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Colin Powell, 21st Century Slave Driver

Colin Powell has received much acclaim as the first African-American Secretary of State.

Before that, Colin Powell was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Colin Powell is a hero to many Americans.

It's necessary, however, to engage in a more careful analysis.

Colin Powell plays a certain geopolitical role in the world.  In order to understand that role, some background is necessary.

Colin Powell: background to his role

During the time of slavery in the U.S. south, certain African-Americans worked in the master's house. These jobs were usually much less arduous than those in the fields.

These house slaves, however, did not have an inherently adversarial relationship with the slaves working in the fields.

In contrast, certain slaves were made assistants to the white slave driver -- the "overseer" -- who supervised the field workers. Sometimes there was not even a white slave driver, and a slave would function as the overseer himself.

In order to prove their loyalty to the master, these African-American assistant or main overseers were often more cruel to the field hands than the white overseers.

Even if not, the position of ensuring that the master's work was properly done in the hot fields meant there existed an inherently adversarial relationship between these African-American overseers and the rest of the field workers.

And no one would argue that the fact that a small number of African-American slaves were in "supervisory" positions was an advance for the African-American race in this country.

(Literature provides us with two notorious examples of such cruel African-American overseers, the slaves Sambo and Quimbo in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.)

Colin Powell has the skin of an African-American, but in 21st century America, that is not where his loyalty lies. Rather, he plays the role of the white man's global overseer.

Colin Powell: the context

A major role of U.S. diplomacy and arms, especially since WWII, has been to deter by threat of annihilation, and if necessary to mortally defeat, any challenge by "uppity" Third World peoples to this country's domineering role in the world.

For example, in the 1960's and early 1970's, U.S. armed forces killed millions of Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians who had never harmed or threatened a single American.

In the late 1970's and 1980's, U.S. forces or their proxies killed or enabled the killing of hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans and other Central Americans. Again, not a single one had ever harmed an American.

Colin Powell: his role

Colin Powell, in his jobs as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and now as Secretary of State, may be inclined to, and may well succeed in, allowing some other African-Americans to achieve successful careers in the U.S. armed forces or State Department.

That may help a few isolated individuals in this country.

But to the extent U.S. diplomacy and its armed forces continue to be used to crush the aspirations of Third World peoples for a life free of U.S./First World-engineered economic dependency, poverty and misery, having more men of color like Colin Powell -- or women of color, like Condoleezza Rice -- helping to do so just makes that many more lower-level overseers running around to the detriment of other people of color.

Colin Powell: his willingness to play the role

Colin Powell has shown he is certainly not averse to doing his master's bidding against other people of color:

Powell served in Vietnam, and was reported to be involved in the cover up of the My Lai massacre.

Colin Powell was allegedly neck-deep in the Iran-Contra scandal, a scheme which allowed weapons to flow to the Contras, who in the 1980's terrorized the Nicaraguan countryside with rape, torture and murder.

Nor is Powell reluctant to kill Third World civilians for the ill deeds of their government: in 1991, Colin Powell led the army which destroyed the civilian infrastructure of Iraq.

Hail Colin Powell, 21st Century Overseer!


Hopefully Colin Powell will be able to use his people-killing skills for a valid purpose now, and get the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center.

UPDATE: January 28, 2002


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