A Book by General Colin Powell

As I have been taking in the already overloaded and overdone presidential pool that is expounding itself before us, I decided to read about someone other than the standard presidential molded candidate. I read a book about Eisenhower to get started, and then I came upon this one.

I will say it now, and say it straight, and I hope someone out there will say either YAY or NAY to the following statement:


At least, according to his book, that’s my thought.

In this book, I met a man who grew up in New York City, the child of Jamaican immigrants (LOOK! I used the “I” word….) and was at best a fair to middlin’ student in public schools… and didn’t exactly fire it up in college, either. He got himself going in the military via the ROTC bit in college – and lo, a career military man arose.

In this book, I met a man who rose through the ranks, thought he had made it as high as he was going to get promoted, but then found himself advancing further because he paid attention and worked hard.

In this book, I met a man who learned that leadership is nothing unless there’s followship – and both require loyalty. In his military career, he saw the value of making sure the privates (the grunts of our army) were taken care of … and heeded. He related tales of how the upper echelon brass would screw things up because they did not listen to those on the front lines. In his public service career as Secretary of State, he found the same things to be true – the decision makers that isolated themselves, listening only to those at similar levels, were doomed to major mistakes in policy matters – his big example was the decision to take on Iran on the assumption that they had weapons of mass destruction — and that decision was wrong. Did President Bush and all lie about that as we’ve heard? According to Gen. Powell, no. The fault lay with the sources of their intelligence – some from the CIA, and a legal brief prepared by Dick Chaney pal Scooter Libby … (which I found interesting) … Powell went on to say that he was put off by using a legal brief for an international matter – he would have preferred intel from actual covert groups like the CIA … and the rest is history.

Also interesting – Powell freely states that the conclusion about Iran and WMDS was wrong – and wishes that could be undone. I like the humility in his words.

Powell also spoke of his relationships with so many others – teachers, other military brass, politicians, his family, international ambassadors of other countries – and how he learned something from all of them.

I got the feeling that Gen. Powell is a good man. He chose to not run for president, but as for me, I wish he had . . . and I am keeping my eyes open for one like him if he won’t run.

Any suggestions?