Politix: When Loyalty Trumps Loyalty
If Powell weren't such a genuine American hero as Vietnam veteran and commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all the while being a trailblazing black, it would be easy to dismiss his years as secretary of state. This most notably includes the way The Decider played him for a patsy and then marginalized him when he alone among White House insiders questioned why the hell the U.S. was invading Iraq in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Now comes "Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell," a generally sympathetic bio by Karen DeYoung, a Washington Post scribe, that lays bare the central contradiction in his life:
As Powell walked into the U.N. that day, he understood he was being used to persuade not foreign governments but the American people that invading Iraq and taking out Saddam Hussein was a noble cause based on evidence that he knew to be flimsy.The answer, I believe, is all of the above.
Was Powell unwilling to sacrifice his career for his country?
Was he taking a bullet for his boss?
Was he stretching the time-honored military concept of loyalty to the breaking point?