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Not Everyone Loves Colin Powell

David Sirota Offers a Principled Democratic Reaction

Barack Obama has been pretty clear in expressing his views on the Iraq war:

The sacrifices of war are immeasurable. **It was not impossible to see back then that we might arrive at the place we’re at today.

I said then that a war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics would lead to a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I believed that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale or strong international support would only strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda and erode the good standing and moral authority that took our country generations to build. There were other experts, and leaders, and everyday Americans who believed this too.** I wish we had been wrong. I wish we weren’t here talking about this at the beginning of the war’s fifth year. Because the consequences of this war have been profound. And the sacrifices have been immeasurable…

No, it has not been a failure of resolve that has led us to this chaos, but a failure of strategy – a strategy that has only strengthened Iran’s strategic position; increased threats posed by terrorist organizations; reduced U.S. credibility and influence around the world; and placed Israel and other nations friendly to the United States in the region in greater peril…

History will not judge the architects of this war kindly. But the books have yet to be written on our efforts to right the wrongs we see in Iraq. The story has yet to be told about how we turned from this moment, found our way out of the desert, and took to heart the lessons of war that too many refused to heed back then…

Go read the rest of the speech — or don’t. I’m sure you remember what Obama has said about Iraq, and what a colossal mistake it was. Given Powell’s central role in the decision to go to war in Iraq, how can Obama accept his endorsement? Liberal blogger David Sirota poses the same question:

Just a little note on Colin Powell, who many believe will appear on Meet the Press to endorse Barack Obama this weekend. If this happens, the elite media will be ablaze with stories talking about how awesome and Serious and Respected Colin Powell is. While this propaganda will be good in its short-term benefit to Obama, it will be horrific in the long-term sense of our country’s ability to recognize its worst decisions and move forward from them. Let’s just remember: Colin Powell is one of the major reasons we went to war in Iraq. In his 2003 United Nations speech, he perpetrated one of the biggest frauds in the history of international diplomacy – a fraud that, in terms of its blood-and-guts ramifications, dwarfs major scandals like Watergate.

The idea that being endorsed by someone like that is a good thing – well, that logic may fly in the television studios of New York and D.C., but it shouldn’t fly anywhere else. A person whose most important legacy is destroying America’s international credibility shouldn’t be seen as a Serious or Respectable person, nor an asset to any campaign, no matter how many apologists – liberal or conservative – claim that “behind the scenes” Powell was really a good guy. He wasn’t a good guy – he was one of the handful of people who quite literally lied us into a war. That the elite media imparts even an ounce of credibility to this dishonest yes-man is not a commentary on Powell’s alleged positive attributes. It is a reflection of the elite media’s deep disdain for the facts and truth it purports to respect.

I don’t agree with Sirota on the wisdom of this war, but Barack Obama does! Or at least, he says he does. But not only does Barack Obama accept the nomination, he says that Powell will be offered an influential foreign policy assignment in his administration.

If Barack Obama really believed what he says about Iraq, he wouldn’t give Colin Powell the time of day, let alone allow Powell and his views to tarnish him. So we must ask again: what does Barack Obama really believe, and what is he saying simply because he thinks it will help him get to the White House?

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