Powell: In From Cold?
When Harry Belafonte called Powell an â€œUncle Tomâ€? many in the media pretended to be offended by the characterization. Powellâ€™s own conduct conformed to what may be called classic â€œTommingâ€?
Itâ€™s been three years since Colin Powell sat in front of the U.N. and declared to the world that Saddam Hussein definitely had weapons of mass destruction.
On Feb. 3, 2003 he assured Americans and the world that he had â€œan accumulation of factsâ€? from â€œa variety of sourcesâ€? to prove that Saddam was in possession of these weapons. But time has not been kind to the former and first Black Secretary of State due to his Big Lie.
Three plus years ago Powell was flying high and was considered by many to be the most trustworthy figure in the Bush Administration. In fact, there are those that state that Powellâ€™s presentation to the United Nations was the factor that convinced the American people that Saddam was a â€œclear and present dangerâ€? to the security of the nation. But boy, how have the mighty fallen!
For some time now, Powell has shriveled from national prominence and in many ways today represents a somewhat tragic figure. Once one of the â€œtokenâ€? Blacks that the Administration would parade out front and center, Powell has now become very invisible.
But the other day he stood with Senator McCain and others who are trying to curtail the ever increasing excesses of this Administration. In a letter to McCain, Powell said that he didnâ€™t support the Bush Administrationâ€™s attempt to â€œredefine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.â€? You see Bush and his posse are trying to water down the definition of torture. They want to do this to allow tactics like hypothermia, sleep deprivation and â€œwater-boardingâ€? to be acceptable under the article. Powell stated that â€œthe world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.â€? Powellâ€™s opposition to Bushâ€™s dictatorial dictates is very interesting to say the least. One must ask: why is it that Powell is only finding his voice now?Â Â Â Â
Itâ€™s true that Powell was against war with Iraq in the very beginning. He was quoted as saying â€œif you break it, you own it.â€? And if that sentiment is true then America now owns the mess she created in Iraq. Unfortunately, Powell got weak-kneed when he was ostracized and isolated by the Bush-Cheney-Rove neo-con inner circle and didnâ€™t stand up for his convictions. Consequently, he had a change of heart and decided to play ball according to the rules of his masters.Â Â Â Â
When Harry Belafonte called Powell an â€œUncle Tomâ€? many in the media pretended to be offended by the characterization. Powellâ€™s own conduct conformed to what may be called classic â€œTommingâ€? and it started during the period of the U.N.Durban Conference in South Africa. The conference ran from August 31 to September 8, 2001, and we know what happened only three days later.Â Â Â Â
From the very beginning it was clear that the Bush Administration, as well as the other major European powers, didnâ€™t want anything to do with the conference. And you only need to look at the theme, â€œWorld Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance,â€? to understand why. And well, one of those â€œrelatedâ€? issues is the Reparations issue.
A report by the U.N, states â€œcolonialism has led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descentâ€¦were victims of colonialism and continue to be victims of its consequence.â€? It further acknowledged â€œthat the effects and persistence of these structures and practices have been among the factors contributing to lasting social and economic inequalities in many parts of the world today.â€?Â Â Â Â
Itâ€™s my opinion that the â€œeconomic inequalityâ€? part is what frightens all of the world powers, because then the question of reparations takes center stage. And, America is surely worried about the reparations movement here. Our â€œpresidentâ€? who wasnâ€™t very popular at the time knew that if he spoke against the conference that he would lose political points in the Black community. So, he played the race card, and Colin Powell was assigned the task of torpedoing any meaningful involvement by America in this historic conference. Powell then went to the mike and stated that he would not participate in the conference because of â€œoffensive languageâ€? being used by some Arab officials who accused the Israelis of racist policies against the Palestinians. Personally, I have never forgiven him for this treasonous act against the worldâ€™s poor and disenfranchised people. Some months later he was booed mercilessly in South Africa when he dared to criticize Zimbabweâ€™s Robert Mugabe.Â Â Â Â
All that was bad enough, but then Powell allowed Bush to use him to sell this war. We can only wonder how different things might be now if Powell had stood up then. Instead, he too has innocent blood on his hands. It will take more than this belated gesture to wipe them clean.
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