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View Diary: Too Damned Little, Too Damned Late (369 comments)

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  •  I just don't like it when you start a mob (1+ / 0-)
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    mentality by calling someone a coward. I am a Vietnam vet and I guess I have a problem when someone who sits behind a PC and calls someone a coward from the safety of their PC. I know what he did, I even know the details about the Glen letter and how he downplayed US atrocities, but I would never call him a coward.

    •  thousands of innocents are dead (9+ / 0-)

      as a direct result of his craven refusal to act on what he now claims were his misgivings. Coward is the word.

      Emphatically uninterested in the primary, I'm not voting for your candidate based on your clever little post. Bother me in January.

      by nota bene on Sun Jul 08, 2007 at 07:42:10 PM PDT

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      •  I don't care if you call him an asshole, a snake, (0+ / 0-)

        a brown noser or anything else. When you don't know someone and that someone led men into battle, that man (or woman) is not a coward. He was wrongheaded, made the wrong choices, should have resigned. The bottom line is he is a republican. His vision of the world is different than ours. His methods are different. He backed a different party, a president we don't like. He even lied through his teeth, but he is not a coward. He deserves our wrath, our distrust and animosity. He has lost the respect of even many of us who once wore the uniform in service to our country. However, if you read some of the comments throughout this thread, how many of those who call him a coward have ever led men into battle? Spent their entire career in service to their country? MB has written a great post but the last paragraph incited an ugliness that wasn't necessary. History will not write about him as a coward, they will write about him as a tragic figure. I think the label coward is directed hardest at him is because of the disappointment we have that such a once honorable, African American figure became so tied to the opposition party. I guess I am also a bit offended that the one administration that is so vehemently written about in this post and thread about cowardice is an African American.

        •  tazz, Just as a cowardly man may someday (8+ / 0-)

          prove himself brave by the action he takes, so can a once courageous man prove himself a coward by his failure to take action.

          People change.

          American Christians are becoming less of either

          by jayden on Sun Jul 08, 2007 at 08:26:34 PM PDT

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          •  I just wish the term coward was not directed (0+ / 0-)

            at the African American who was the only administration official who had the courage to come from 30 years of wearing the uniform. That kind of bothers me.

            •  He let us all down, tazz (2+ / 0-)
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              Hornito, naltikriti

              I think it's unfortunate when the word "coward" applies to anyone.

              The fact that he is African American has nothing to do with the disappointment and disgust people direct toward him. It has everything to do with the dishonorable way he conducted himself in the rush to war.

              He took a chance against his honor and America lost big. The negative backlash against him is justified.

              He let us all down, tazz.

              American Christians are becoming less of either

              by jayden on Sun Jul 08, 2007 at 09:49:34 PM PDT

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            •  Sounds like race is your problem...... (1+ / 0-)
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              who cares if he is black or white or purple. He is a coward.

              Jeez it sounds like you had too much invested in Powell.

            •  I understand, but Powell's certainly not alone (0+ / 0-)

              His record of career first goes back at least as far as My Lai. However, if it makes any difference, I am more than happy to direct the word coward at several others who are not African-American, but who found the "courage" to speak out about Iraq only after the were safely retired.

              After Shinseki and McPeak paid the price for disagreeing with Rummy about the war, the others were either noticeably quiet or even, like Zinni, enthusiastic cheerleaders of the war until Rumsfeld couldn't reach them, then they managed to "revolt," as Time put it. Riggs, Henry, Schoomaker, Newbold, Eaton, even Batiste couldn't manage to find the moral courage to speak out then, although they now say they felt that way all along.

              I will add that, like Powell, Batiste has gone further than most of them in opposing the Iraq war now, even to the point of losing his cushy ABC gig for making ads for VoteVets. But I'm not at all certain that he would have done so if he had realize that might happen.

              Powell may have had a position of greater authority than some of them, or not. (As has become glaringly obvious of late, the only person in this administration, including shrub, with any real authority is The Dick.) But any of them could have had a tremendous impact on the public discourse had they chosen to do so.

              "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke

              by carolita on Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 09:23:50 AM PDT

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        •  color me unconvinced (4+ / 0-)

          he's a coward. He had a moral duty to stop a war that he clearly believes was wrong, and he failed. He should have resigned.

          Re-read this:

          Powell told Walters he is unfazed by criticism that he put loyalty to the president over leadership. "Loyalty is a trait that I value, and yes, I am loyal. And there are some who say, 'Well, you shouldn't have supported it. You should have resigned.' But I'm glad that Saddam Hussein is gone. I'm glad that that regime is gone," he said.

          Notice how he changed the subject.

          He is avoiding his own moral culpability, probably because he doesn't give a fuck. I think he knows he'll never again be considered for higher office and that is probably the only regret that he has....he couldn't parlay his role in initiating a trillion-dollar war into anything better than a disgruntled self-serving ex-Cabinet member sniping from the sidelines.

          Emphatically uninterested in the primary, I'm not voting for your candidate based on your clever little post. Bother me in January.

          by nota bene on Sun Jul 08, 2007 at 09:30:11 PM PDT

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        •  I understand your concerns here ... (7+ / 0-)

          ...and I respect you for expressing them civilly when I am sure you are seething. You're probably not going to like what I say now, either.

          What's arguably most disturbing about Powell is that, as a soldier, as an African-American who spent 30 years in uniform, he should have protected soldiers, not told lies that put them in harm's way and helped put several thousand of them into premature graves.

          And he did this why exactly?

          He claims in the excerpts linked above that he's not a quitter. But, in fact, that is precisely what he is. He surrendered to Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush. He didn't say to himself or the rest of us: these guys are wrong, they're going to get a bunch of people killed for bogus reasons, for a hoax, and I have to stop them or bust my career trying. Had he gone that route, he'd be a hero today instead of some whining has-been doing penance spouting half-truths about his record. And I'd be praising him as a stand-up guy.

    •  I'll agree with you tazz (1+ / 0-)
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      I'm a navy vet.  Never saw combat.  And I'd agree that when you call someone a coward, you're really putting the knife in deep.  

      A coward is someone who lacks courage, or someone whose courage fails them at a critical time.  The word courage in old English was a synonym for heart.  

      Powell did two tours of Vietnam.  His first tour was in 1962. Earned a Purple Heart.  For that, I count him no more a coward than John Kerry, for example.  Both served their country honorably and heroically.  

      Thereafter, his career followed a trajectory that is not uncommon for general officers.  He was dutiful, loyal, and did not rock the boat.  He was highly competent in the performance of his duties, and made grade with regularity.  

      The Powell problem, however, is one that many officers face during their career.  To what or whom, precisely, is one loyal?  To the constitution?  To superior officers?  To your men?  To your career?  And what of your own conscience?  More than once did a superior officer express to me a profound disagreement with a general order, but carried it out anyway.  To be a soldier, one must defer your own judgment to others and quell the rumblings of your conscience.   Always assume your superiors know better.  

      Recently, Col. Paul Yingling wrote a widely discussed article in Armed Forces Journal titled "A Failure in Generalship," which partly address the "don't rock the boat" ethic in the upper ranks.    Yingling writes that the failure of general officers to voice dissent on Iraq policy, both pre-and post-invasion, represents and abdication of their responsibilities to their commander-in-chief, the men who serve under them, and to all Americans.  Col. Yingling argues that generals do indeed have an obligation to rock the boat when they forsee catastophe in the making.  

      The military environment makes dissent difficult.  Within the Bush administration, even at cabinent level, dissent is made all the more undesirable, given the vengeful nature of the Vice President and those of his ilk.  Nonetheless, if loyalty to the nation, the men in the armed forces, and the American people is
      paramount, you must dissent.  But of course, you must also be prepared to pay the consequences.  

      Yingling's article implies that generals such as Casey, Pace, and even Petraeus have served their careers well, but not the nation, with their silent assent to Iraq policy.  Others, such as Shinseki, have had their careers ended abruptly by speaking their conscience.  But generals are human, and to be be a good general, you must be a good human.  You must have integrity and courage.  

      Powell's courage failed him at a time critical for our nation.  As so many have pointed out, he could have done much to prevent the rush to war.  Did his loyalty to Bush, or perhaps his career, outweigh his obligation to speak his conscience?  I don't know.  What I do know is that even brave men can lose their way, can have a lapse of courage.

      Powell is not a coward.  But he did not present a courageous profile in the runup to the invasion.  Very few did.  I think there are many past and present members of this administration who are going to rue their association with this gang of thugs who purport to be running our country.  I hope they can atone for what they have done--or failed to do--by becoming more forceful advocates for honest and open government, thoughtful  policymaking, and loyalty above all to the Constitution they have sworm to protect and defend.  

      I'll give Powell a chance to atone before I pass judgement.  As for Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld,  and all their henchmen, I would say the same, except I don't think they have the conscience Powell has.    

    •  He is a coward get over it...... (1+ / 0-)
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      There is physical courage and moral courage. Any dimwit can display physical courage but the greater man displays moral courage along with physical courage.

      Powell lacks moral courage....he is a coward.

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