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Opinion Colin Powell now passes into legend

11:15  19 october  2021
11:15  19 october  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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The first diary entry in which former President Ronald Reagan mentioned General Colin Powell, Reagan’s initial impression provided a concise summary of what the broader world would soon come to know.

FILE - President Ronald Reagan, accompanied by national security adviser Colin Powell, leaves the White House in Washington, Dec. 16, 1988. Powell, former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, has died from COVID-19 complications. In an announcement on social media Monday, Oct. 18, 2021 the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated. He was 84. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma) © Barry Thumma/AP FILE - President Ronald Reagan, accompanied by national security adviser Colin Powell, leaves the White House in Washington, Dec. 16, 1988. Powell, former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, has died from COVID-19 complications. In an announcement on social media Monday, Oct. 18, 2021 the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated. He was 84. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)

“He’s a good man,” wrote Reagan. And so he was.

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Powell, the former national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state, died Monday at age 84 of a combination of multiple myeloma and complications from COVID-19. History will record his career among the most distinguished in American military and diplomatic history. Yet lists of career accomplishments can’t capture the deeper sense he gave to the American public — a sense of solidity and well-placed patriotism, a sense of reassurance that U.S. interests were indeed in the reliable hands of a man whose core was good.

Each of the dozens of times Reagan mentioned Powell in his diaries, the Gipper gave a sense of having the utmost confidence in Powell’s competence and judgment. And that was even before Powell’s star turn in George H. W. Bush's administration, where as Joint Chiefs chairman he deftly organized the successful mobilization effort for the first Gulf War while offering memorable sound bites in a can-do manner.

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Powell’s wisdom is evident in what came to be known as the Powell Doctrine (although much of it was developed by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger when Powell was his deputy). The doctrine laid out a series of questions to guide decisions of whether and how to take military action, amounting to a considered reluctance to use armed might combined with a determination to use it decisively if it does prove necessary. The doctrine is a work of great wisdom, and U.S. policymakers would be well advised to abide by it.

Of course all this and much else, mostly admirable but occasionally controversial, will be covered in the biographies of Powell that are sure to emerge. Most of them will dwell in early chapters, quite rightly, on how remarkable it was that the son of low-income immigrants in Harlem, New York, a son who by his own admission lacked natural scholastic genius, rose to the top ranks of the U.S. government and global esteem. He did it, as we know, by dint of discipline, work ethic, and martial courage. It is a quintessentially American story, one in which merit and fortitude were rewarded and in turn were allowed to find an outlet beneficial to the broader community. As was said by one of his mentors, eventual Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, “When you get a person who is that astute, you want to use him in bigger things.”

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Well, Powell certainly did bigger things. His steadiness and organizational abilities helped Reagan and Bush manage the successful victory in the Cold War, reorganize the military while bringing it into the computer age, evict Saddam Hussein from Kuwait with dispatch and very few American casualties, and, later, reinvigorate morale and efficiency at the State Department and its far-flung diplomatic corps.

Powell’s shifting political loyalties aside, it was always clear that he patriotically put America foremost, serving this nation with energy and devotion for his entire adult life. He was a good man, yes, and a great public servant. The bugle call of “Taps” will be played with special verve and reverence, and deservedly so, for Colin Luther Powell.

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Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, George H.W. Bush, Secretary of State, Gulf War, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Cold War, Opinion

Original Author: Quin Hillyer

Original Location: Colin Powell now passes into legend

Colin Powell: Soldier, scholar, statesman and gentleman .
One reason Powell chose not to run for president arose from his sense of dignity. After speaking at the 1992 Republican Convention, Powell was dismayed by the fawning and groveling needed to gain the nomination, and of course fundraising. Powell was simply incapable of succumbing to what he found deeply offensive and troubling. And the two voting "yes" to at least consider a run were Colin and his son, Michael. But obviously, that vote was non-binding.One of Powell's greatest legacies is his family: Alma, daughters Linda and AnneMarie and son, Michael.

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This is interesting!