Colin Powell General Colin L Term Paper

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Powell was unanimously approved by the Senate and became the first African-American to hold that position. His service as Secretary of State is a clear example of his reticence, yet readiness, for war. While Powell is known for "the so-called Powell doctrine -- that U.S. military power only be used in overwhelming strength to achieve well-defined strategic national interests," ( 3) he made a famous speech to the United Nations in which he voiced support for the war in Iraq. Although he clashed with the often "hawkish" members of the Bush White House such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, "one of Powell's best known moments as secretary of state was his speech last year [2003] to the U.N. Security Council in which he made a case for invading Iraq" (King 3). The initial invasion of Iraq was billed as necessary by the Bush White House because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction that Bush believed were present in Iraq and under the control of Saddam Hussein. Colin Powell was part of the failed intelligence chain of command that "said that Saddam Hussein was still developing weapons of mass destruction despite years of U.N. disarmament demands. Those claims about Iraq weaponry were never borne out" (King 3).

Despite Powell's military record and role in the Bush team that began the war in Iraq, many Americans perceive Powell as being the voice of peace and dissent in the Bush White House. Immediately after Bush won reelection for a second term in 2004, Powell submitted his resignation as Secretary of State. The rumors of his clashes with the other more "hawkish" members of the Cabinet appeared to be confirmed by a state department official who explained that Powell "was not asked to stay" (King 2). Even after stepping down, Powell has been vocal in his disagreements with the Bush foreign policy. According to the Houston Chronicle, Powell "publicly supported efforts by several senators to counter an administration proposal to change rules governing the interrogation of suspected terrorists...saying it is vital for the image of the U.S. not to make changes in long-standing agreements that could be seen as a license for abuse" (Tolson 2). Even though Powell disagrees with some of the Bush stance on the war on terror, he still maintains a tough stand on the matter. In a speech to the World Affairs Council of Houston, Powell said "What terrorists cannot do is change the nature of our society -- a society that rests solidly on the rule of law and constitutional principles, a society that respects openness and difference of opinion. Only we can change that...I'm determined to defeat the terrorists by remaining an open, welcoming place that the world respects" (Tolson 2).

The respect and involvement of the rest of world is an important part of Powell's plan for defeating terrorism and maintaining the power and values of the United States. Even though Powell is a military man who has led divisions, fought battles, and attained the rank of a four-star general, he retains a balanced view of military power and possibilities. The strength of diplomacy coupled with the backing of unrivaled military might would be his ideal negotiating platform. Powell's work with the group America's Promise proves that he believes in the dignity and possibility of the next generation of Americans. This group seeks to improve "investment in our youth...through constructive, character-building activities" ( This same respect and hope is reflected in Powell's view that "the sources of national strength and security for one nation need no longer threaten the security of others. Politics need not always be a zero-sum competition" (O'Rourke 1). Powell's commitment to hard work, careful advising, diplomacy, and might when necessary has made him one of the most popular and distinguished soldiers and statesmen of the 21st century.

Works Cited

Academy of Achievement. "Colin Powell Biography." January 11, 2006.

America's Promise. "General Powell's Message to America." 2006. "Colin Powell." 2006.

King, John; Koppel, Andrea; Malveaux, Suzanne; Labotte, Elise. "Powell resigns with three other Cabinet secretaries."

O'Rourke, P.J. "A Conversation with Colin Powell." Atlantic Unbound, August 2, 2004.

Tolson, Mike. "American principles are vital to terror fight, Powell says." Houston

Chronicle, Sept. 20, 2006.

U.S. Department of State. "Biography: Colin Powell." January 26, 2005.[continue]

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