Monday, June 11, 2007

Colin Powell Finally Gets it Right

Saw this at Talking Points Memo today...

"If it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo. Not tomorrow, but this afternoon. I'd close it," he said.

"And I would not let any of those people go," he said. "I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system. The concern was, well then they'll have access to lawyers, then they'll have access to writs of habeas corpus. So what? Let them. Isn't that what our system is all about?"

"Every morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere, is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds," Powell said. "We have shaken the belief that the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open… We don’t need it, and it’s causing us far more damage than any good we get for it."

Exactly right. If people have so little faith in American principles, then there is no point in having an America. The entire weight of human history argues for this basic rationality against the collective temper tantrum of the last 6 years. It is time to grow up and stop living in fear, however many still cannot make that choice.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

That's thilling to see.

Too bad it was too little and much, much too late. The Bushes used him as a stalking horse then; aside from a headline, nobody's listening to him now.

Damn shame actually. Colin Powell could have (and should have) done so damn much good.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Many people don't realize that Colin Powell was just being a good former military officer and obeying his superiors.

I know...lame excuse...but it's still kind of hard to blame him. You couldn't really expect the Secretary of State to defy and to contradict openly the official policy of his administration, could you?

Pandabonium said...

Rings hollow to me, coming from Powell. He even minced his words by only obliquely referring to natural rights outlined in the Constitution.

The US and allies told the world at the Nuremberg trials that "following orders" was not an acceptable excuse. How Powell sleeps with the blood of so many Americans and Iraqis on his hands, I don't know.

Actually Powell's entire career has been doing lies and cover-ups for his higher ups, starting with the My Lai massacre. And people below him did stand up and say no, paid the price, and got the truth out.

Whatever his motivation, I'm glad someone is saying it and getting some press.

ladybug said...

Yea, I'm with you Panda - that whole My Lai thing was pretty disgusting.

Seems to me Mr. Powell learned quick the way to get ahead in the Military was to Kiss A$$, and yes, it's a bit late now for regrets.

Wish that Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice & Gonzales would speak up too, but I don't think they even have a conscience to salvage at this point.

Dean Wormer said...

Powell has no honor.

He may be trying to repair his public image but it's too late.

The minute he got up before the U.N. and lied he tarnished his reputation for all time.

(Not that it was a sterling reputation to begin with as Panda and Lady have pointed out.)

Anonymous said...

I am not in favor of having terrorists on US soil. Its not the lawyers that worries me, it is the potential for escape.

Pandabonium said...

Since all regard for international treaties and individual rights have been ignored, and habeas corpus suspended, we don't KNOW if any of the people at GITMO are terrorists or of any danger to anyone in the US.

Maybe some are, but since the whole system is secret we can't know. For the previous eight hundred years we've had a thing called "habeas corpus", which means the government has to produce some evidence for what they are arresting you for.

Over half of those sent to Gitmo were later released. How would you like to be doing your job, have a foreign country arrest you without charge and send you half way around the world to a place like Gitmo? Isolate you, water-board you and who knows what else? Then after several years you get sent home with out so much as an apology.

The reason the government set up the prison camp at Gitmo was not to protect you from possible escapees.
It was an attempt to get around court rulings which said they could not do what they are doing under the US Constitution. The reasoning by the administration was that Gitmo is Cuba, not the USA, so they don't have to obey the Constitution there. It had nothing to do with your protection. (and of course the argument is utter nonsense). Bush likes to say he took an oath to protect the American people. He did not. He took an oath that he would "to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
(Note: it does not say "dodge, evade, subvert, ignore..")

Making citizens so afraid of some "bogey man" that they will give up their natural (or God given if you prefer) rights in exchange for protection is a trick that has been used by despots since the Roman Empire, and probably before that.

The USA has fended off far more powerful and dangerous enemies than this rable without sacrificing the very principles that it was founded upon. Don't be neo-conned. Stand up for Liberty, the rights you save will be your own.

Swinebread said...

F-You Powell... much, much too late

Anonymous said...

Pandamonium, we lost our freedom when GWB signed the executive order granting him extraordinary powers in the name of national emergencies. Not one single member of congress stood up against it. Our only hope is that GWB is not as corrupt as it appears.

Pandabonium said...

Pa'ave - yes, one more straw on the camel's back - a big one.

memo said...

Powell is just a puppet..just like everyone else in the US government including Bush.. So yea he said that guantanmo needs to be closed, so has everyone else.. And there are terrorists in there? I don't think so..No one even knows what is happening in there..No one knows who is in there..except we hear the occasional prisoner abuse and toucher. Disgusting.

Don Snabulus said...

Lots of interesting responses. The general consensus is that Mr. Powell has no credibility and I realize that. However, it is nice to hear a statement like he made, even if he is one of the crocodiles out there.