Opinionon Life and Leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan
Opinionon Life and Leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan
Lifeis worth living according to your principles and by your word. Thiscan be affirmed by one man a four-star General Colin Powell as heresonate the happenings of the report on Iraq War in his time as theAmerican ambassador in the war tone region during the reign of GeorgeW. Bush. Powell recalls the lack of command chain during the war witha lot of regret following the misleading intelligence reports thatput him in an awkward position as a leader and as a person for hispersonal figure to the people he represented. Having presentedinformation concerning the leadership of Iraq about the plotted warit turns out that the information presented to him was nothing butlies by the intelligence committee of the time.
ColinPowell was a man of principles and plenty of humility but consideringthe position this intelligence committee put him through, it clearlydented his image as a Republican and as a representative of thepeople of his country. He, however, fights the awkward occurrencethat happened to him through the release of his book “It worked forme in life and leadership”. Given his lifetime challenges and risein ranks at his career Powell was one tough man hence dealing withsuch a downfall was not a major problem to cause him stroke at evenconsidering his age. Having worked in a factory and later joining thearmy forces that later saw him become a four-star general is a clearindication that this was a disciplined and hard-working man toadmire.
Powellis represented in his book as a respectful man especially to the vicepresident of the time, Cheney and his staff which confirms that hewas one fairly humane guy albeit his military stiff presence whorespected his friends and colleagues. However, the lack of trustbetween him and his intelligence at the time of this Iraq war at thetime did not deserve especially to his political career. He regretsthe occurrence between him and the WMD intelligence at the time untiltoday. However, his respect for the army is not dented at all, and hemaintains that the army officers involved in the war at the time wasrespectful and patriotic to their country (Berinsky, 2009).
Politicsand public affairs are part of the most complicated career paths thathave existed since time immemorial as many of us will argue. This isno different from the retired four-star general Colin Powell, who hascome to learn the hard way of experience that leadership is not justa career but a burden of responsibilities for the people yourepresent. The love he had for the U.S army had seen this man risefrom low ranks to a general and not just any ordinary general but ageneral who had much love for the service he provided for his countryand the patriotism nature of his career. According to this mannothing else mattered to his life than serving his country which hejokes at sometimes saying that if it were not for joining the army hewould have become a bus driver that symbolically is still service forhis country people.
Havinghad the responsibility of presenting the information about theplanned war to the United Nations Congress, it turned out that theinformation was not true. Hence the humiliation of letting the worldbelieve in a fake document for the first time. Powell considers thisincidence as the greatest learning experience, especially for hiscareer. The intelligence community had presented this information forreviews days before the presentation and had assured the Congressthat it was authentic and hence Powell would not hesitate presentingit to the U.N. The information had been reviewed by various bodiesamong them senior world leaders and shockingly the president himselfhad reviewed the information before the presentation to the U.N.Following the analysis by (Gershkoff & Kusher, 2005) thisincidence creates a lot of tensions in the chain of command and thetrust issues even in the high-end leadership at the top most levelfor the whole world. It returns us to the lessons learned by Powellin the life and leadership lessons that always remember to check onsmall details and to be calm and kind even in the tough situation inlife. To him, this was quite an embracing moment but he could notjust throw in the towel and walk home after many years of hard work.
Accordingto Powell’s opinion concerning leadership a thing he well knew howto go about, trust was the most important part of leadership eitheras a general or as a junior army officer in the forces. According toBerinsky (2009), the absence of confidence between him and theNational Security Council saw him present the wrong message to theworld. Leadership is not a single handled job but the teamwork fromthe top level leader in the hierarchy to the message at the bottom.The breach of connection between this leadership saw General Powellreport a war that turned out to be false allegations against hisrival nation and worse of the case before his leaders.
Thebreakdown in leadership has resulted in war, and many people havebeen tortured as a result, others dead. According to Gershkoff (2005), the leadership in the war in Iraq weapons by the U.S was asimilar case that brings about the war on conflicting countries. Thereport about Iraq weapons had been reviewed for several months beforethe presentation by General Powell to the U.N. However he discoversyears later that the breakdown in the communication had happenedbehind his back by his colleagues with his knowledge. The report saidto have been presented was not from the National Security Council butthe vice president’s office without anyone in his leadership circleknowledge. This creates the tension between the two nations andweakens the leadership of the nation as whole endangering itscitizens.
Theloopholes in the leadership and the responsibility handling lead toPowell’s important rule that warns “Always take care of smalldetails”. This is directly related to the occurrences of that daythat saw him present the wrong and vital report to the security ofthe United Nations. If at all he had made sure the source of thereport was from the National Security Council, he would have notdealt with the embracement at all.
Powellhad a belief in his endeavors as a soldier and also as a patrioticcitizen who just happened to be a victim of circumstances in hisleadership in Iraq war and was passionate about his job. However, hisopinion about the incompetent intelligence was to blame for themistake of reporting the possibility of the arms war by SaddamHussein’s troops in Iraq. He was a determined man after all sincehe discovered that “It is not as bad as you think, it will lookbetter in the morning”. He had his hopes and could not keep his egoso close to his position as it would have ruined his career at thetime and bring adverse damages to what had already been done withouthis knowledge. Instead, it was a learning opportunity for hisexperience as an Army officer to check on small details and beingcareful about his choices as they would probably be presented to him(Berinsky, 2009).
Inconclusion, the opinion concerning the war in Iraq, in general, wascharacterized by problems in leadership leading to the consequentproblem in the chain of command by the leaders. According to hismemoir, Powell was one man who believed in hard work and only trustedhis people but could never walk past a mistake for his future imageat least. His character represents a man of great character evenafter the decision not to read any more written speech or to involvehimself in political blame games with the office of the president atthe time.According to (Voeten & Brewer, 2006) is clear that theplot was done without his knowledge to harm the presidency as thecommander in chief and his generals involved in the Iraq war forpolitical gain considering the reported origin. The retired four-stargeneral could finally get mad and get over it and has continued toact as a political advisor even after the fateful presentation.
Berinsky,Adam J. Intime of war understanding American public opinion from World War IIto Iraq.University of Chicago press, 2009
Gershkoff,Amy, and Shana Kusher. “Shapingpublic opinion: The 9/11- Iraq connection in the Bushadministration’s rhetoric.”Perspective on politics 3, no. 03(2005): 525-537.
Voeten,Erik and Paul R. Brewer. “Public Opinion, the war in Iraq, and presidential accountability.”Journal of Conflict Resolution 50, no. 6(2006): 809-830.