Secretary of State Colin Powell catches Perdition from both the Right and the Left, but usually keeps his Caribbean cool. However, every now and then, the diplomat veneer is breached and the old soldier comes out. What caused it this time? Why, Reps. Robert I Wexler, (D-FL) and Sherrod Brown, (D-OH) attempted to divide and conquer during the secretary’s testimony before a House session of the International Relations Committee. Bad move, space cadets:
Wexler told Powell he considered him to be "the credible voice in the administration."
"When you reached the conclusion that Iraq represented a clear and present danger to the United States, that meant a lot to me," Wexler said. "But the facts suggest there was a part of the story that was not true."
Powell fielded the assertions calmly, defending the president's judgment and his own.
But when Brown contrasted Powell's military experience to Bush's record with the National Guard, saying the president "may have been AWOL" from duty, Powell exploded.
"First of all, Mr. Brown, I won't dignify your comments about the president because you don't know what you are talking about," Powell snapped. [Bold mine]
"I'm sorry I don't know what you mean, Mr. Secretary," Brown replied.
"You made reference to the president," Powell shot back.
Brown then repeated his understanding that Bush may have been AWOL from guard duty.
"Mr. Brown, let's not go there," Powell retorted. "Let's not go there in this hearing. If you want to have a political fight on this matter, that is very controversial, and I think it is being dealt with by the White House, fine, but let's not go there."That was a nice try, gentlemen: insult the General’s…I mean the Secretary’s…intelligence while trying to kiss his BDU-colored backside using your own ignorance as the pucker. (I'm sure that the General was perfecting the game of "good cop/bad cop" some forty years ago, likely alternating roles.) And the General actually got PO’d! Can anyone imagine that happening? :-)
(Thanks to Instapundit and many others)