Colin Powell took a lot of lumps for doing his job in the Bush administration. His speech to the United Nations in advance of the war in Iraq permanently derailed his promising political career, and America is worse for that fact. He is man of tremendous bravery and restraint, who thinks and prepares diligently for his work. It was his caution during the first Gulf War that prevented the coalition from invading and ultimately destabilizing Iraq 15 years ago, and his steady leadership that diffused the Hainan Island crisis in the early days of the Bush administration when the NeoCons wanted to pick a fight with China. (Aside: Is there anyone those guys didn't want to fight with? I mean, they basically pissed on China, the whole EU, the Muslim world, and Russia. Yeah, way to go guys. I guess they played nice with Poland and Uzbekistan, so that is something.)
Anyway, aside from his major transgression at the UN, making the administration's case for war with Iraq using shoddy and now discredited intelligence (which I am sure he regrets badly and which I am equally sure he knew at the time would be his political undoing but which he did anyway out of a sense of duty to his President), Colin Powell is a Republican in the mold of my father (who wants government out of our wallets AND out of our bedrooms) and one I could whole hearted support.
So I was very pleased that he endorsed Barack Obama today. More than that though, his reasons mirror my own -- that Obama has made the judgements that show that he can reestablish America's respect in the world and that he can lead us through the diplomatic, economic, and security challenges that face us. He also decried the rightward lee of the party on social issues, which he believes has gone too far. Amen brother! More than that though, he echoed the sentiments that I expressed in my last blog post, that the attempt by the Republican party to conflate Muslim with terrorist and to use both as a slur against the next President flies in the face of the inclusion that defines America. Below is his endorsement in whole, and his defense of American Muslims is towards the end.
And in a throwback, about 2 and a half minutes in, Chris Rock discussed Colin Powell's political future back when people thought he should run for president against Clinton. He speaks so well. And if you choose to watch the from the beginnning, you get treated to Chris discussing why Muslims and Jews should eat pork. (Back before Reynolds Wrap, refrigerators, and seasoning, a pork chop could kill you.)
Here is the audio of just the Colin Powell part if you are pressed for time.