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Martin Lewis Headshot

Four-Star General - or Disobedient Houseboy?

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There are some people who have contended that George W. Bush never had any real regard for his first Secretary Of State - Colin Powell.

• That he dropped hints about Powell joining his administration during the 2000 election campaign as a shameless ploy to dupe independents into voting for him.

• That he cynically exploited the deep patriotic commitment to his nation of a highly-regarded and decorated soldier merely because he was an African-American - and less than 9% of the African-American population had voted for Bush in 2000.

• That he regarded Powell as a convenient token black man to place in his administration as a gossamer-thin veneer for his disinterest in striving for racial equality.

• That he thought of Powell as a wafer-thin cover for his own shameful lack of knowledge of international matters (especially for a then 54-year-old politician who had been elected President).

• That he saw Powell as a "moderate" cover for the neo-con policies he actually believed in and was determined to pursue.

• That all-along he had intended to 'caponize' Powell and vest actual power in Cheney and Rumsfeld - and use Powell merely as a front to appease the international community and the UN.

• That he tricked or manipulated Powell into making the fabricated case for the Iraq war at the United Nations because he knew Powell's reputation for integrity might convince wavering nations.

In other words a "patsy".... A fig-leaf... A tool... A houseboy.

As Harry Belafonte said in October 2002:

"There's an old saying in the days of slavery. There are those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master. Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house of the master."

But I don't think that George W. Bush has ever thought that way!

Because George W. Bush has repeatedly told us that he is an upstanding, God-fearing, Christian man who has restored honor and dignity to the White House. And therefore I always take George W. Bush at his words.

And here they are:

"I know of no better person to be the face and voice of American diplomacy than Colin L. Powell. An American hero, an American example, and a great American story. ...providing good counsel, strong leadership and an example of integrity for every one for whom he serves."

- December 17th 2000. Crawford, Texas.

Now George W. Bush wishes to abrogate the Geneva Convention.

And in response to Colin Powell's carefully-worded objections that this would harm America's moral position - and might cause harm to America's troops - George W. Bush responds by saying that General Colin Powell - doesn't understand the Geneva Convention!!!

"Article III of the Geneva Convention is hard for a lot of citizens to understand..." - George W. Bush - September 15th 2006

If the views of four-star General Colin L. Powell - the "American hero" who Bush personally selected to serve as Secretary Of State because of his "good counsel, strong leadership and integrity" - are not to be respected on the very topic that he knows most about (having actually served his country in the military with valor) - well then how does George W. Bush REALLY regard him?

Four-Star General or Disobedient Houseboy?