Matt Jones

The Twisted Arm of the Politician

What is it about politicians that makes them start talking more sense after they have left office? It happened to Robin Cook when he resigned from the Cabinet in protest to the UK’s involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Al Gore only seemed to become a much more powerful political figure, especially with respect to our attitude towards climate change, after he left office. Even Michael Portillo has managed to redeem himself slightly in the public eye after his fall from grace eleven years ago. And of course, everyone loves Tony Benn.

Yesterday, the man who played a key role in garnering international support for the ‘War on Terror’, powerfully enunciated what every right-thinking, educated person knows, that Barack Obama is the right person to be the US President.

Colin Powell resigned as US Secretary of State in 2004 after acknowledging that the sources who provided the evidence for WMDs - that was used to justify the deposition of Saddam Hussein - were wrong about their conclusions.

He was always seen as a moderate figure in the US administration, and was more popular with Americans than Rumsfeld or Cheney. However, I’m wondering how the same person who yesterday spoke so clearly and sensibly about his reasons for supporting Obama and not McCain could not speak out against the Bush/Cheney led invasion of Iraq, a country which had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks in the US.

The adage ‘power tends to corrupt…’ may be true, but unless you reach ‘absolute power’, it seems the process is reversible.