What most galls me about these events is the extent to which the architects of war bask in the glory of those to whom they refer as having “paid the ultimate sacrifice.” As they stand before us with the American flags at their backs, dripping in gold and uttering lofty words that ring hollow in my ears, I am overcome by a slight wave of nausea. I don’t trust military brass any more than I do the politicians to whom they are beholden. For the most part, they covet the trappings of power and privilege that goes with their station in life, often realized by the sacrifice of those they praise. I can’t even begin to imagine the silent cadre of those who walk the halls of the Pentagon, routinely selling out their country to the military-industrial complex, devoid of any shame, looking upon their dastardly deeds as routine business. As Lord Action so aptly stated, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
While those of lesser station pay the ultimate sacrifice, the military brass live lives of comfort and privilege akin to those on the upper rungs of the social ladder. They retire with fat pensions, become lobbyists and engage in other endeavors that are the direct result of having “served their country with distinction.” Those returning from their wars, whose lives are in shambles, have to fight and beg for every benefit they need in order to ease the pain and a lifetime of suffering that have become their lot by having served their country. Meanwhile, over thirty from the ranks of retired military “brass” lined up behind Hillary Clinton, extolling her experience as a superior qualifier for the presidency. What experience? She has no executive experience. That, alone, speaks volumes. Yeah, shower us all with more of your bovine scatology.
The greatest affront to the nation at last night’s gala on the mall was the role played by Colin Powell. Have you noticed the lengths to which his cronies are going to sanitize his character and polish his image? He is even being rumored as a possible candidate for vice-president in the forthcoming presidential elections, no doubt as part of the right “mix,” deemed by the political pundits as most marketable to the American electorate. This is the same guy who sat before the United Nations, knowingly and willingly peddling doctored photographs, and false statistics, all the while intoning the imminent threat of bogus weapons of mass destruction about to come raining down around our heads. His good looks and resonate voice not withstanding, he is nothing but a common, garden-variety liar! No amount of burnishing will restore the lost luster of honor to his blemished character. He is what he is.
I doubt that Colin Powell was a particularly remarkable military strategist or leader. He got where he is through his skill at playing the political game, and he has benefited handsomely from his success in that regard. He was at the right place at the right time. The most glaring flaw in his makeup is his total lack of character. He alone could have aborted the disastrous invasion of Iraq by simply telling the truth; exposing what was being asked of him and resigning his position as Secretary of State rather than continue being a part of the grand deception. He could have, and should have, been the chief critic of the war and those who sold this nation a bill of goods leading up to it. Instead, he chose his own personal ambitions at the expense of the nation and the lives of over 4,000 young men and women. Countless numbers of others have been physically and emotionally scarred by having served their country with honor and distinction. And the toll continues to rise. Their blood will forever stain the hands of Colin Powell. He isn’t worthy to stand in the shadow of one foot- soldier, much less extol the courage and sacrifice of all the real heroes we honor this Memorial Day.
That the apple does not fall far from the tree is further underscored by the antics of Colin Powell’s son, Michael. While serving as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, he presided over the wholesale giveaway of publicly owned airwaves to the corporate behemoths that now use those airwaves to serve their own ends, rather than the common good. His bank account, no doubt, speaks to the success of his public service. Good job, Michael. A chip off the old block.
Yes, the Powell’s will surely go down in history as one of America’s most distinguished military families for all they have given through their tireless efforts on behalf of the country. Hogwash! They are nothing but a bunch of elitist frauds. I rather doubt they have ever done much of anything that did not net them a seat at the head table.
In the absence of any genuine shame and remorse, I can only hope that Divine Justice and the ghosts of all those who have fallen victim to the likes of Colin Powell, and those of like mind, will haunt them every day for the rest of their lives. They deserve nothing less.
May 26, 2008