American political commentator Daniel Patrick Welch decries the use of official funerals like Colin Powell's to shore up the lies of the Empire, asking Americans instead to mourn the millions of victims of US war policy, not its chief apologist.
Powell, the first Black US secretary of state and top military officer, died on Monday at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19.
Both Democrats and Republicans lauded the four-star general as a giant of public service and an African American hero. They praised America’s first Black secretary of state, and his leadership and integrity.
Powell rose from humble beginnings as the son of Jamaican immigrants to hold some of America’s most senior positions in military and government leadership.
Few on Monday spent much time criticizing Powell’s biggest moment at state when in 2003 he presented false American intelligence to the United Nations that then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. The presentation led to the Iraq War and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths.
Powell served three Republican presidents in senior posts and reached the top of the US military as it was regaining its vigor after the trauma of the Vietnam War. He was reportedly also an officer responsible for covering up the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
Former US President Donald Trump, however, lambasted the media on Tuesday for what he said was too-favorable coverage of Powell following his death.
"Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media. Hope that happens to me someday," Trump said in a statement.
"He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!" Trump added.
They don't fade away: Sometimes old soldiers kill millions
“This bipartisan outpouring of grief at the passing of Colin Powell is something I find quite sickening and offensive. But, like most sickening and offensive things, it deserves more scrutiny. And it can tell us a lot about how the propaganda matrix and the engine grease of empire actually works,” Welch commented to Press TV.
“This guy was their dude, a faithful servant of both wings of the War Party, a good soldier to the very last breath. People use this opportunity to rewrite their history—people in power, that is. And you know, we can send condolences to his family; presumably, we are all well raised by our parents and taught not to ‘speak ill of the dead,’” he said.
“In the first place, it shouldn’t apply to public figures, because they can’t be protected from the consequences of their own actions with false adulation; secondly, it can’t apply to their legacy, their deeds, or to history itself,” he stated.
“There is a third point which is too seldom made: public and official ‘grief’ serves as a massive Opportunity Phase for the propaganda artists of the established order, to jump in and use the sense of mourning and admiration, and the muted dissent required by civil society, just to lie, and to keep lying. So, in that sense we are doubly required to counter that propaganda and those lies,” he explained.
“Because all we have is our own media, and our own microphones. The international pro-imperialist media and the corporate media will just spout the same lies, and that is a very dangerous thing. As a human, I can quote John Donne with the best of them and say that ‘any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.’ But I’m not going to be standing around singing ‘Abide With Me’ at his funeral,” he continued.
‘Powell – an apologist of the My Lai massacre’
“This is a guy who was one of the earliest coverup criminals and apologists of the My Lai massacre when he was barely 30 years old, and dismissed the letter written by a soldier detailing the horrors of the war was probably not reliable because the US army had excellent relations with the Vietnamese people,” Welch said.
“Then when he was actually Secretary of State he told Larry King that ‘things like this happen’ in war, but was quick to say that they were deplorable, of course, and it all happened before he got there, etc. Never admitted his true role and his true allegiance. And then, of course, doubled down! That’s what they do--they always double down, if they’re left in this cesspool of rotating positions and assignments,” he said.
'Obsequious servant of Empire'
“He became Secretary of State and made an even bigger mockery of truth as an even more obsequious servant of empire with what we call the ‘Vile Vial’ episode. He went before the UN with that stunt—it can only be called a stunt—holding up a little vial of nothing and going on and on with what he knew at the time to be a lie. That’s important to point out—they all knew that they were lying. It was a lie about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction, the infamous scaremongering about the ability to deliver chemical weapons over London in 45 minutes,” he stated.
'Wars enrich a few, destroy millions'
“All of that was a pack of outright lies, which cost millions of people their lives, unimaginable suffering, and which is still causing massive suffering not only around the world, but also here in the core of imperialism. Wasted trillions of dollars. A waste to us, of course, but not to Halliburton and Lockheed Martin and Boeing and Blackwater and all the other corporations that benefited so handsomely from it. But it didn’t go to the things that government is supposed to do for its own people,” the analyst said.
“That’s why China has high-speed rail and we don’t. That’s why so much of the world has free health are and we don’t. That’s why most of the world has free education and we don’t. That’s the connection—there is always a connection between the viciousness and the murderous assault of the imperial juggernaut on the Global South and what happens here at home. The violence, the militarization of the police, who now patrol marginalized communities as an occupying army bristling with weapons of war—it has all come home,” he explained.
“Colin Powell’s funeral acts as a sort of the epicenter of the attempt to whitewash this reality. So, I think it fitting that he was one of the early whitewashers of the My Lai massacre. Because the whole event is another opportunity for the empire, and for the criminals in both sides of the War Party to come together, to realize their shared interests, which are inimical to the interest of the people of this country and of the world in general; to pat each other on the back and to rewrite history. At work is a larger coverup, that of a legacy, a history and a system that is a stain on humanity. We mustn’t let them succeed,” he concluded.