View Full Version : Colin Powell Resignation

November 16th, 2004, 07:20 AM

Powell resignation letter (PDF)

Biography ___

Date of Birth: April 5, 1937
Career Highlights: Chairman of America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth; professional soldier for 35 years, rose to the rank of four-star Army general; 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Education: City College of New York, bachelor of science, geology; George Washington University, master of business administration
Family: Married to Alma Vivien Powell; son Michael; daughters Linda and Anne

Reaction Mixed Around the World

Some Disappointed by Powell's Departure, Others Welcome It

By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 15 -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's resignation announcement Monday evoked a mixed international reaction of personal sympathy, political disappointment and intense concern over whether his replacement will be another moderate or a hard-line ideologue.

From Paris to Kampala, officials and analysts of U.S. foreign policy said Powell was an honest broker within an administration that was highly unpopular overseas and whose motives have been particularly questioned in Europe and the Middle East.

Yet even among his admirers, Powell never seemed to measure up to the larger-than-life persona he first brought to the job. Many people said he made little mark on U.S. foreign policy and appeared easily outmaneuvered by more aggressive and ideological members of the Bush team, some of whom may now be in line to succeed him.

Reaction to the announcement varied by region. Some African officials, accustomed to a lack of U.S. interest in their problems, praised Powell for pushing African issues onto the administration's agenda. In the Middle East, where Powell's impassioned argument for war with Iraq before the United Nations cost him many admirers, he was described as mostly ineffectual.

Much of the world's interest on Monday centered on who would follow Powell, though with the strongest personalities of the Bush cabinet still in place, many observers predicted little change in U.S. foreign policy, which has frequently appeared overseas to be dictated by the Oval Office and the Pentagon.

"Most people seem to think Colin Powell was the voice of reason," especially in contrast to other officials such as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad al-Uwaisheg, a Saudi official of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the alliance of six Persian Gulf states.

"A lot will depend on the choice of replacement," he said. "The president may signal that he will be more hard-line or choose another moderate. But it's all relative since this whole administration is considered quite hostile to Arab interests."

Some in the Middle East even welcomed Powell's resignation, since countries in the region have been almost uniformly disappointed with the Bush administration's foreign policy.

Many remember Powell fondly as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War, which was supported by a majority of Arab countries. But, more recently, people in the Middle East have had the U.S. invasion of Iraq and what they perceive as unequivocal U.S. support for Israel at the expense of the Palestinians fresh in their minds.

"In the region . . . they thought of him as a man of dialogue, not some tough guy of the American administration," Gebran Tueni, publisher of An-Nahar, Lebanon's most influential daily newspaper, said of Powell.

Throughout Bush's first term, Israeli officials have made no secret of the fact that they deal directly with the White House, often bypassing Powell, whom many Israeli officials consider more sympathetic than Bush to Palestinian positions.

"The policy of the administration is being laid down by the president. I don't think it's going to have any effect on American policy in the Middle East," one Israeli official said of Powell's resignation.

Some Palestinian officials expressed disappointment that the positions of Powell and the State Department were frequently undercut by the White House.

"Mr. Powell has my highest respect and deepest appreciation," said Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator with Israel. "I really hope that in the second term of President Bush we will witness a very positive effort to reconcile the two-state solution."

In Europe, Powell was widely seen as an ally and proponent of a multilateral approach to international issues. His resignation brought expressions of regret from some capitals, where officials were hoping the second Bush administration would take steps to enhance international cooperation.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said it had been "a joy" to work with Powell, whom he called "a man of utmost integrity" and "huge fun," wire services reported.

In Germany, Defense Minister Peter Struck described Powell as "pleasant to talk to and a reliable partner in conversation in the area of defense policy."

In France, there was no immediate official reaction. Powell had clashed with the former foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, over the Iraq war and was widely seen as having lost influence in battles with others in the Bush administration.

News reports of the resignation highlighted Powell's Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons capability. The testimony turned out to be inaccurate, damaging Powell's credibility among the French.

The left-leaning newspaper Liberation said the choice of a successor would indicate whether Bush intends to "pursue further the policy advocated by the neoconservatives, or favor a return to a foreign policy of an outstretched hand."

In Africa, officials and observers said many people had been elated to see an African American rise to the highest ranks of the U.S. government but were later disappointed that Powell failed to show the deep concern for Africa that they expected of him.

At first, "Africa perceived him as one of its own sons in high office, but he's been almost aloof," said Richard Kaavuma, a reporter at the Observer, a weekly newspaper in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Brig. Gen. Festus Okonkwo, a Nigerian who heads the African Union mission in the war-ravaged Darfur region of western Sudan, keeps a framed photograph of Powell inside his trailer. He said he flinched as he heard the news on satellite television.

"I felt he really was someone who cared about Africa," Okonkwo said. In September, Powell visited Darfur and declared that the violence there constituted genocide. Okonkwo said the visit "sent a very important message to African leaders. . . . We wouldn't even have furniture without Powell's demand that we be funded."

Mohamed Abdel Gaffer, a top official in Sudan's Foreign Ministry, said that he disagreed with Powell's assessment of the war in Darfur as genocide but that he respected him for visiting Darfur and for pushing the peace process in a separate civil war.

"Despite our differences, we all thought he was a good man to have in power," Gaffer said.

Correspondents Molly Moore in Jerusalem, Emily Wax in Nyala, Sudan, and Keith Richburg in Paris contributed to this report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

November 16, 2004


Good Soldier Powell

As Secretary of State Colin Powell resigned yesterday, reportedly to be succeeded by the national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, it was hard to avoid the feeling that this imposing figure - who once personified the dignity, integrity and promise of government service and was the first African-American considered to have a shot at the White House - will be remembered for one picture and three sentences.

On Feb. 5, 2003, in an appearance before the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Powell, the retired four-star general and former national security adviser, held up a vial of white powder as a symbol of what he claimed - falsely, as it turned out - were Iraq's huge stockpiles of anthrax. He offered a scathing indictment of Saddam Hussein. "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources,'' he said. "These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

As an increasingly angry world soon learned, Mr. Powell in fact offered half-truths, poorly analyzed intelligence and outright fantasies, from a nuclear weapons program in Baghdad that didn't exist to wildly exaggerated estimates of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons stockpiles and its ties to Al Qaeda.

But at the time, Mr. Powell's performance convinced many Americans skeptical about the war that the Iraqi government was a clear and present danger to the rest of the world. His enormous stature and his image as a moderating force within the administration - valued especially by America's European allies - were squandered in defending a unilateral decision he did not agree with to launch a war in which he did not really seem to believe.

From the start of his tenure as secretary of state, there was a question about which Colin Powell had moved into Foggy Bottom. Was it the decisive, charismatic general who coined a military doctrine that called for waging war only after the establishment of a political consensus behind achievable goals and then the commitment of overwhelming force to reach those ends? Or was it the faithful soldier who prized loyalty above all else?

Mr. Powell began with promise, forcing the long-neglected issues of Africa to the forefront of the administration's agenda. Even after 9/11, when those issues naturally took the back seat, the über-Powell was forever being rumored to be on the cusp of emerging and asserting himself over Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and even Vice President Dick Cheney.

But it's now clear that Mr. Powell long ago chose loyalty over leadership and was not a major figure in the biggest foreign policy decisions of the Bush administration. Most accounts of the rush to war in Iraq show that Mr. Powell was deeply troubled about the planning for the war, its timing and the intense opposition of most of Washington's European allies. But he was unwilling or unable to exert much influence over the president in that critical time, and it's not clear whether Mr. Bush even consulted him before making his decision to go to war.

There were moments in his tenure when Mr. Powell could have resigned over principle. But he soldiered on, leaving when it was safe and convenient for his boss. Yesterday, he told the world that he'd long ago given up any ambition of sticking around for a second term. In the end, his legacy may simply be that the administration that bungled the handling of a war because the president failed to heed the Powell Doctrine was the one in which Mr. Powell himself served.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

TLOZ Link5
November 16th, 2004, 12:45 PM
Bush Nominates Rice to Be Secretary of State
Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:40 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Tuesday nominated a trusted confidant, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state in Bush's second term.

"During the last four years I've relied on her counsel, benefited from her great experience and appreciated her sound and steady judgment. And now I'm honored that she's agreed to serve in my Cabinet," Bush said.

In a White House ceremony, Bush also said he would promote deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley to succeed Rice as national security adviser.

© Copyright Reuters 2004. All rights reserved.

November 17th, 2004, 05:47 AM
November 17, 2004

The Bush Revolution


Having crushed the resistance in Falluja, President Bush is now trying to do the same at the State Department and the C.I.A.

Colin Powell may have "resigned," but don't kid yourself - the White House didn't want him. Mr. Powell's own statement said that he and Mr. Bush "came to the mutual agreement that it would be appropriate for me to leave at this time."

The real winner in this foreign policy wrestling match is Dick Cheney. One of his former aides, Stephen Hadley, will now be the national security adviser, and Condoleezza Rice was run over so many times by Mr. Cheney in the first term that she'll be docile at State.

In a conversation with the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, Mr. Powell once referred in frustration to Mr. Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz as "[expletive] crazies," according to a recent British biography of Tony Blair. Mr. Powell had a point, but they're getting the last laugh.

The central question of President Bush's second term is this: Will he shaft his Christian-right supporters, since he doesn't need them any more, and try to secure his legacy with moderate policies that might unite the country? Or, with no re-election to worry about, will he pursue revolutionary changes on the right? To me, it looks increasingly like the latter.

Many liberals are still enraged at Mr. Powell for misleading the world about Iraqi W.M.D. in his U.N. speech. Fair enough. But wait six months, and they'll fervently wish they had him back. The reality is that Mr. Powell was a voice of reason in foreign policy discussions ranging from Pakistan to Venezuela. Without him, foreign relations would have been even more catastrophic.

On North Korea, Iraq and Europe, Mr. Powell was like the man in the circus who follows the elephants, cleaning up their messes. Yet his even more useful role in the administration was not sensible diplomacy. It was his willingness to disagree, to offer another viewpoint. He pushed back.

Condoleezza Rice is smart, diligent and honest, but she has zero record of pushing back. And that's what Mr. Bush needs - somebody besides Laura who will tell him when he's about to do something stupid.

He needs lots of those somebodies in the intelligence community, whose crucial role is not so much to steal secrets abroad but to resist political pressures at home and offer unwelcome analyses. That will be much less likely now that heads are rolling down the corridors of the C.I.A.'s directorate of operations.

It's fair to replace Mr. Powell, a political appointee, but the spies being pushed out at Langley are career professionals. The intelligence community's best assets aren't those spying for us in foreign capitals, but the thousands of Americans at the C.I.A., the D.I.A., the N.S.A. and the rest of the alphabet soup of spookdom. Their morale - already bad - will suffer a further dive, along with their effectiveness.

So what should we expect in a second term?

A squeeze on North Korea The hawks have been impatient with what they see as the coddling of North Korea, and unless there is progress soon, there will be a push to get tougher and apply sanctions.

A continued embrace of Ariel Sharon With Mr. Powell out, there will be no one in the administration pushing Mr. Bush toward a more balanced policy. Tony Blair will try, but he's too far away.

A collision with Iran When Iran's new agreement with Europe on curbing its nuclear programs falls apart, the U.S. will resume its push for regime change in Iran (ironically, pushing for regime change in Iran and Cuba is what keeps those regimes in power). Then the U.S. will discuss whether to look the other way as Israel launches airstrikes on Iranian nuclear sites.

Dithering on Darfur Mr. Powell traveled to Darfur, proclaimed the slaughter there to be genocide and quietly pushed within the administration to get some action. I wish he had done much more, but, by contrast, the White House has been lackadaisical.

A litmus test of foreign policy prospects will be whether John Bolton, a genial raptor among the doves at State, is promoted to be its deputy secretary. For liberals who have been wavering on whether to move to New Zealand, that would be a sign to head for the airport.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company