, objective, cool-headed. And, he is an African-American who has “made it” in the world of the military and politics.
But in reality, there is little if anything to admire in this man. Perhaps his most egregious sin was his shameless propagandizing for war in in the run-up to the illegal, immoral, unprovoked invasion of Iraq. With a straight face, he showed satellite photos to the UN, allegedly of “mobile weapons labs” that were producing chemical and/or biological weapons. Those “labs” were later shown to be pickup trucks and maybe an empty trailer or two. Using his best, evenhanded-sounding voice, he explained how a teaspoon of anthrax could kill a hundred thousand people. The entire evidence was faked and overblown. And it is easy to find evidence that Powell knew this all along.
He was just doing what toadies do: going along to get along.
For those willing to do a little light research, it is easy to find the story of Powell’s cooperation in the cover-up of the My Lai incident in Vietnam, in which GI’s murdered over 300 innocent civilians in cold blood.
In short, Powell is the consummate, diktat-belching bureaucrat. He has a huge responsibility in the Iraq War, in which hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died, and millions have been made refugees. In essence, Powell is to Bush as Goebbels was to Hitler; he didn’t actually conduct a murderous and avoidable war, but he certainly made it possible.
(For those of you who sputter in protest, “are you actually comparing Bush and Hitler?” my answer is: YES. Since when was comparison a mortal sin?)
But Goebbels, in the area of propaganda, was a rank amateur. Powell is the true master. After all, Goebbels was an obvious propagandist; even most Germans knew that everything he said was over the top. But Powell, the true master of propaganda, knows that the medium is the message; his nice suit and tie, his grayed temples, his even, reasonable-sounding tone of voice, all project exactly what Americans think is “respectable.” Goebbels, by comparison, was a screeching, unhinged maniac.
Now we can ask the question: why would Obama, who supposedly is against the war, welcome the endorsement of this war criminal?
The answer, quite simply, is that Obama is not anti-war. He is just anti-Iraq-war. But, given any chance, he has made it quite obvious he would wage war on Iran or Pakistan if it paid the right political dividends, and it would be nice to have a master propagandist like Powell on his side to (and Bush famously put it) “catapult the propaganda.” He has said, in the space of a few days, that Iran was a tiny country that was not a threat to the US, then reversed himself a few days later, out of political necessity, and parroted the party line that Iran was indeed a huge threat.
And he was able to do it with a nice, even, reasonable sounding voice, just like his mentor.