Great Colin Powell interview in GQ.

There’s still at least one Republican out there I’d probably vote for if he were to decide to run for President, unfortunately for Republicans he’s not in the race. That man is Colin Powell, the one man in the Bush Administration for whom I had any respect and trust. It was sad to see him manipulated by the Bush Administration to justify the war in Iraq and his leaving after the re-election meant there’d be one less voice of sanity in the White House. In an interview with GQ magazine he only reinforces my opinion of him:

Isn’t the new global threat we face even more dangerous?
What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.

So you think we are getting too hunkered down and scared?
Yes! We are taking too much counsel of our fears.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a terrorist threat. There is a threat. And we should send in military forces when we have a target to deal with. We should also secure our airports, if that makes us safer. But let’s welcome every foreign student we can get our hands on. Let’s make sure that foreigners come to the Mayo Clinic here, and not the Mayo facility in Dubai or somewhere else. Let’s make sure people come to Disney World and not throw them up against the wall in Orlando simply because they have a Muslim name. Let’s also remember that this country was created by immigrants and thrives as a result of immigration, and we need a sound immigration policy.

Let’s show the world a face of openness and what a democratic system can do. That’s why I want to see Guantánamo closed. It’s so harmful to what we stand for. We literally bang ourselves in the head by having that place. What are we doing this to ourselves for? Because we’re worried about the 380 guys there? Bring them here! Give them lawyers and habeas corpus. We can deal with them. We are paying a price when the rest of the world sees an America that seems to be afraid and is not the America they remember.

You can drive up the road from here and come to a spot where there is a megachurch over here, a little Episcopal church over there, a Catholic church around the corner that’s almost cathedral-size, and between them is a huge Hindu temple. There are no police needed to guard any of this. There are not many places in the world where you would see that. Yes, there are a few dangerous nuts in Brooklyn and New Jersey who want to blow up Kennedy Airport and Fort Dix. These are dangerous criminals, and we must deal with them. But come on, this is not a threat to our survival! The only thing that can really destroy us is us. We shouldn’t do it to ourselves, and we shouldn’t use fear for political purposes—scaring people to death so they will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a terror-industrial complex.

His thoughts on how to reform America’s tarnished image:

How can we restore America’s image?
We should remember what that image was, back after World War II. It was the image of a generous country that sought not to impose its will on other countries or even to impose its values. But it showed the way, and it helped other countries, and it opened its doors to people—visitors and refugees and immigrants.

America could not survive without immigration. Even the undocumented immigrants are contributing to our economy. That’s the country my parents came to. That’s the image we have to portray to the rest of the world: kind, generous, a nation of nations, touched by every nation, and we touch every nation in return. That’s what people still want to believe about us. They still want to come here. We’ve lost a bit of the image, but we haven’t lost the reality yet. And we can fix the image by reflecting a welcoming attitude—and by not taking counsel of our fears and scaring ourselves to death that everybody coming in is going to blow up something. It ain’t the case.

Yep, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. It’s a shame he’s not running.

18 thoughts on “Great Colin Powell interview in GQ.

  1. One of maybe two or three good conservatives that is left.  A shame Bush pissed him off and got him out of politics.

    From the article:

    You’ve met with Barack Obama a couple of times and given him advice. Is it possible that you will support him?
    I will give advice to any of the principal candidates. I’ve met with others, including John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Barack called me and came by, and we had a long talk. Right before he decided to run, we talked again about the presidency and the type of decisions and problems that come in the middle of the night. I think he’s a very impressive man, I think he’s very smart, and I think he’s going to be a formidable candidate.

    Would you be tempted to support Obama, even though he’s a Democrat, because he would be transformational?
    He is transformational because he is a black man who has become one of the leading candidates of a major party. That is exciting. It’s transformational. But am I going to support him? I am going to be for who I think is the best person. Not the best Republican, not the best Democrat, not the best black guy or the best woman. I’m going to try to figure out who could best serve this country. And that’s who I will be voting for.

    It would be awesome to see Colin as a cabinet member under Obama’s leadership.

  2. I would Vote for him too. I wished he had stayed and held a news conference about his true feelings.

  3. i’m taken back by how such a distinguished/accomplished military man could be so logical and thoughtful.

  4. When do the candidates announce who their running partners will be?  That will probably make or break many of them.

  5. Normally VP decisions aren’t made until after they win their primary. In part because it’s not uncommon for someone who was competing for the nomination for President to be named as a VP choice. For example John Kerry opted to pick fellow Presidential hopeful John Edwards last go round.

  6. Voters don’t vote for reason, they vote emotionally and don’t want to be made to think. Until this changes sufficiently people like colin probably won’t become president.

    Boulder dude:You would vote for a man who is a complete tool?  Who Knowingly lied to the U.N. about Iraq and did his best to deny and cover up Mi Lai?

    The alternative was probably to be fired and replaced with someone else who did support the war. That wouldn’t have changed the outcome, if anything he’d be in less of a position to restrain things if he were to be fired.

  7. We are all damaged goods to a degree. It’s our mistakes that eventually are responsible for our resolve. Without mistakes…We are sitting ducks waiting for them to be made. Colin Powell may have learned the hard way. But most important ” He did learn.

    I think it was Les that said ” He among you who is without mistakes, Let him cast the first stone ” It may not have been Les ? But I have heard this someplace before.

  8. Anyone who makes it to the primaries, Democrat or Republican, is damaged goods (or perhaps “corrupted goods” would be a better term) as far as I’m concerned.  The only question is, who is least damaged or corrupted?  Hard to say.

  9. I scorn politicians. They are a lower form of life, to be considered corrupt until proven otherwise. I never said I’m perfect, but then I’m not a person who was instrumental in making an ongoing atrocity happen.

    As far as Powell is concerned, given his history his redemption will take more than a few opportunistic speeches. He won’t get the benefit of doubt from me.

  10. Bahamat: The alternative was probably to be fired and replaced with someone else who did support the war. That wouldn’t have changed the outcome, if anything he’d be in less of a position to restrain things if he were to be fired.

    You know, I would have actually thought he had a shred of dignity and integrity if he had.  No it would not have changed the outcome, not that anything he did changed the outcome either.  But if had refused and quit I would have at least some respect for the man….And I would have had more for him if he had stood up in the UN and stated that everything that he had just told them was a lie.

    That is the difference between being a Tool and being and Man.

  11. BD: I’m not convinced things are as black and white as you perceive them to be.  Should Colin have known better?  Probably, but he was going in with crappy intelligence that everyone was telling him is credible.  Plus his bosses were telling him he has to go to the UN and give a speech.  He was given BS intelligence to present while being told it was credible.  I think he also got screwed and that should be recognized.

    But ultimately I think we can all agree the Iraq War sits on Bush’s lap.  Even if Colin presented false information for a reason to go to Iraq, it was still Bush’s final decision.

  12. Paul: mistakes…We are sitting ducks waiting for them to be made. Colin Powell may have learned the hard way. But most important “ He did learn

    True, in fact people seem almost determined to make mistakes that they havn’t yet learned from. Sometimes the hard way is the only way, or at least it’s deaper.

    BD – Is dignity worth your job? That depends on the person, but how important is it, really? It won’t affect your ability to survive, it’s just a psychological feeling entirely within the mind of the perpetrator – if he’s ok with it, who has lost out?

    I think things could’ve been a lot worse with his substitute had he left, and he probably knew that

  13. BD – Is dignity worth your job? That depends on the person, but how important is it, really? It won’t affect your ability to survive, it’s just a psychological feeling entirely within the mind of the perpetrator – if he’s ok with it, who has lost out?

    If we are talking about someone worthy of being PotUS, yes.  Especially from someone that has a history of not not doing the right thing when given the option to do so.

  14. The sooner a person puts ” Principle before Personality ” the better the outcome of the decision process. Colin Powell felt an obligation to his bosses.

    The US Government leaders are strictly about Personality. If their leadership reflected anything to do with ” Principles ” we would see a completely different picture.

    It’s just my opinion…But Colin Powell is now a man about Principle. Even though he learned it the hard way, and a day late.

  15. Paul – I suppose principle is a safety catch, but- it’s also a backdoor for restriction (to self and others) if followed blindly, it needs to be flexible to the situation

    Generally speaking, somthing only registers as ‘wrong’ for me if the intention is 100% to hurt another(s). I will pardon those same actions if they are done with a good intention in mind (ie when people try to make others apreciate someting, or when they try to permanently disconnect a needy person from a need through the mechanism of depriving)

    I’m not in favour of self-sacrifice without a total equal gain (or more) for at least one person (or more), because everyone has equal value in my eyes, and there’s only any point in sacrifice through something like principle if it’s going to help someone, because emotions are all that give existence any meaning, broadly speaking. However sacrifice can be more justified if total gain (to self or others) exceeds cost

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