Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama on Meet the Press this morning is a great read but a wonderful watch. It is a slight to McCain and more so to Palin, a strong endorsement of Obama himself, but above all it is a stinging, hard-hitting attack on the recent direction of the Republican party from one of the most senior members of that party. Powell in particular takes issue with the Muslim smears of Barack Obama: not just that he is being smeared as a Muslim, but that being Muslim is for some reason considered a smear:
I feel strongly about [the Muslim smears] because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have a Star of David, it had the crescent and star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.
Here's the endorsement in full:
The bit about Kareem Rashad starts at 5:22 and is one of the most deeply moving pieces of political commentary I have seen in the course of this 2-year campaign.