Former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Colin Powell received virtually wall-to-wall adulation in corporate media coverage of his death last week.
In the New York Times (10/19/21), Bret Stephens called Powell “an exemplary military leader and presidential adviser.” Stephens’ Times colleague Maureen Dowd (10/23/21) said Powell was “the best America had to offer” and a “great man.” Theodore R. Johnson wrote in the same paper (10/21/21) that “we should take inspiration from Mr. Powell’s accomplishments.”
Powell led, as David Ignatius tells it in the Washington Post (10/18/21), an “extraordinary life of service,” characterized by “a sterling career of public service.” Like Ignatius, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal (10/21/21) lacked a thesaurus, describing Powell as “a great man” and one of “the great ones.” In another Journal piece, Paula Dobriansky (10/20/21) called him “a true inspiration and a model not only for military leaders and diplomats but all Americans,” a “hero of our time.”
This gratuitous fawning deflects readers from reckoning with Powell’s record. Consider the heinous acts the “great man” admitted to carrying out in Vietnam. (See Consortium News, 7/8/96.) In his memoir, My American Journey, Powell said of his unit in Vietnam: “We burned down the thatched huts, starting the blaze with Ronson and Zippo lighters.” The “hero of our time” wrote:
Why were we torching houses and destroying crops? Ho Chi Minh had said the people were like the sea in which his guerrillas swam…. We tried to solve the problem by making the whole sea uninhabitable. In the hard logic of war, what difference did it make if you shot your enemy or starved him to death?
Similarly, Powell’s “sterling career of public service” involved obstructing the truth of US war crimes in Vietnam. After the My Lai Massacre, when Powell was an Army major posted in Saigon, he was tasked with investigating a soldier’s letter describing US barbarism against the Vietnamese (Columbia Journalism Review, 4/3/09). Powell denied the charges, writing, “In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.”
Colin Powell just died from Covid-19. So we should expect a tsunami of eulogies from politicians, the mainstream media and even a few liberals who seem to enjoy sanitizing the murderous lives of the ruling class. Those of us on the left who refuse to play the games of polite society when it comes to war crimes will likely be chastised. And he will take his place among the “great generals” of the American Empire. All warmongering societies do this, so it should come as no surprise. But no amount of gushing tributes can erase the truth.
The man who helped whitewash the massacre of civilians at My Lai during the war against Vietnam, pushed hard for the Gulf War in the 1990s, and gave the green light to Ariel Sharon in his murderous assault on civilians in Jenin and land grabs in the occupied West Bank, also sold the war against Iraq at the beginning of this century with a fistful of lies. Iraq never attacked the US. It did not have “weapons of mass destruction.” But the Bush administration was salivating for blood and oil after the attacks on the US on the 11th of September, 2001. And any morsel of fiction that would justify their lust for violence was welcomed.
Powell would later blame his role in peddling these lies on an “intelligence failure.” This is the go-to excuse for the American military establishment, as we see with the latest atrocity they committed in Afghanistan, the recent drone bomb incineration of a family in Kabul after the disastrous pull out of American troops. Now that he is dead, he will not face justice at the Hague for these crimes. But really, no member of the American ruling class ever does.
Despite him being 84-years-old with an impaired immune system as a result of fighting blood cancer, former Surgeon General Jerome Adams blamed the death of Colin Powell on unvaccinated Americans.
It was announced yesterday that Powell had died form COVID-19 despite being double vaccinated.
Instead of asking whether the fact that Powell being double jabbed raised questions about the long term efficacy of the vaccine, Adams simply went straight to blaming the unvaccinated.
“In terms of his passing and how he would want it understood, what do you say about the idea that Powell passing while being vaccinated is proof that the vaccination is not necessary?” Adams was asked by CNN host Chris Cuomo.
“It’s absolutely untrue,” responded Adams. “We’ve got people out there who are in the vaccine-resistant crowd. We’ve got people who have completely different agendas, agendas that have nothing to do with vaccines, and as you mentioned, want to divide us. We’ve got a lot of people out there who are just thrown, who react to misinformation. They need the correct facts.”
In the second day of its national convention, the Democratic Party officially nominated Joe Biden as its candidate for president in the 2020 election. Overall, the four-day event has been a highly scripted act of political theater, full of trite clichés and empty rhetoric.
The most notable element of yesterday’s proceedings was the decision to feature remarks from former general Colin Powell and a video highlighting the “unlikely friendship” between Biden and former Republican presidential candidate and Senator John McCain.
A Biden/Harris administration, the Democrats emphasized, would be prepared to wage war.
In his remarks, Powell, who served as Secretary of State under the administration of George W. Bush, declared that Biden, as “commander-in-chief,” will “trust our intelligence agencies” and “stand up to our adversaries with strength and experience. They will know we mean business.”
Powell will forever be associated with the lies manufactured by the Bush administration to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. On February 5, 2003, Powell appeared before the United Nations to claim that the Iraqi government was stockpiling “weapons of mass destruction”—a claim that was false and he knew was false. It was the climax of the Bush administration’s campaign to justify an unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a horrific war crime that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed one of the most advanced societies in the Middle East.