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Colin Powell


A former White House covert operations official has told The American Reporter that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, then a military aide to the U.S. Army command staff in Vietnam, misunderstood a general's instructions and mistakenly ordered the notorious March 16, 1968, My Lai massacre, and successfully covered up his error until now.

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"I believe condoms [are] part of the solution to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and I encourage their use by young people who are sexually active. You've got to protect yourself. ... Forget about taboos, forget about conservative ideas. ... It's the lives of young people that are put at risk by unsafe sex, and therefore protect yourself."

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This uppity nigger made this stupid and irresponsible statement in spite of thousands of years of Christian teaching to the contrary, not a single shred of scientific evidence that his statement is true, thousands of studies which prove just the opposite to be true--that condoms cause increased adultery and immorality, and rampant STD (sexually transmitted diseases)--and against the will of the vast majority of we the people.

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This uppity nigger also blamed the shooting down of a private airplane in South America during his "war on drugs" was the fault of drug users rather than the government who shot it down.

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This uppity nigger also ordered the My Lai Massacre [read: the Son My Massacre] that a WHITE man William Calley went to prison for http://www.nogw.com/articles/powell_my_lai.html


Vol. 9, No. 2111W - The American Reporter - May 25, 2003

An A.R. Exclusive

by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Los Angeles, Calif.
LOS ANGELES, Calif., March 13, 2003 -- A former White House covert operations official has told The American Reporter that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, then a military aide to the U.S. Army command staff in Vietnam, misunderstood a general's instructions and mistakenly ordered the notorious March 16, 1968, My Lai massacre, and successfully covered up his error until now. The former official's allegations concerning the events, whose 35th anniversary occurs on Sunday, could not immediately be confirmed.

"He [Powell] made a stupid mistake," said the official, now a retired and wealthy civilian, in a wide-ranging three-hour interview last week.

A State Dept. spokesman, Jo-Anne Prokopowicz, said she would forward questions about Powell's possible role to officials at the Dept. of State. "I don't even know if he was in Vietnam at that time," she said. "We don't usually comment on military matters." News reports have placed Powell in Vietnam no earlier than June 27, 1968, about two months after the massacre occurred.

The source, who said he would deny the information if he was named in this story because he has suffered several heart attacks and might not survive the controversy his charges could create, said that he had been asked by then-President Richard Nixon to see if the sentence received by Lt. William "Rusty" Calley for the Vietnam War massacre could be reduced.

In the course of that investigation, the source said, Gen. William Westmoreland, the commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964 to July 1968, told him that Powell had mistaken his orders to subdue the village as an order to wipe out its inhabitants, and relayed the mistaken order through an Army major to Calley, who was court-martialed and sent to jail for murder.

He was released after serving only part of his sentence as the result of his findings, the source said. Westmoreland left Vietnam to become Army Chief of Staff just four months after the incident and before Calley was court-martialed. The source said he did not talk with Powell about the incident, but did talk with the major through whom the orders were relayed to Calley.

According to various reports, some 347 unarmed men, women and children were wiped out in the village, which was actually named Son My. Several officers were charged with covering up the incident, and five were court-martialed. Lt. Calley was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 22 unarmed civilians. His sentence was reduced to 10 years, and in 1974 a Federal court judge reversed the conviction and freed Calley.

Powell, a major and deputy assistant chief of staff for operations G-3 at Americal Division headqurters in Chu Lai, was assigned eight months later to investigate rumors of the the incident and wrote a controversial 1969 official report that cleared American soldiers of any serious wrongdoing.

After the incident became public in the Fall of 1969, a friendly biographical account says, "Powell sided with the American Division General during the court martial proceedings" against Calley. Powell has been heavily criticized in later years for not using his position on the command staff to prevent the massacre at the time it occurred.

The major through whom Gen. Westmoreland allegedly relayed the order is dead, and the source said many but not all of those who had firsthand knowledge of Powell's role are no longer living.

The source said he is a liberal Democrat who was a CIA officer for many years before accepting a military commission from President Reagan. He also was a military liaison to Saudi Arabia's royal family and said he was responsible for the destruction of a satellite-bearing Russian rocket on a launch pad in Russia, and was shot during that operation.

The source, a high-ranking retired military officer who said he had served Presidents Nixon and Reagan, said an unexpurgated transcript of the secret proceedings of a military tribunal that convicted Calley would reveal Powell's role. The transcripts remain classified, he said.

Powell's role in the My Lai massacre has been the subject of many articles over the years, but until now there has been no suggestion made that he was responsible for ordering it. Powell was unavailable for comment, but in an autobiography said he did not learn of the incident until two years after it occurred.

"Senior officers who were in Vietnam at the time are quietly skeptical of [Powell's] account," Newsweek reported on Sept. 11, 1995. "They point out that word of the massacre - which did not become public until November 1969 - quickly spread through the region, and to the Americal Division's headquarters."

The magazine, in a lengthy article, said Powell never talked to the soldier who first reported the incident to command staff, and his claim that he didn't know of the incident until after it became public is at odds with his report's dismissal of rumors about the massacre.

Calley was convicted in a court-martial in Septermber 1969, before the incident became public, when a soldier named Tom Glen wrote to Westmoreland's successor, Gen. Creighton Abrams, and told him American soldiers in the field were killing Vietnamese civilians. Powell's report failed to confirm that allegation.

Powell was implicated in the Iran-Contra Affair as the official who provided information to the National Security Council about Iran's request for missiles in a scheme to trade them for the release of hostages taken at U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979. He was also criticized for failing to send an American rescue mission to help U.S. soldiers pinned down in Mogadishu, Somalia, in the events pictured in the film "Black Hawk Down."

At the same time, he has served four U.S. Presidents, successfully directed the 1991 Gulf War as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and is a frequently-mentioned possible black candidate for the nation's highest office. In 1999, he was endorsed in advance of any declaration of his candidacy by this newspaper in the event he should seek the presidency in 2000. He later decided not to run, citing family obligations.

Copyright 2003 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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A Political and Military Biography of Colin Powell


In his memoirs, An American Journey on page 140 Gen. Powell writes,
about the Vietnam war:

If a helo [helicopter]spotted a peasant in black pajamas who looked
remotely suspicious, a possible MAM [military age male] the pilot would
circle and fire in front of him. If he moved, his movement was judged
evidence of hostile intent, and the next burst was not in front, but at
him. Brutal? Maybe so.

Article Three of the Geneva Convention of 1949 to which the United
States is a signatory, states that::

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members
of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de
combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all
circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction
founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or
any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts are and
shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with
respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds,
mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

In his memoirs, General Powell also defends the U.S. practice of
forcibly displacing peasants and destroying their homes, part of the
"strategic hamlet" program - in fact, Gen. Powell's first "combat"
assignment was in that program.

In 1968, he was charged with responding to a letter by Tom Glen, a
soldier in the Americal division. The letter charged American soldiers
with indiscriminately shooting into people's homes and with severe
beatings and torture of civilians. Without interviewing Glen, Powell
wrote a response denying the allegations, claiming that "relations
between Americal soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent."
(The New Republic, 4/17/95). Given his involvement in the "strategic
hamlet" program and the knowledge expressed in his memoirs of the
brutal practices of American soldiers in Vietnam, he had to know his
report was false. The report came out shortly after the My Lai
massacre, in which hundreds of unarmed men, women and children were
murdered and many women raped (Four Hours in My Lai: Penguin, 1993) -
an atrocity committed by that same Americal division.


Gen. Powell was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the
invasion of Panama. In his memoirs he states that he recommended the
invasion to President Bush (Also see, Bob Woodward The Commanders,
1993). Previously, the U.S. had supported the then dictator of Panama,
Gen. Noriega. -- he was on the CIA's payroll (Buckley, Panama: The
Whole Story, 1991; George Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as
Secretary of State, 1993). In terms of international law, there is no
difference between the invasion of Panama by the U.S. and the invasion
of Kuwait by Iraq -- both are illegal. The number of civilian deaths
caused by the invasion in Panama have been estimated to be between 1000
to 4000, greater than the number killed in Kuwait by the invasion of
Iraq. The Central American Human Rights commission [CODEHUCA] studied
the invasion and reached the following conclusions:

1) The U.S. Army used highly sophisticated and experimental weapons
against unarmed civilian populations;

2) Estimates of the number of non- combatants killed run from as few as
2200 to as high as 4000 Many of the mostly black victims were residents
of the El Chorrillos slum which was next to the Panamanian military
headquarters and was razed to the ground in the attack;

3) U.S. efforts to obscure the actual death toll included massive
incineration of corpses prior to identification, burial in mass graves
prior to identification, and U.S. military control of administrative
offices of hospitals and morgues;

4) "A thorough, well-planned propaganda campaign has been implemented
by U.S. authorities to... deny the brutality and extensive human and
material costs of the invasion." (CODEHUCA report submitted to Americas
Watch 6/5/90)

US Ambassador to Panama Ambler Moss said his "gut instinct is that
there is an awful lot of parties around there that have an interest in
covering up numbers" (New York Times, 1/10/90) Catholic priest Diego
Caffley, claimed that the invasion killed 3,000 people and that the
main obstacle to learning the full number was the US Army Southern
Command (La Republica, Costa Rica, 11/01/90) Washington Post Columnist
Colman McCarthy commented on Powell's actions in Panama:

Of the victims of the one-sided, sure-thing massacre, Powell says the
"loss of innocent life was tragic." Of course. Tut tut. This
superficial expression of grief was a run-up comment to Powell's
telling of "the lessons I absorbed from Panama": "Use all the force
necessary, and do not apologize for going in big if that is what it
takes." For sure. In the name of peace, kill as many women and children
as get in the way of U.S. policies. (Washington Post, 10/3/1995)


Colin Powell was the highest ranking military officer, the Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the Gulf War. He was thus directly
involved in decision making at all levels. In his memoirs, Gen. Powell
recounts drafting a warning to Saddam one day before the beginning of
the fighting, on Jan. 15, 1991.

If driven to it, I wrote, we would destroy the dams on the Tigris and
Euphrates rivers and flood Baghdad, with horrendous consequences.
(Powell, 1995; p.491)

The city of Baghdad that Gen Powell threatened to flood is home to 4
million civilians who are also victims of the dictatorship of Saddam
Hussein. During the Gulf War, the U.S. deliberately targeted the water
supply infrastructure - Professor Thomas Nagy of Georgetown University

obtained a . seven-page document prepared by the US Defence
Intelligence Agency, issued the day after the war started, entitled
Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities and circulated to all major allied
Commands. (Scottish Sunday Herald, 9/17/200)

The report analyzes Iraq's water systems, the effect of sanctions on
them, and how long ""Full degradation of the water treatment system"
will take. Allied targeting decisions were clearly affected by the
document --

During allied bombing campaigns on Iraq the country's eight
multi-purpose dams had been repeatedly hit... Four of seven major
pumping stations were destroyed, as were 31 municipal water and
sewerage facilities -- resulting in sewage pouring into the Tigris.
Water purification plants were incapacitated throughout Iraq. (Scottish
Sunday Herald, 9/17/200)

Water is one of the main necessities of civilian life. Bombing water
supplies violates Article 54 of the Geneva Convention titled the
Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian
Population. Article 56 specifically bans the destruction of dams, even
for military objectives.

Gen. Powell also decided to bomb biological and chemical weapons
arsenals (Powell, 1995; p.491). Article 56 of the Geneva Convention,
Protection of Works and Installations Containing Dangerous Forces, bans
attacking such installations even for military objectives as these may
cause immense harm to the civilian population and the environment. On
the subject of bombing these arsenals, Gen. Powell writes that he told
Sir David Craig "if it heads south, just blame me" (Powell, 1995;
p.491) - the implication being that he didn't care if enemy civilians
lost their lives, only if U.S. forces were imperiled. Even more
blatantly, when asked about the total number of Iraqi dead killed by
the air and ground assault by the U.S., he replied, " It's really not a
number I'm terribly interested in". (New York Times, 3/23/1991)

In fact, some of the winds did blow south towards the U.S. troops.
While the CIA investigations concluded that Iraq had never used
chemical or biological weapons against U.S. troops (CIA Report on
Intelligence Related to Gulf War Illnesses, 2 August 1996), the same
report shows that U.S. bombed many installations containing such
agents, some of which were very close to U.S. troops. Today about
80,000 Gulf Veterans suffer from Gulf War Syndrome, with frequent
allegations of a cover up by the Administration. General Powell has
never taken the blame as he has promised to do, in spite of repeated
pleas for help from Gulf War Veterans.

Finally, near the end of the Gulf War, after the Iraqi army had been
ordered to leave Kuwait, U.S. forces unleashed death and destruction on
the two so-called "Highways of Death." (Time, 3/18/91) A total of
perhaps 2000 military vehicles containing tens of thousands of
retreating troops, flying white flags, and a large number of civilian
vehicles were attacked. First the U.S. bombers disabled the front and
back vehicles, then bombed the resulting traffic jam for hours. The
Iraqi vehicles offered no resistance. There were almost no survivors.
"It was like shooting fish in a barrel," said one U.S. pilot. On one
road, every vehicle for 60 miles was destroyed (Los Angeles Times, 3/
11/91). Article 3 of the Geneva Convention prohibits killing soldiers
who are out of combat. This was not war, but a massacre of an "enemy"
that was suing for peace.

The war on Iraq is not over. Iraq under an economic siege known as
sanctions. Sanction are war by other means, a war that targets
children, elderly and the sick by restricting the amount of food,
medicine and supplies they have access to. In their tenth year, the
sanctions have not hurt Saddam Hussein one bit but according to U.N.
report have killed over one million civilians, half of them children
under the age of five. (Unicef press release, "Iraq Survey Shows
'Humanitarian Emergency,'" 8/12/1999)


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Colin Powell is a traitor to the United States, to the US Constitution, and to his oath of office by continuing to demand affirmative action and all kinds of other discriminatory, illegal, and unconstitutional special treatment.


He is completely undeserving of his position as the result of having been promoted ahead of 32 more highly qualified generals BECAUSE he is "black".


It's not a mere coincidence that the US was thrown off the UN Human Rights Commission and the UN Drug Policy Commission within 3 months of his appointment, even though we had been unquestioned members of these commissions since 1947.  Most of the rest of the world despises discriminatory government programs like affirmative action, and those who support it, even more than the 89% of American Whites and 80% of American blacks who oppose it.

If he was still back home in Jamaica, he would be living in a country where the average per capita income is $272 per month.  If he were in an equivalent position in Jamaica as he is here, he would be secretary of state of a country which is smaller than Nike Shoes.


He owes the United States of America far too much to be running around trying out novel ways to destroy it.


80% of blacks and 89% of whites oppose affirmative action!!



        "The issue, Mr. President, is not affirmative action but racial preferences," declared Abigail Thernstrom to President Clinton at his "Town Hall" discussion on race in Akron, Ohio, Dec. 3. Clinton returned the volley: "Do you favor abolishing the affirmative-action program that produced Colin Powell? Yes or No?" Thernstrom, co-author of an anti-affirmative-action tome (and participant in a current dialogue on race in Slate), responded that she does not "think that it is racial preferences that made Colin Powell."

       In the current Newsweek, Thernstrom amplifies: Yes, Colin Powell benefited from affirmative action. But the military has a good kind of affirmative action, which expands equal opportunity without making racial preferences. She offers as an example Powell's promotion to brigadier general by President Carter's Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander. When originally sent an all-white list of candidates for the position, Alexander rejected it, demanding a list that included some blacks. From the revised list, Alexander chose Powell.

As Jacob Weisberg noted in last week's Slate, critics of reverse discrimination often insist that they support affirmative action. And they often point to the military as the one American institution that's got the distinction right. The military, by all accounts, has indeed done a great job of integrating its higher reaches and achieving racial harmony without harming its ability to serve its mission. Affirmative action in the military is a success. But has the military avoided the alleged poison of reverse discrimination? Not at all. The real lesson of affirmative action in the military is that reverse discrimination is not so poisonous. It gave us Colin Powell. Thernstrom's anecdote about how Powell became brigadier general is ambiguous on its face. The boss asked for a list that included blacks and then chose a black off the list. Equal opportunity or reverse discrimination? A little more information resolves the ambiguity. One reason Powell wasn't on the original list is that he was, at 42, below the age normally considered eligible for promotion to brigadier general. An exception was made in order to give Secretary Alexander a black as he had requested. Powell, who has always been forthright in his defense of affirmative action, says himself that he wouldn't have appeared on the second list or been made the youngest general in the Army if it had not been for preferential treatment.


Thernstrom and others imagine the military as a place where (in her words) "people rise or fall according to their merits, not their race." But this is a misconception. The services set stringent guidelines for minority recruitment and promotion that sometimes surpass the supposed excesses of racially obsessed university admissions officers. For instance the Air Force, long the most resistant of the services to affirmative action, recently changed its promotion policy to increase its number of black pilots. Now, 90 percent of black applicants are accepted, compared with only 20 percent of white applicants. Do you believe this is the result of pure "equal opportunity," with nary a drop of "racial preference"? Both the Navy and the Marines have set themselves five-year deadlines to make their officer corps 12-percent African-American, 12-percent Latino, and 5-percent Asian-American. In a Nation article supporting these quotas, an ex-Marine recruiter boasts of his tactic for meeting these goals: "I routinely turned down long lines of qualified white males to save room for blacks. I denied whites interviews. I put their names on waiting lists. Every few months I threw stacks of their r�sum�s into the trash."


But what about the Army--the service most celebrated for its history of colorblindness? The Army implemented its affirmative-action policy in the mid-'70s, responding to rising resentment of white superiors among the black rank and file, which had resulted in race riots on bases. To diversify its officer corps, the Army began targeting scholarship money disproportionately to ROTC programs at historically black colleges and began heavily recruiting blacks for West Point. At least 7 percent of each West Point class must be black. That's an order. Army guidelines explicitly require that the officer-promotion panels take candidates' race into consideration. Promotions, the guidelines say, must roughly match the racial composition of the pool of candidates. The regulations naturally say that the panels should not lower standards simply to boost numbers, but affirmative-action plans often say similar things, and critics usually have little trouble seeing through it. Members of the panels are under heavy career and political pressure to meet goals. According to the Pentagon, more minorities and women have been appointed to promotion boards and explicitly instructed to act as advocates for the minority and women candidates who appear before them. To see that as expanding "opportunity" and not granting "preference" is wildly naive.

Promotions are reviewed by a Pentagon agency called the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute to ensure that the process was racism- and sexism-free. A recent article in the Weekly Standard showed that the officers who serve in the institute on a rotating basis are trained in lengthy seminars, rife with the goofiest sort of political correctness. In one class on the "White Male Club," an instructor lectured: "Q: Who are the white males that sustain power over us? A: Ted Turner, Alan Greenspan, and Bill Gates." In other sessions, they were required to confess their own biases and were shown videos from the Oprah Winfrey Racism Series. So if the mechanics of affirmative action in the military mimic those of affirmative action in higher education, why hasn't the military taken the same flak? Unlike the universities, the military has none of the notorious statistics about dropouts and racial separatism and it has many success stories, such as Colin Powell's. The military's officer corps, especially the Army's, has been successfully transformed from a clubby elite, where promotions depended on golfing partners, into a more integrated meritocracy.

To be sure, the Army's program insists, though more vaguely than people admit, that affirmative-action beneficiaries must meet the same minimum qualifications as their white counterparts. But there is a critical difference between being qualified, in the sense of meeting some minimum standard, and being better qualified than all those who are rejected. Choosing a black over a better-qualified white is still racial preference, even if they both are "qualified" in the absolute sense. The main difference between military and civilian affirmative action is that the military has an overabundance of minority candidates. Consequently, the Army can eliminate its weakest candidates--about one-half of blacks and one-third of whites--and still have a large number of blacks--about one-third of the Army. Most universities and federal agencies must compete aggressively over a much smaller pool. When affirmative action works, its critics deny its essential nature. For affirmative action to do anything, it must involve advancing people who are slightly less qualified. Not, one hopes, unqualified, but less qualified, under otherwise prevailing standards, than people who get passed over. It is necessarily a sloppy process that injects another arbitrary standard into an already arbitrary decision-making process. But the Army shows the process can work, and can help.



Powell, Colin Luther

Powell, Colin Luther, 1937–, African-American U.S.. army general, the highest ranking African-American officer in U.S. history and chairman (1989–93) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; b. New York City, grad., City College, 1958. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was the first African American and the youngest person to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He entered the U.S. army as a commissioned officer and served two tours of duty (1962–63, 1968–69) during the Vietnam War. In the 1970s he worked in several staff positions in the White House, including in the Office of Management and Budget, and also served in the military command. In 1979 he was made a major general and the military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, a position he held until 1981, when he assumed command of the 4th Infantry Division. From 1983 to 1986 Powell was military assistant to the secretary of defense and in 1986 he served as commander of the V Corps, Europe. The next year, he was named assistant to the president for national security affairs. In 1989 he became a four-star general and was named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He had an important role in planning the American invasion of Panama in late 1989, and prior to the Persian Gulf War (1991), he played a crucial role in planning and coordinating the military victory of U.S. and allied forces. In 1995 he declined to run for the U.S. presidency, despite widespread encouragement to do so. Since 1997, Powell has been chairman of America's Promise–the Alliance for Youth, a charitable organization formed to help needy and at-risk U.S. children.

See his autobiography (1995, with J. E. Persico).


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Bob Kerrey is lost in the haze of Vietnam. As he has contended with the public revelation that the Navy SEAL team he led killed a dozen or so civilians during a nighttime mission in 1969 (accidentally, he and five colleagues maintain; not-so-accidentally, says one team member), his recollections have shifted. "Please understand," he told journalist Gregory Vistica, who uncovered this story, "that my memory of this event is clouded by the fog of the evening, age and desire."

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His is not an uncommon fog, as attested to by other vets. The hell of Vietnam--an unpopular war that involved hard-to-discern guerrilla combatants, brutal depopulation strategies, indiscriminate bombing and much "collateral damage," as military bureaucrats called civilian kills--offers its distinct challenges to memory, the individual memories of many who served there and the collective memory of the nation that sent them and sponsored a dirty war of free-fire zones and destroy-the-village-to-save-the-village tactics. In reviewing Colin Powell's military service recently, I found that Powell had his own trouble in setting the record straight on his involvement--tangential as it was--in one of the war's more traumatic episodes.

As Powell notes in his 1995 autobiography, My American Journal, in 1969 he was an Army major, the deputy operations officer of the Americal Division, stationed at division headquarters in Chu Lai. He says that in March of that year, an investigator from the inspector general's office of Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) paid a call. In a "Joe Friday monotone," the investigator shot questions at Powell about Powell's position at the division and the division's operational journals, of which Powell was the custodian. The inspector then asked Powell to produce the journals for March 1968. Powell started to explain that he had not been with the division at that time. "Just get the journal," the IG man snapped, "and go through that month's entries. Let me know if you find an unusual number of enemy killed on any day."

Powell flipped through the records and came upon an entry from March 16, 1968. The journal noted that a unit of the division had reported a body count of 128 enemy dead on the Batangan Peninsula. "In this grinding, grim, but usually unspectacular warfare," Powell writes, "that was a high number." The investigator requested that Powell read the number into the tape recorder he had brought, and that was essentially the end of the interview. "He left," Powell recalls, "leaving me as mystified as to his purpose as when he arrived."

It would not be until two years later (according to the orginal version of Powell's book) or six months later (according to the paperbck version of the book) that Powell figured out that the IG official had been probing what was then a secret, the My Lai massacre. Not until the fall of 1969 did the world learned that on March 16, 1968, troops from the Americal Division, under the command of Lieut. William Calley, killed scores of men, women and children in that hamlet. "Subsequent investigation revealed that Calley and his men killed 347 people," Powell writes. "The 128 enemy 'kills' I had found in the journal formed part of the total."

Though he does not say so expressly, Powell leaves the impression that the IG investigation, using information provided by Powell, uncovered the massacre, for which Calley was later court-martialed. That is not accurate.

The transcript of the tape-recorded interview between the IG man--Lieut. Col. William Sheehan--and Powell tells a different story. During that session--which actually happened on May 23, 1969--the IG investigator did request that Powell take out the division's operations journals covering the first three weeks of March. (The IG inquiry had been triggered by letters written to the Pentagon, the White House and twenty-four members of Congress by Ron Ridenhour, a former serviceman who had learned about the mass murders.) Sheehan examined the records. Then he asked Powell to say for the record what activity had transpired in "grid square BS 7178" in this period. "The most significant of these occurred on 16, March, 1968," Powell replied, "beginning at 0740 when C Company, 1st of the 20th, then under Task Force Barker, and the 11th Infantry Brigade, conducted a combat assault into a hot LZ [landing zone]." He noted that C Company, after arriving in the landing zone, killed one Vietcong. About fifteen minutes later, the same company, backed up by helicopter gunships, killed three VC. In the following hour, the gunships killed three more VC, while C Company "located documents and equipment" and killed fourteen Vietcong. "There is no indication of the nature of the action which caused these fourteen VC KIA," Powell said. Later that morning, C Company, according to the journal, captured a shortwave radio and detained twenty-three VC suspects for questioning, while two other companies that were also part of Task Force Barker were active in the same area without registering any enemy kills.

Powell did not find in the journals any evidence suggesting something terribly amiss had happened in My Lai. No suspicious numbers of enemy killed, such as the 128 figure he recounts in his memoirs. The official records merely reflected what Powell had referred to as "a hot combat assault" during the IG interview. Seven weeks later, the MACV IG recommended that the case be closed, but a Pentagon IG investigation was already under way, and the Army's Criminal Investigation Division was soon pursuing an inquiry. The matter could not be smothered, and in November of 1969, journalist Seymour Hersh exposed C Company's massacre of civilians at My Lai.

There had been attempts at cover-up. Prior to Ridenhour's letter, the Army promoted the story that C Company had killed 128 VC and captured three weapons in the March 16 action. (Note the 128 figure--which Powell, in his memoirs, uses in describing the number of enemy kills he supposedly found in the journals. In his book, he is repeating the cover story, not recalling what was actually in the journal.) And information pertaining to My Lai disappeared from the Americal Division's files. A military review panel--convened after the Hersh stories to determine why the initial investigations did not uncover the truth of My Lai--found that senior officers of the Americal Division had destroyed evidence to protect their comrades. Powell keeps that out of his account.

Powell has never been implicated in any of the wrongdoing involving My Lai. No evidence ties him to the attempted cover-up. But he was part of an institution (and a division) that tried hard to keep the story of My Lai hidden--a point unacknowledged in his autobiography. Moreover, several months before he was interviewed by Sheehan, Powell was ordered to look into allegations made by another former GI that US troops had "without provocation or justification" killed civilians. (These charges did not mention My Lai specifically.) Powell mounted a most cursory examination. He did not ask the accuser for more specific information. He interviewed a few officers and reported to his superiors that there was nothing to the allegations [see "Questions for Powell," The Nation, January 8/15, 2001]. This exercise is not mentioned in his memoirs.

Powell notes that "My Lai was an appalling example of much that had gone wrong in Vietnam.... The involvement of so many unprepared officers and non-coms led to breakdowns in morale, discipline, and professional judgment--and to horrors like My Lai--as the troops became numb to what appeared to be endless and mindless slaughter." Yet he is silent on how the military brass (including himself) responded to the horrors. Too often, in-the-field warriors who witnessed or engaged in tragedies or atrocities involving civilians--men like Bob Kerrey and his fellow SEALs--kept their secrets. Too often, their superiors--men like Powell--were not interested in unearthing these awful truths (which usually were the results of their orders and demands), and certainly they had no desire to share that side of the war with the public. The willful denial of the war's managers is as much a part of the dark memory of Vietnam as the lethal misdeeds and mistakes of the soldiers.