[R-G] The Powell Factor
solrde at msn.com
Tue Feb 11 19:13:16 MST 2003
The Powell Factor
Retired General Colin Powell is widely considered a potential presidential
candidate, though he has previously said he will not run. Of course running
in 2004 may not be required to become president. That will depend on how war
in Iraq and the elections themselves go. In any case, Powell, with strong
support in the Army, is a factor to reckon with.
In speaking before the UN February 5, Powell was given the job of trying to
justify the U.S. drive for war at a time when the American people and those
worldwide have adamantly said NO! As well, most governments, and U.S.
big-power rivals like Russia, Germany and France, are also currently
opposing war and calling for political solutions.
In attempting to present the U.S. case, Powell did more to discredit himself
than anything else. This perhaps was the purpose of choosing him to speak -
it makes it difficult for him to keep his image as a person with standing
In a situation where the U.S. went from saying inspections were critical to
saying inspections are useless, their current complaint that Iraq is making
"false statements and omissions," and that this is grounds for war, fools no
one. The actual situation revealed not only in this speech but by U.S.
actions and UN Resolution 1441 itself is that Iraq is being asked to strip
itself naked before the world and then told it is still hiding weapons. The
aim is to utterly humiliate the Iraqis before the fighting begins.
At a time when the U.S. is surrounding Iraq with 150,000 troops and bombers
and ships, Iraq is supposed to agree to have spy planes fly overhead? And
they are to accept that the U.S. is wiretapping phone calls inside Iraq
inside its military? Can anyone imagine the U.S. military, openly
threatening the world with the largest arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction, accepting such a thing?
Iraq has every right to prepare to defend itself. It is the only dignified
thing to do. They are threatening no one, least of all the U.S.
Powell, as the direct instrument of this humiliation and open voice for war,
will now find it difficult to go on presenting himself as someone who
defends minorities and youth. What will likely also come to the fore is his
history as one of the butchers of Viet Nam and his wholehearted backing of
The aim of his speech and U.S. actions at the UN are also to eliminate the
principles of the UN Charter, principles fought for and achieved with the
blood of the peoples. War against Iraq is illegal, a crime, and neither the
U.S. nor the Security Council can change this fact.
The UN Charter says "all members shall refrain in their international
relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity
or political independence of any state." As well, the Nuremburg Principles
arising directly out of the fight against fascism define as a crime against
the peace: "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of
Having Powell be the champion of this attack on the UN and Iraq is an effort
to lend it credibility when it has none. And, failing that, to ensure Powell
is just as discredited as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. What the ruling circles
are failing to take into account is that with Powell and all their
candidates discredited, who can save the day?
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