Snow Mail - Colin Powell"Big blast at the top tonight. It's goodbye Colin Powell from the Bush team - possibly the most popular man in the US Cabinet, the all-American hero, the achieving black soldier, son of Jamaican immigrants, has offered his resignation. Vietnam was the making of him - a war in which white men sent a disproportionate number of black men to fight. He fought and secured high promotion for his trouble.
Eventually the country's top general, he developed his own doctrine for the first Gulf war: overwhelming force. And, talking of the enemy, he added: 'cut it off, and then kill it.' But this fighting talk never made the transfer to his political activities. He could have been Republican or Democrat and may have been both and neither. Talk of him gunning for the Presidency in the mid-90s was rampant but empty - his wife didn't want him to, and he didn't seem to have the hunger for the campaign.
But he did decide he was a Republican and his mere refusal to run made him only the more popular. An American soldier hero... but did he make the transition to civilian politics? One of the least-travelled secretaries of state in modern history. The times I saw him, in Israel, in India, he looked like a man who'd rather be any place else. Tough talk in the Middle East he seems never to have been able to practise.
And when it came to the war on Iraq he had to stand idly by as Defence Secretary Rumsfeld eschewed the Powell doctrine that would have sent huge numbers of troops for the aftermath.
An apt question posed by his resignation could pretty easily be represented in the words 'why stay?' He was, in the end, no Republican fundamentalist. Pro-choice, relaxed on social issues - he didnt quite fit."
¶ Monday, November 15, 2004