18 October 2021

RIP The Chairman

Best wishes to The Chairman's family. That's one job that the later "blot" on his record — that he believed the intelligence briefings being presented to him by… umm… the nonprofessionals and the coopted, to his and the nation's and the world's detriment, and deployed his not-inconsiderable skills in furtherance of policy directives he privately distrusted (and, not to minimize things, enabled lots of needless casualties and destruction) — could not diminish his performance in his preferred job, for which he was immensely well-suited and at which he was immensely successful.

That son of immigrants had one characteristic that made him ill-suited for modern public life: He recognized his own errors (well, many of them, anyway), and did not hide from them… without blaming others. However much those others deserved blame, especially the even-narrower ideologues who wrested control of the intelligence system after the failures prior to 11 September — and who, to this day, can't begin to recognize their errors (let alone acknowledge them).

No man is perfect. No leader is perfect. Powell came far closer than most to, at minimum, the latter.