An open note to General Colin Powell (ret.)
As a general I respected your decisions even when I didn't agree with them; you were a humane man and used that humanity to make those decisions even though they sent young men and women to their deaths. You carried the burdens and sacrifices with you - and still do to this day. I respect that and admire you for that for there is no greater quality of character in a military leader.
However, when you became Secretary of State in the Bush administration I began to have my doubts. I'll grant that you initially worked brilliantly and beyond the limited grasp of the Administration and the President as a whole. You did a whole lot of good for this country. Then you went before the UN and told them of Saddam Hussein. I understand you believed the information was accurate at the time, but that faulty information led us into war. I was disappointed in you even while you tried to keep your integrity intact. You did the right thing in resigning when you did. I am now reevaluating the anger I have felt toward you in the past many years since that UN episode and its aftermath, and have realized I may have been unfair to you; my anger should have been more appropriately directed toward the Administration-at-large. For that I am sorry.
Today, though, you have redeemed yourself in my eyes with your eloquent, passionate and well-thought-out endorsement of Barack Obama. I was thrilled at the way you dissected both campaigns and delineated very carefully why you made your choice - it was impassioned, and I found my heart opening with joy for your honesty, despite your long-term relationship and friendship with John McCain. That must have been one of the most heart-wrenching decisions you have made since leaving the military, and I applaud you.
So, in sum, General Powell, kudos. If I ever have the opportunity, I will rush forward to shake your hand and be damn proud of it. You are truly a patriot and a statesman.