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Colin Powell, Plamegate, loyalty

Et tu, Colin?

By John Burtis

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Caesar was stabbed, in the end, by one of his closest and most loyal friends, Brutus. And George Bush was betrayed throughout the course of the entire Fitzgerald inquisition by his one time friend and close confidant, Colin Powell, who knew all along the involvement of Richard Armitage, and chose to keep quiet.

Loyalty runs between many extremes.

Loyalty motivates US Marines to leave cover, under enemy fire, to rescue wounded comrades, often at the cost of their own lives, and pull them to safety and their comrades.

Fidelity will send firefighters rushing back inside a burning building when they hear the shrill scream of a personal alarm locator from a fallen brother or sister.

And allegiance to a police partner's wishes will send you pell-melling it headlong to the nearest emergency room, while another cop cradles your wounded partner in the back seat-- because you promised you'd never wait for the ambulance and you'd head for the nearest trauma bay Code 3 -- you keep those promises you make because someday it might be you with a hole in your neck.

And on the other end of the scale, we should be able to find men in the United States willing to serve our government, capable of showing an understandable loyalty to the President with enough inner strength to tell him of the nature of gross and harmful injustices being committed against him when they occur, particularly when those having knowledge of the ongoing perfidies are the Secretary of State and his assistant, especially when we are at war.

Just as we should also be able to find men willing to resign when purpose trumps morality.

We are, after all, not a government of made men, but one of honor, based on loyalty to the Constitution, not to a particular man. But when actions and activities begin to destroy the fabric of government, they assault the Constitution as well, and betray the electorate.

However, it has become readily apparent, with the increasing evidence at hand in the great Patrick Fitzgerald total miscarriage of justice case, that Colin Powell knew that Richard Armitage let slip the dogs of rumor which consumed the press, the White House, the Democrats, and America in a nigh on three year flurry of accusatory affirmations about the current Administration, and kept his mouth shut about the affair, while knowing that his display of knowledge could have halted the entire affair, and spared the President gross rumors of dishonor. And with the knowledge of the cause of this base dishonor, came their heedlessness to the protection of our Constitution.

By lying doggo, Mr. Powell demonstrated his lack of loyalty to the President, yes, but to America, his country, and allowed a circus of enmity rivaling Watergate to engulf the government, causing no end of damage to everyone, high and low, from the President, to Dick Cheney, to Karl Rove, and to Scooter Libby, and to untold others.

In addition, his silence provided the most damaging of vile ammunition to the Democrats, their lickspittles in the mainstream "press," the empty talking heads limning the Democratic echoes found on the likes of CNN, and for the professional baiters and road weary hucksters like Bob Beckel, James Carville, and Eleanor Clift.

Why would the Secretary of State choose to allow such destruction to take place, knowing that he had the duty to stop it and could have at any time by simply walking to the White House, picking up the phone, or calling one or two newspapers?

What did Colin Powell have to gain by his reticence and why was Mr. Powell so eager to protect Mr. Richard Armitage?

Did Mr. Powell anguish over some slight? Was his advice not heeded on some major or minor international caper? Did Mr. Rumsfeld trump Mr. Powell on the great board game of political chess which is played every day in Mr. Bush's eight year home? Did Mr. Powell get scratched from a favored seat on Air Force One? Was Mr. Powell rebuked in a meeting, which rankled?

And if so, didn't Mr. Powell have the duty to speak his mind and then resign?

Does Mr. Powell carry some grudge from his time as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when serving at the behest of President Bush 41? Is there a problem packed in his ditty bag from the time of the cease fire ordered during the massacre on the Highway of Death during the waning hours of Gulf War I?

But if there is some deleterious item stowed away in Colin Powell's baggage, as Secretary of State he has the choice of chucking it away at the hour of his confirmation, of telling President Bush, or of recognizing and working around this elephant in his living room during his tenure as Secretary of State.

Mr. Powell does, after all is said and done, share a good deal of the responsibility for the fate of this country. And if he cannot exercise his duties fairly, without carrying forever the stench of Brutus, then every one of us would have been far better off without his service, storied or otherwise.

But the idea that a Secretary of State, fourth in line to assume the office of the Presidency in case of a national emergency, should choose to openly allow an unprecedented three year attack on the Presidency, utterly diminishes Colin Powell in stature, character, and in the professed love of his country, to say nothing of totally abrogating his oath of office.

As far as I can see it, with as forgiving a soul in the White House as George Bush - who seems to have put so many obvious prosecutions on the back burner, including the likes of a Mary McCarthy or a dastardly Sandy Berger, out of a form of compassionate conservatism - it seems that Colin Powell simply stabbed the President of the United States in the back because he could, because he would get away with it, because he would not be held to task for his grave misdeeds by a man known to turn the other cheek, and because an acceptable form of loyalty in American government to the United States of America, above all else, simply no longer exists.

With Colin Powell, as with Mr. Armitage, loyalty has finally gone the way of the Model-T.

And sadly, Mr. Powell's damage will be enshrined forever by the left in what appears to be their longest running hit piece of modern times.

Et tu, Colin?

John Burtis is a former Broome County, NY firefighter, a retired Santa Monica, CA, police officer. He obtained his BA in European History at Boston University and is fluent in German. He resides in NH with his wife, Betsy. John Burtis can be reached at:

Other articles by John Burits

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