I’m anything but a fan of Colin Powell, and have no idea what impact (if any) his Meet the Press endorsement of Obama will have, but I was really glad to see him make the following point in explaining why he has rejected McCain’s candidacy:
I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: “Well, you know that Mr.Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian.
But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be President?
Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion: he’s a Muslim, and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
There has been much condemnation over the ‘Obama-is-a-Muslim’ line of GOP attack, but almost all of it has been on the ground that the attack is factually false as applied to the Christian Obama, not on the ground that it is a reprehensible and dangerous line of attack even if it were factually true. Powell bears much of the responsibility, and always will, for the horrific U.S. attack on Iraq (one which, just by the way, resulted in the deaths of at least hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims), but he deserves credit for using the platform he had this morning to go out of his way to make this vital point when doing so was not necessary (and perhaps not even helpful) in advancing the cause of his endorsement of Obama.
Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com, 19 October 2008