The truth about Powell


Colin Powell has been the subject of many flatering portraits. Supposedly, "everyone" agrees on what a fine selfless public servant he has been. But now that he is no longer Secretary of State, American diplomacy mirculously keeps notching greater successes than before.

The truth, ever so slowly and indirectly, is coming out. A prime example is buried ideeply in Jim Hoagland's column today in the Washington Post: [emphasis added]

Although greatly reduced since Rice replaced Colin Powell at Foggy Bottom, wrangling between the departments of State and Defense continues....

But now sitting in the Cabinet, Rice has pumped new energy and discipline into a fractious system that languished when she was Bush's national security adviser. She moved quickly to establish clearer definitions and responsibilities for her department in the struggle to eradicate al Qaeda, the Zarqawi gang in Iraq and other jihadists.

That means defining other departments' responsibilities as well. In Bush's first term, bitter disputes —— based in personality clashes and a settling of old scores as much as in substance —— would have handicapped such an exercise.

But internal strife has largely subsided since the departure of Powell and his powerful deputy, Richard Armitage, who skillfully provided background information on the shortcomings of perceived enemies at the Pentagon and elsewhere to congressional and other allies. Here's an interesting coincidence: Armitage was a mentor to virtually all of the State Department personnel whose cases of mistreatment by U.N. ambassador—designate John Bolton were cited in Senate hearings last week, and Powell has pointedly declined to support Bolton.

Hat tip: Ed Laksy 

Thomas Lifson  4 24 05