I have a dream.
In my dream, Secretary of State Colin Powell comes out from hiding and
somehow skews up the courage to serve his country in the best way possible:
After he resigns, he talks.
Even without a book to push, he talks. He tells all. He tells how the
Bush administration used him as a front man, a token, while ignoring his
experience and wisdom.
In my dream, Powell -- once the most popular politician in America --
repeats his famous "Powell Doctrine."
The key elements:
- Go to war only when the national interest is at stake.
- Use overwhelming force.
- Have an exit strategy.
- After victory, leave. Do not stay around as peacekeepers.
That, in abbreviated form, is the Powell Doctrine. When President George
W. Bush sent American troops off to conquer Iraq, he violated every part
In my dream, Powell anticipates how historians will treat the sordid
little chapter of history known as the Second Bush Administration.
The writing is already on the wall. History will record how Powell embarrassed
himself and his country with his humiliating appearance before the United
Nations on Feb. 5, 2003. That was the day, you'll recall, that Powell
detailed many of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, none of
which has been found to exist.
That was the day Powell's world reputation was flushed into the East
River. Powell's shoddy performance at the U.N. had all the credibility
of a news release by Baghdad Bob, Iraq's reality-challenged minister of
With his reputation in tatters, Powell had two obvious choices: he could
resign in disgrace or he could brazen it out and hope to rehabilitate
himself. He chose the rehab route.
That's good. Even a failed politician deserves a second chance. Powell's
rehab strategy so far has been to keep a low profile. That is working,
at least to the extent that it keeps him from making new blunders.
But now it's time for Powell to make his move. It's now or never. If
he waits until the thoroughly corrupt Bush administration wins a second
term, it'll be too late for Powell, too late for America, too late for
At this moment, only Powell has enough credibility to remove the scales
from the eyes of the True Bush Believers.
So far Powell has shown himself to be the true company man. He laughs
at all the boss's jokes. He lets the boss beat him in golf. He chuckles
appreciatively when the boss berates him in front of others. He looks
the other way when the boss commits crimes.
There is something fishy going on with this year's election. Consider
this: Four years ago, Al Gore got 540,000 more votes than Bush. But Gore
lost because of Electoral College idiosyncracies.
This year, Republicans by the millions are abandoning their party (just
this one time) to vote against Bush. With the possible exception of Nixon,
Bush is the most reviled president since Herbert Hoover.
So if Gore beat Bush handily in the popular vote, shouldn't John Kerry
be miles ahead of Bush in the polls? Good Republicans are voting for the
Democrat, but not very many Democrats want the very un-Republican Republican.
So why are the polls so close?
There can be little doubt that the Bushies are even now pulling every
possible dirty trick in order to win. Qualified voters are being pulled
from the voters' rolls. Democratic registrations have been destroyed.
And, in Florida, a key state, Bush has been showering the voters with
money. If you got hit with as little as a 40-mph gust in Florida last
month, the feds have a check for you, few questions asked.
Kerry can win on Nov. 2, but it appears he'll have to win overwhelmingly
to overcome the Bushies' dirty tricks. That's where Colin Powell comes
Powell isn't stupid. He knows how corrupt the Bush administration is.
He knows the war against the Iraqi people never should have been started.
He knows that the rich in America are getting disgustingly richer while
the poor are slowly dying in poverty. He knows that the Bush administration
has been the worst in American history. And, if he has a soul at all,
he has to feel tremendous pangs of regret that he's tied in with such
an unprincipled bunch.
In my dream, Colin Powell has a soul. In my dream, he says, "Enough!"
In my dream, Powell lets go of all the anger and frustration and humiliation
he's accumulated over the past four years. In my dream, Powell saves America
and the world from four more years of George W. Bush.
Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist. His column appears Mondays.
E-mail him at email@example.com.
© 2004 San Francisco Chronicle