As an American citizen I deplore it but as a wife, mother and grandmother I can't help but cheer Secretary Powell's decision to quit the State Department. I remember four years ago that Mrs. Powell held her head up and soldiered on but it was well known that she really felt it was time the General returned to family life. A soldier's wife, however, smiles over an empty heart and does her best to give her soldier the support he needs.
I could swear I heard her cheer when that announcement was made yesterday. And I don't blame her. I've seen the sacrifices a career soldier's wife makes -- my daughter married an Army officer who, like General Powell, is a patriot and continues to serve his country after retirement. I don't know what West Point does to these guys, but whatever it is, the rest of us are the better for it.
So I'll just say "thank you, Mr. Secretary" and point out some of the things he's done. The past four years, as Secretary of State, Colin Powell has made team out of the State Department. He paid attention to the employees there, visited them in their offices, and cared about their work. The rank and file say he was a pleasure to work for. On the international scene he:
Brought NATO in and brokered Afghanistan’s transition to democracy.
Defused a disagreement between Spain and Morocco over Parsley Island in 2002.
Neutralized Libya and at the same time revealed a global threat of nuclear proliferation that implicated Pakistan, North Korea and Iran.
Helped promote the roadmap for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
Engaged nuclear powers India and Pakistan in peace talks rather than confrontation.
Brought attention to the UN about genocide in the Darfar region in South Africa.
Brought relative stability to Liberia in his support of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Liberia.
Helped set up the Global Health Fund to establish a $15 billion dollar emergency fund to fight HIV/AIDS.
That's a grand record for four years. Thank you, Mr. Powell. If you ever wanted to run for President (and Alma would make a lovely First Lady), you'll have my support.
But now it's Alma's turn.