Looks like the hackeratti have been very, very busy, this time releasing a whole bunch of email hacked from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who it turns out was far more Mean Girl in his personal chats with friends than he’s been in public statements about Donald Trump and several foreign policy matters — including Benghazi and the handling of the Iraq War. Buzzfeed has been having no end of fun releasing excerpts of emails obtained by “DCLeaks.com,” an outfit which “has reported, but not confirmed, ties to Russian intelligence services.
There’s all sorts of juicy stuff that lives up to the slogan reportedly embroidered on Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s parlor pillows, “if you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me” (Nope, not Dorothy Parker, or even Tallulah Bankhead. Sorry.)
So, who did Powell dish? ALL OF THEM, KATIE. In emails to former aide Emily Miller, who’s now a journalist, he had a whole bunch of choice things to say about his party’s nominee for president, which is about what you’d expect, since Powell has always been among the Republicans’ non-raving contingent. In an August 21 email, for instance, he said of course the “birther” movement was racist:
“Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote. “That’s what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim […]
“As I have said before, ‘What if he was?’ Muslims are born as Americans everyday,” Powell wrote to his former aide.
He also said — in the sort of observation that’s only surprising when it’s leaked from somebody’s private email — that having Roger Ailes on Team Trump would probably not be good fro Trump’s outreach to the ladies: “And Ailes as an advisor wont heal women, don’t you think?” Well sure, yeah, but Colin Powell said it.
In other emails, Powell reportedly called Trump “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah,” which seems a pretty fair if unguarded characterization. We’re fairly sure Powell wasn’t pushing for a rump Administration job anyway. Powell also warned CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria not to give Trump so much coverage, and declined to go on air to talk about every dumb thing Trump says: “You guys are playing his game, you are his oxygen. He outraged us again today with his comments on Paris no-go for police districts. I will watch and pick the timing, not respond to the latest outrage.”
Powell even told another email recipient that Trump thrives on negative attention, which is why Powell wouldn’t do another guest spot: “To go on and call him an idiot just emboldens him.”
As for the House Republicans’ obsession with the attack on Benghazi, an email exchange between Powell and Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush’s other former secretary of state, indicated they both thought the controversy had little “there” there. Powell also spread the blame for the deadly attack around, but was especially hard on Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the attack, for not taking his own security seriously enough:
“Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt. Basic fault falls on a courageous ambassador who thoughts Libyans now love me and I am ok in this very vulnerable place,” Powell wrote in a December 2015 email exchange […]
“But blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here. Pat Kennedy, Intel community, DS and yes HRC” — the last acronym short for Hillary Clinton, added Powell, who served under former President George W. Bush.
“Completely agree,” Rice responds, adding, “Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll have that glass of wine (or two).”
We’re not sure what’s going to get the righty-tighties more excited in that one: POWELL BLAMES CLINTON FOR BENGHAZI! or RINO CONDI RICE THOUGHT BENGHAZI ABOUT AS INTERESTING AS HAVING A GLASS OF WINE.
In a 2015 exchange between the two former GWB secretaries of State, both Powell and Rice reminisced about that old Iraq war they helped their boss get America into, and agreed that things would have been a hell of a lot better if the diplomats at State had run things after the invasion instead of the pinheads in the Pentagon (a view not unfamiliar to anyone who’s read Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in The Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone or Peter Van Buren’s We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People — reviewed here on Wonkette in olden times). Who lost Iraq? Powell and Rice were pretty sure it was that dope Rumsfeld and his team of optimists and amateurs:
The two former secretaries of state corresponded briefly after journalist Bob Woodward disputed Rumsfeld’s argument that he had always been skeptical of creating a democracy in Iraq […]
Powell initiated the 2015 exchange by emailing Rice, who was the national security adviser at the time of the Iraq invasion, with a link to Woodward’s comments.
“First, we didn’t invade Iraq to bring democracy — but once we overthrew Saddam, we had a view of what should follow,” Rice responded. “If Don and the Pentagon had done their job (after claiming the rights to lead post-war rebuilding—things might have turned out differently).”
“Don should just stop talking,” she added. “He puts his foot in his mouth every time.”
Powell replied by seconding Rice’s critique, saying “the boys in the band were brain dead.”
Yep, that sounds like a pretty accurate summary of losing the peace after winning the war, although we’d have to dispute Powell’s other contention in the email, that “43 knew what had to be done,” because almost nobody in the administration had any idea what to do with Iraq after the military victory — but the Defense Department went out of its way to keep people with any real expertise on Iraq, especially from the State Department, from being involved in the postwar planning and administration.
Now, if we could just listen in on what Condi and Colin had to say about Paul Bremer, the genius who decided to disband Saddam’s army and send them all home with their AK-47s.
If Gen. Powell ever loses his sinecure as a commentator on political talk shows, he’d certainly fit right in at Wonkette. Maybe he’d like to sponsor us!