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Not a lot has been said about the Secretaries of State program that CNN did over the past weekend.  Being on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, and in the middle of a financial crisis, it pretty much got ignored.  There were a few basic headlines (about the need to talk with Iran, for example).  

But the program was really incredible, and so much more in depth.  America Abroad Media was CNN's radio partner for the event, turning it into a podcast and public radio show.  They've also posted the entire program transcript.  If you missed the show, you should download the podcast and really check out this transcript.

Check out, for example, this exchange between Christiane Amanpour (who rocks) and Powell, from the transcript linked above:

POWELL: In Afghanistan, we did not create conditions of security in the early years. And so, soft power has a role to play and it's complimentary to hard power. But don't underestimate the need to do the first thing that all governments have to do, and that is to provide security for the region.

AMANPOUR: Okay, just-- just-- just to be-- you know, call a spade a spade, Afghanistan was on the way to success. And you were there, your administration was there. I would say the consensus is that the eye was taken off the ball and it went to Iraq. Now, you face what could have been a success and an example and a stabilizing phenomenon in that region, you know, you need to snatch back vict-- victory from the jaws of defeat. So really practically, pragmatically, what do you tell the next Secretary of State-- the next president, as a diplomat and as a military man? What do you tell him? How do you get back Afghanistan?

POWELL: If we have provided a level of security in Iraq with our troops, those that are remaining as well as the proving Iraqi forces, shift your attention, shift your hard power attention and your soft power attention to Afghanistan. Because I think the-- the risks in Afghanistan almost outweigh the risks we've been facing for the last few years in Iraq.

Wow!  Has anyone really called out Powell like this before?  Has any journalist really gone out and said that it is a consensus that America took its eye off the ball?  I mean, of course it's true, but it's so refreshing to actually see the truth, reported.

And, to Powell's credit, he does admit that the US failed to provide security, and that the threat in Afghanistan is actually greater than that posed by Iraq.

Again, some incredible admissions here.

Warren Christopher, also, led off the discussion with a powerful statement:

There are two specific things that I think ought to be done, and a president could do it quite promptly. First, is to outlaw torture in a meaningful way...In the same way it's outlawed in our military. Have that extend to all agencies...

And second, I think that a new administration ought to take a forward-leaning position on climate change. We ought to be leaders there rather than hanging back.

Christopher went on to include waterboarding specifically as torture.  Of course, McCain has already come out against getting rid of waterboarding.  And don't forget that the McCain/GOPalin platform adopted in Minneapolis called human-caused climate change a subject for "debate".

I'm not sure anything like this has ever happened before - five former secretaries of state giving candid opinions and advice.  Of course, I was struck by often these sentiments (even from James Baker) seemed to suggest that McCain's dedication to the Bush Doctrine abroad was a colossal mistake.

Too bad the economy went and crapped the bed, preventing a good discussion of the truths unveiled on this program.

Originally posted to zenbowl on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:32 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips for the truth (17+ / 0-)

    Can I just say that I loves me some Christiane Amanpour.  They don't make them like her any more.  Or, at least, they don't let them on the air.

  •  I think Powell... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbowl, Youffraita, beltane, sanglug

    ... is a more thoughtful man than a lot of people give him credit for. Around here people call him a war criminal and move on.

    Good interview. Thanks for posting it. It would be a shame if this went unread, so I'm reccing.

    "I am in ur walz eatin ur walz" --- The Termite

    by Shelbyville Manhattan on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:35:34 AM PDT

    •  Maybe thoughtful, but so what? (0+ / 0-)

      He facilitated this flaming clusterfuck in Iraq with his speach full of bogus evidence before the U.N. He was the absolutely essential fig-leaf to get the international community and skeptical members of the armed services to go along with the invasion of a sovereign nation completely unrelated to 9/11.

      So until Colin Powell stands in front of television cameras and says "I am profoundly sorry; I lied to the American people and helped launch a disastrous war that damaged our military, our worldwide credibility, and our capacity to go after the true enemy Al-Qaeda. And I will make amends".

      Until Powell gives that speach, he's dead to me.

      •  This is what I mean (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbowl, Robinswing

        We all know what that speech meant. We agree.

        I have absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever, but I think Powell resents being used the way he was. We read the stories back then about how he thought the speech was "bullshit," and yet he gave it anyway.

        I'd like to hear him talk a little more about what was going through his head at that moment.

        Maybe someday it will come out.

        "I am in ur walz eatin ur walz" --- The Termite

        by Shelbyville Manhattan on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:41:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  thanks Shelby (2+ / 0-)

      I think you're right about Powell.  Fortunately for his long-term legacy, he was succeeded by Condi Rice, who will probably go down as one of the least thoughtful and capable Sec States in history.

  •  This is hugely important in the context of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbowl

    the Friday debates.  Maybe it did get ignored, but Obama won't ignore it.  McCain probably will ... to his detriment.

    Auntie Em: Hate you. Hate Kansas. Taking the dog. Dorothy

    by haremoor on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:45:53 AM PDT

  •  Wow, this is fascinating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbowl

    Hey, thanks for pimping this diary, I probably wouldn't have heard about this program until after the election.  This is really interesting!  

    I also thoroughly enjoy Christiane Amanpour, there is something to be said about a journalist who has that much credibility and reputation amongst the majority of the world religions and politicians.  

    I also would be interested in a good discussion on this program...darn that economy.  

    Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. -- Ayn Rand

    by JL Peterson on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 12:29:37 PM PDT

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