Murray Kempton, a great journalist of the century past, once wrote, “There is a certain kind of politician who stays safely in the hills during a battle and then comes down and shoots the wounded.”
It’s painful to apply this to Colin Powell. I admire him in so many ways, but there is no other way to describe what he is doing now. Long after his speaking out or resigning could have made a difference, he is now telling us how hard he tried to persuade George W. Bush not to invade Iraq.
“I tried to avoid this war,” Powell told the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado this week. “I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”
Now it’s too late. “The civil war will ultimately be resolved by a test of arms,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty to watch, but I don’t know any way to avoid it. It is happening now.”
All that U.S. troops can do now, according to Powell, is put “a heavier lid on this pot of boiling sectarian stew.”
The time to have told us that was when Bush’s Neo-Cons were slicing and dicing the truth about Iraq and lighting the fire.