I have to admit that I was taken in by Powells pleasant demeanor, but I never understood why he sold the Iraq invasion to the UN. I should have known better, you don’t get to be a 5 star general without selling your soul to the devil.(travellerev) 

On January 17, 1963, in South Vietnam’s monsoon season, U.S. Army Capt. Colin Powell jumped from a military helicopter into a densely forested combat zone of the A Shau Valley, not far from the Laotian border.

Carrying an M-2 carbine, Capt. Powell was starting his first – and only – combat assignment. He was the new adviser to a 400-man unit of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

Across jungle terrain, these South Vietnamese government troops were arrayed against a combined force of North Vietnamese regulars and local anti-government guerrillas known as the Viet Cong.

The 25-year-old Powell was arriving at a pivotal moment in the Vietnam War. To forestall a communist victory, President John F. Kennedy had dispatched teams of Green Beret advisers to assist the ARVN, a force suffering from poor discipline, ineffective tactics and bad morale.

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Mr. Cheney’s Minority Report

TWENTY years ago this week, Lt. Col. Oliver North testified for six days before a special joint House and Senate investigating committee. Permitted by the Democratic majority to appear in his bemedaled Marine uniform, and disastrously granted immunity, Colonel North freely admitted that he had shredded documents, lied to Congress and falsified official records.

Colonel North justified these crimes as necessary to protect two of the Reagan administration’s covert policies: defying a Congressional ban on aiding the anti-Sandinista contra insurgents in Nicaragua; and selling arms to Iran — officially classified as a terrorist state — in order to free American hostages in the Middle East.

Mixing bathos with belligerence, Colonel North played the incorruptible action hero facing down Washington politicians and lawyers. He also suggested that, under the Constitution, the president and not Congress held ultimate authority to direct foreign policy.

Most of the Congressional committee members, Republicans and Democrats alike, expressed shock at Colonel North’s testimony. And despite the surge in Colonel North’s personal popularity, he failed to sway other Americans on the underlying issues. Clear majorities in opinion polls said that Colonel North had gone too far in his covert operations, especially in helping the contras. Roughly half of those polled believed that he had acted as if he was above the law. Sixty percent said that Congress was more trustworthy than the Reagan White House on foreign relations.

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