Ah, Meet the Press: What is it about little Timmy Russert that makes politicians drop their juiciest little morsels on his show? This Sunday it was former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s turn to make waves on the show. The big news is that Powell called for Guantanamo to be shut down. The continued detention—sans lawyers and, in most cases, charges—of 365 men, Powell said, has “shaken the belief that the world had in America’s justice system.” Powell expressed faith in that system, arguing that the country “has 2 million people in jail, all of whom had lawyers and access to writs of habeas corpus…. We can handle bad people in our system.”
Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs during the Clinton administration helped draft the disastrous “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, also titillated news whores and homosexuals everywhere when he implied that the policy may need to be revisited. It was “an appropriate response to the situation back in 1993. And the country certainly has changed,” he said. However, unlike his successor as chair of the Joint Chiefs, John Shalikashvili, Powell stopped short of denouncing “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” (More recently, chairman Peter Pace called homosexuality immoral. And, yes, it is hard to keep a chairman of the Joint Chiefs for long in these troubled times.)
Powell’s final move to separate himself from the Bush administration he once served came as he announced that he hasn’t decided whether to support a Republican or a Democrat in 2008. That’s great, but I can’t help but wonder why Powell, who’s evidently a competent and decent guy, didn’t know better than to serve under Bush and Cheney in the first place.