Tag Archives: Colin Powell

Death leaves lingering sadness

My sadness over Colin Powell’s death is bidding me a reluctant farewell.

It seems to want to linger for a while longer. It’s hard to get over the loss of this man I admired from the time he served as national security adviser to President Reagan. He only burnished his standing when he became Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman for President Bush 41 and then secretary of state during the Bush 43 administration. Powell blazed a trail in all three of those endeavors, becoming the first African-American ever to occupy the offices.

The retired Army general offered snippets of wisdom regularly. I took most of them to heart.

Now that he is gone, I am left wishing to hear more from him.

We hear it said about musicians who pass on that “their music lives forever.” I guess you can say the same thing about statesmen such as Gen. Powell, that their “words of wisdom” will endure through the ages.

So it must be.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If only he could rise above the bitterness

There are times when one can wish that even the most venal and vile politicians among us can rise to some level of dignity and decorum.

The death of noted statesmen, such as Colin Powell, easily qualifies as a motive to rise above pettiness and petulance. Powell, the nation’s first black secretary of state, died Monday of COVID complications.

Four of the five living former presidents managed to offer heartfelt salutes and tributes to the former general, as did the current president, Joe Biden.

Then came this bit of bullsh** from the 45th president of the United States. Donald Trump issued a brief statement that reads:

“Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media. Hope that happens to me someday. He was a classic RINO, if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!”

There. Isn’t that just the kind of cheap shot, the trash, the rhetorical crap we have come to expect from Trump? Yes. It is.

To think that the King of RINO World would exhibit the chutzpah to call Colin Powell a Republican In Name Only speaks to the utter worthlessness of Donald Trump as a political public figure.

I would say “shame on Trump” … except that he has no shame.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Tributes pour in for Gen. Powell

Former President Barack Obama was one of many public figures — elected, appointed and otherwise — to speak highly today of the impact that retired Gen. Colin Powell had on their lives.

I read a statement from President Obama today after Powell’s death. One item in the statement stood out. It dealt with Gen. Powell’s endorsement of Obama’s presidential candidacy in 2008. Powell, a lifelong Republican, decided to endorse Obama because, I suppose in Powell’s view, that Obama was the best man for the job at the time.

Obama said this about Gen. Powell’s endorsement, which included a discussion about rumors at the time dealing with the presidential candidate’s faith: “The correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian,” General Powell said. “But the really right answer is, ‘What if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

What the former president didn’t include in that remembrance is that the U.S. Constitution specifically declares that there shall be “no religious test” for anyone who seeks public office in this country. That includes presidents.

Powell’s point, though, in endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for the presidency, is that there should be no constraint on any child, regardless of his or her faith, to seek the highest office in the land.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Trump shows his childish side once again

Here it comes.

A prominent American who has served the country with honor has said he cannot support Donald John Trump’s re-election as president. What, then, is Trump’s response?

He wrote this via Twitter:

Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden. Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction?” They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!

Isn’t that so very statesmanlike, so high-minded, so thoughtful? No! It’s typical Trump, the man who calls a decorated Vietnam War hero, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former national security adviser and a former secretary of state a “real stiff.”

I will concede the point that as secretary of state, Colin Powell misled the world about the presence of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, as the nation prepared to launch a war against a dictator who didn’t have what Powell and the Bush administration said he possessed.

But … a “real stiff”?

Over the entire arc of this man’s career, Gen. Powell has served the nation with high honor, including I should add, two tours of duty in Vietnam to fight in a war that Donald Trump worked assiduously to avoid. Why did Trump get the diagnosis of bone spurs to keep out of service in that conflict? Because he wasn’t a “fan of that war.”

That is what I call an excuse offered by a “real stiff.”

Powell joins growing GOP parade lining up behind Biden

“I’m very close to Joe Biden in a social matter and on a political matter. I have worked with him for 35, 40 years … And he is now the candidate, and I will be voting for him.”

There you go. Another longtime Republican — a man of considerable standing in military and diplomatic circles — has declared that Donald John Trump will not get his vote for re-election this year.

Retired Army Gen. Colin Powell is going to back the Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

I need to stipulate that Powell — who served as national security adviser, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and secretary of state for two Republican presidents — is not a Republican In Name Only, a RINO. He’s the real deal.

Gen. Powell also is a man of high principle and honor who says that Trump is unfit to serve as commander in chief of the U.S. military. Trump has veered too far from constitutional principles, according to Powell.

I am not going to venture too far afield with this blog post and suggest that the GOP dam is breaking, that the Republican wall that has surrounded Donald Trump is caving under the stress brought by Trump’s flouting of every possible presidential or constitutional norm.

However, Gen. Colin Powell’s declaration that he’s voting once again for a Democratic opponent of Donald Trump is a big deal.

Powell to GOP: Get a grip and stand up to Trump

Colin Powell is a patriot’s patriot. I admire this man greatly, owing in large measure to his experience as a combat soldier in Vietnam and his military and diplomatic leadership.

Powell said the following recently in a stern message to his fellow Republicans: “They need to get a grip, and when they see things that aren’t right they need to say something about it. Because our foreign policy is a shambles right now, in my humble judgement. And I see things happening that are hard to understand.”

Yep, that policy is in a shambles, all right.

The Republican Party movers and shakers, he said, need to stand up to Donald J. Trump, the president who’s grabbed the party by the throat.

Foreign policy? It doesn’t even exist. The president issues policy pronouncements via Twitter with little or no regard to advice from national security/diplomatic experts with whom he has surrounded himself.

I get that Gen. Powell isn’t perfect. He did, after all, read that statement into the record at the United Nations in which he said Saddam Hussein undoubtedly possessed weapons of mass destruction; he made the case for going to war in March 2003 against the Iraqis. He was tragically wrong.

However, he remains a man of great standing in many circles in this country. With that, I want to endorse his call for his fellow Republicans to exhibit some backbone as they watch Trump’s feckless efforts at seeking to “make America great again.”

Where are the GOP challengers with ‘heft’?

Joe Walsh has joined William Weld and Mark Sanford as actual and potential challengers to Donald Trump in the president’s quest for nomination by the Republican Party for another term in office.

A friend of mine wonders where the GOP challengers with “heft” are hiding. He believes Trump will “swat” any of the three challengers being discussed “like flies.” I fear he is right.

Who, then, are the hefty GOP heavyweights who might stand a chance of giving the president the primary campaign scare he so richly deserves?

I am having difficulty coming with names.

Former Secretary of State/Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell more or less comes to mind. He won’t walk onto the field. He had his chance leading up to the 1996 election when Bill Clinton was running for re-election. Gen. Powell begged off, citing the lack of support from his wife, Alma. I doubt Mrs. Powell has changed her mind. Besides, Powell’s time has passed.

I think also — are you reading for this? — of Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. Naww. He won’t do it, either.

I fear the GOP is left with three men who don’t stand a serious chance of inflicting any meaningful damage on Trump, who is raising many millions of dollars toward his re-election effort.

Mark Sanford is grievously damaged already. He once was South Carolina’s governor who messed around with a woman other than his wife; he skulked off to South America for a fling, while telling his staff to lie to the media about his whereabouts, instructing them to say he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” No good, Mark.

William Weld ran for vice president in 2016 on the Libertarian ticket headed by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Weld does have political experience, having served two terms as Massachusetts governor. But he ain’t gonna make the grade, either.

Joe Walsh served for a term as a congressman from Illinois. He’s a firebrand, a TEA Party advocate. He is ultraconservative. He also cannot stand the idea of Trump serving as president. He says things about Trump that many of us have said to each other at dinner tables and living rooms around the country.

I fear the GOP pool of challengers is thin, given the state of politics in the country at this moment. History shows that intraparty challenges against presidential incumbents have proven politically fatal to the incumbent. Sure, Trump is likely to have someone run against him, but he has rewritten the playbook and installed strategies that few “traditional” politicians can recognize, let alone emulate.

The GOP primary campaign will contain plenty of fiery rhetoric. Of that I am sure. Will it matter? I am thinking it won’t.

We’ll have to await the main event to commence sometime in the late summer of 2020 when Democrats nominate their candidate and Republicans swallow hard and send Donald Trump back into battle.

Oh … boy!

Bush 41 ended the Gulf War the correct way

I will now offer you my brief statement of support for the late  President George H.W. Bush’s decision to end the Persian Gulf War the way he did it.

They’re going to bury the former president later this week, but before they lay the great man to rest, let’s revisit one of the signature events of his presidency.

Iraqi dictator/madman Saddam Hussein sent his army into Kuwait in August 1990. He took control of the country. He seized the nation’s oil fields. President Bush was, naturally, quite alarmed. He summoned his national security team to the White House. They began plotting a strategy to respond.

He went to the United Nations. Bush then got on the phone and enlisted the support of 33 nations. He assembled an enormous international coalition.

The UN then approved a resolution authorizing and endorsing military action if the need arose. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker sought a diplomatic solution. They failed.

The massive force had gathered in the area near Kuwait and Iraq. They were ready. The UN resolution limited the mission to one element: get the Iraqis out of Kuwait.

The president gave the order. The aerial campaign started, pounding Iraqi defenses in Kuwait — and in Iraq.

The armored divisions breached the Kuwaiti frontier and within days the Iraqis were routed. They were on the run. Our fighter aircraft strafed the fleeing troops, killing thousands of them on the road to Baghdad.

Then the president called a halt to the fighting. We lost fewer than 200 American lives in the fight. The Iraqis were defeated.

But some critics at home — notably the “chicken hawks” who didn’t understand the consequences of war the way Bush 41, a World War II naval aviator did — wanted our forces to march all the way to the Iraqi capital. They wanted to capture Saddam Hussein, presuming he would surrender the way his troops did on the battlefield.

President Bush knew better. So did Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. Same for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Colin Powell, who saw combat during the Vietnam War. They knew what the UN mission allowed. They weren’t going to overstep their authority.

The end of the Gulf War delivered for a time a period of relative stability. Saddam Hussein — who never set foot outside of Iraq — was thoroughly contained after our forces destroyed his supposedly vaunted Republican Guard in Kuwait.

The containment wouldn’t last, tragically, after we invaded Iraq in March 2003 intent on removing Saddam Hussein.

However, there can be little doubt as we look back at the Persian Gulf War that we set forth on a specific mission. We accomplished it. We restored — yes, with mixed success — a sense of stability in a volatile region.

Taking the Gulf War fight all the way to Baghdad was a prescription for geopolitical disaster. I am grateful to this day that President George H.W. Bush reacted with reason, calm and with good judgment.

Colin Powell: Trump lacks moral authority

I once wished out loud that Colin Powell, the former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and secretary of state, would run for president of the United States.

He didn’t. His comments this week, though, have revived my interest in this soldier/statesman, who has declared that “We the People” has been replaced by “Me the president” in the mind of Donald J. Trump.

Powell’s bottom line is that Trump lacks the moral authority to be the world’s leader.

In a wide-ranging interview on CNN, Powell touched on a number of key issues, such as Trump’s supposed hatred of the media. “How can a president … get up and say that the media is the enemy of Americans? Hasn’t he read the First Amendment? You’re not supposed to like everything the press says or what anyone says in the First Amendment,” he said.

Powell needs to be heard

I don’t believe the president understands the First Amendment, or the founders’ intent when they protected the press against government interference or coercion … or bullying.

Powell said “the world cannot believe” that the government is separating children from their families as they cross the border into the United States illegally.

Oh, how I wish this man hadn’t taken himself out of the presidential running in the mid-1990s when he was the talk of the nation. But he did and all but declared there could be no way in the world he would run for the nation’s highest office.

Damn!

No predictions coming for this year’s mayoral contest

You can’t miss them. They’re sprouting up everywhere, kind of like that spring clover you see on the High Plains of Texas.

Lawn signs touting the candidacy of Ginger Nelson have shown up all over our neighborhood. I expect more of them.

Nelson is running for mayor of Amarillo. She’s already earned my vote. I make no apologies for deciding this early.

Now comes the question, which I received today: Do I think she’s going to win?

I am not predicting nothin’. No way. No how. No never mind.

She should win. She’s got a detailed campaign platform. She has a lengthy to-do list of items she wants accomplished during her time as mayor … if she wins, of course.

If you haven’t seen her platform, take a look right here.

Why won’t I predict her victory? Because my record at such things is terrible! That’s why.

* I once wrote that Hillary Rodham Clinton was set to roll to a potentially historic landslide victory for president of the United States in the 2016 election. Umm, she didn’t.

* I also wrote that there was no way on God’s Earth that Donald “Smart Person” Trump ever would be nominated for — let alone elected — president of the United States. Hah! Silly me.

* I once wrote that Hillary never would run for the U.S. Senate in 2000 because, after all, many of those senators voted to convict her husband of the “impeachable offense” of lying about his affair with what’s-her-name. She did run — and she won.

* I also once said Army Gen. Colin Powell would run for president in 1996 against Hillary’s husband. He opted out.

So, you see, I am terrible at these parlor games.

Nelson should win. She has the backing of some influential folks in Amarillo. She’s got the experience from her time on the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. She has the smarts and the professional background as a lawyer and businesswoman to move the city forward. She has the speaking skill and public presence required to use her office as a bully pulpit.

Am I going to predict such a thing?

No way, man! I’ll just hope for the best.