Colin Powell Interview

The London Daily Telegraph has an in-depth interview with Colin Powell. No real news in it because, true to his character, he refuses to more than hint at any disappointments with President Bush or his tenure as Secretary of State. Whatever one thinks of Powell’s politics or performance in office, it’s hard to doubt that he’s a gentleman.

The passage I found most interesting, though, is the closer*, which has nothing to do with foreign policy:

The day before our meeting, I had told a black Washington driver that I was hoping to meet Colin Powell. He laughed, and told me to ask him if he realised that, in the end, the white man always thinks you’re “just a nigger”. So that is what I ask Colin Powell as we stand up to depart.

He pauses and smiles. “When I joined the army, it was only five years after the last segregated regiment had disbanded. There was a lot of discrimination. Seventeen years ago, when I joined the National Security Council, I could still detect a little of that.

“Not now. Now I’m criticised for what I do wrong, not for who I am. This country has moved so far.”


* After this paragraph, the webmaster has accidentally pasted in the second half of the interview again.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.