For years now American society has conspired in the polite fiction that General Colin Powell is some sort of paragon of ability and integrity, though I see little evidence that he is anything other than one of hundreds of similar military bureaucrats, over whom he was jumped in the service of “affirmative action.” Being a good bureaucrat, Powell lied egregiously to the American people and to the world in order to justify an illegal and unwise aggression, as ordered by his boss. In a sound country the lies, once exposed, would lead to disgrace and loss of public favor. But one bit of distorted thinking leads inevitably to another. Rather than being accountable for the damage he has done to the country that has showed him such great favor, our Designated Hero is still presented as a great moral exemplar—because he had (in private) “doubts” about the lies he spewed forth. Rather than disgrace, Powell merits our sympathy, we are told, for our hero has suffered “embarrassment” when caught in the lie.
To paraphrase from the Batman Begins film: "It is not who you are underneath that counts, it is what you do that defines you."
And by the way, the Republicans’ years of hyping Powell as a celebrity national leader undoubtedly helped pave the way for the unearned popularity of Barack Obama.