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Colin Powell

Off-topic comments moved from Colin Powell's talk.

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      Feb 15 2013: I don't necessarily agree with everything Colin Powell has ever said and done, BUT, I don't believe HE is as evil as you try to make HIM out as.
      • Feb 18 2013: Colin Powell was the leader in the framing of the military situation in Iraq. He became the de facto spokesman. He presented to the US elected political system, the American people and to the world a compilation of information that was false. The Iraqi people and government were innocent of the charges he leveled. As a result of this, in round numbers, something like a million people died, the majority of which were civilian women and children.

        This happened because the US targeted water and sewage infrastructure for destruction rather than purely military targets and then later imposed sanctions that prevented the repair of these facilities and denied medicine. A very large number of these children died from water borne diseases like amoebic dysentery which is a particularly unpleasant way to die. Additionally, the US under Powell used depleted Uranium projectiles that fragment into a microscopic aerosol because Uranium is pyrophoric (it burns spontaneously in air). This contaminated Iraq with breathable Uranium dust. This condition is essentially permanent in that U238 has a half life of 4.5 billion years. The greatly increased birth defect rate is attributable to this and other military chemical effects.

        I am genuinely curious at where on your person yardstick of good and evil this lies.

        Understanding this is important because Powell seeks to create a military styled system. I believe that the Iraq war is a perfect example of what this system produces and Powell himself a prefect example of the mindset created.
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          Feb 18 2013: Jim,

          Where within this talk, and anywhere else, does Colin Powell say "[he] seeks to create a military styled system"?

          If you can answer my question adequately (and I have reason to doubt that you'll be able to) I might, I repeat might, actually consider responding to the rest of your gobbledygook.
    • Feb 15 2013: While the dialog in your short example is likely simplified, you have hit on exactly the larger point we need to be considering: does this type of education produce the kind of people and the kind of thinking that is conducive to a healthy society?

      Powell himself admits that the information he presented was flawed. Why then did he do it knowing that people were going to be hurt? In his case hundreds of thousands of people. I believe that the answer to this is that he never actually considered that he could think for himself. This is what was said over and over at the Nuremberg trial -"I was only following orders..." Powell is no better 50 years on. His is exactly the same excuse.

      Such an educational system does not produce the kind of free thinking, morally strong and independent people that a thriving free republic demands. Rather, it produces narrow minded, obedient people who lack both compassion and a strong internal morality.
      • Feb 16 2013: Does it? Absolute freedom is chaos. Kids have to be educated to learn that others' thoughts should be respected, and that the world has more than "ME" in it. That there are groups of people relies on rules to run smoothly. That just because you don't like somebody, you don't get to force your way though them. That just because they don't look like you and your parents, doesn't mean that they are completely different from you.

        Those are the kinds of social skills that builds healthy society. Every word that begins with "free" is over used and misunderstood now days. Freedom is only present because there exist a society that enforces it.
        • Feb 16 2013: In rereading what I wrote, I don't see that I took a position for "absolute freedom". Nor did I take a position against respect or rules.

          I am not sure where all your hostility is coming from. I thought we were having a discussion.

          On the contrary, the word "free" is the most important word in the language. The proper use of it is endangered in the world today. It is precisely the reason I disagree with Powell.
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          Feb 16 2013: "To be free, one must be chained."
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          Feb 16 2013: Jim,

          Could you please explain to me what you mean by "the proper use" of the word "free"? I am not quite sure I understand what you mean by that.
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        Feb 16 2013: Jim,

        What do you mean by "this type of education". What "type of education" are you talking about? If you could please, clarify.
        • Feb 17 2013: Education can be categorized as primarily for the benefit of the individual, or for another (person or institution). In the individual case to teach a useful skill, develop a natural talent or broaden understanding. Learning to sew, play the piano or develop critical thinking are examples of these. Education can also be to primarily benefit another. Learning that "Muslims are terrorists" is beneficial not so much to the individual who now believes this, but the primary beneficiary of this education are those institutions that benefit from have people believe this. Note that believe this learned "fact" in combination with other learned "facts" can create a situation in which the education is of great benefit to those who seek to use this education, but that this "education" can actually be of negative benefit to the individual so educated.

          Those who flocked to join the military in the US during the cacophony of anti-terrorist sentiment who were subsequently killed in that war are examples.

          By "this type of education" I mean education that produces a benefit primarily for someone other than the individual being educated. I consider virtually all political, military and religious indoctrination to be of this sort. Powell has no desire to produce students who disagree with him and who can parse his deception. He wants pawns that move on command without thought or moral reservation. He said this directly. It just took him more words to do it.
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      • Feb 16 2013: @Jim Smithson: Ah.. well didn't mean to sound hostile, just responding to your last paragraph there. Or maybe that was hostile language to you, either way, my point stand. Freedom is a matter of POV. And you're saying about Freedom of thoughts and all that, again, I'm no expert, but from what you're saying, it seems that you'd prefer children of all ages be free from social discipline, and that that would make them think better..? Because that's the message I'm receiving from you. You also haven't provided an alternative to defer to.

        @Damon Ucraiui: Don't mix the man with the message he carries.
        • Feb 16 2013: This is how the US of A can be truly great? - by expanding the pool of military candidates and make the general population of civilians understand just how valuable this type of training is. Without the masses willing to go along with what the military wants, how can the USA remain the dominant super power and control other countries' resources, public policies and financial systems?

          Free thinkers and those pesky artist types just don't get how important standing at attention, saying 'yes sir' and 'no sir', and following orders from authority is to the wealth of the nation. Colin Powell truly is a glowing example of how this works on people and why we need to cram it down all the children's throats.

          His credentials speak for themselves but anyone who doesn't know his history or questions his credentials can read http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Politicians/Real_Colin_Powell.html
        • Feb 17 2013: No offense taken.

          I find the reaction to this talk and Powell himself fascinating. I suppose that what I'm about to say will draw the ire of the TED censors again, but I will risk it. TED, please don't delete every comment that challenges your world view.

          My language is not hostile. My language is devoid of the normal deference to authority that has become pandemic in the US.

          Powell clearly has an agenda. He is a man who has learned to use and who has used a very large number of people for his own ends. In fact, he has used hundreds of thousands of people in full measure. He has cost them their lives. This includes not just the people who he wrongly and fraudulently blamed for crimes for which they were innocent, but also his own countrymen.

          Whether you agree or disagree with him politically, it is a historical fact that he helped manipulate both his government and that of several other nations into a war based on erroneous data. Data that he admits was erroneous.

          Being successful at this required that he deceive not only a large number of political figures, but also the populace of an entire nation. This is the most interesting bit for me. Had the population of the United States had a skepticism for authority and had America possessed better critical thinking skills, Powell would never been able to get away with it. However, the American public took his bait hook line and sinker. More incredibly, there are still some here who defend in direct opposition to establish fact. It is almost as if they want to be tricked.

          Since it is clear to me that Powell want to further deteriorate the skill of independent thought with his desire for "obedience", it seems to me that he desires a population even more vulnerable to the next Colin Powell who will seek to deceive the nation again for their own gain. I consider this very dangerous.

          Critical and skeptical thinking and an independent will is a necessary survival skill
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        • Feb 17 2013: Powell clearly has an agenda I disagree with. This agenda is not about giving kids a good start, it is about shaping their thinking so that they are useful, manipulatable and obedient to those in authority.

          Given that I have already seen what he does with his authority and the outcome of what happens to people who are blindly obedient to him or people like him, it is my desire to see that education be made as resistant as possible to the conformity, blind obedience, and moral indecision that he desires.

          What Powell want is not just degrading to children, it is dangerous to them. Without critical thinking skills to ferret out the truth and without the moral backbone to say "no" to those who would use and abuse them, they can become a victim of those who seek to harm them.

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