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Tags: colinpowell | worldwarii | nazigermany

Gen. Colin Powell and the 'Liberators' Scandal

Gen. Colin Powell and the 'Liberators' Scandal
Colin Powell (AFP via Getty Images)

By Friday, 12 June 2020 10:08 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Gen. Colin Powell, in a pathetic interview with fake-news CNN, blasted President Donald Trump for "drift[ing] away from" the Constitution, while also endorsing the physically-and-mentally-unfit Joe Biden.

President Trump, in a Twitter storm on June 7, vigorously repulsed Gen. Powell's feeble and orchestrated attack by characterizing him both as "highly overrated," and a colossal failure as secretary of state in pushing the erroneous narrative of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In the CNN interview, Powell also praised retired Gens. Jim Mattis, John Allen and John Kelly, and Adm. Mike Mullen, for "speaking truth to those who are not speaking the truth," because they hypocritically denounced President Trump for threatening to send active-duty troops to stop the recent urban riots.

Unfortunately, Gen. Colin Powell lacks the moral and intellectual credibility to lecture his fellow Americans about "speaking truth" to the powerful. In 1993, when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Democratic President Bill Clinton (he was appointed in Oct. 1989 by Republican President George H.W. Bush), he refused to publicly condemn the notorious PBS film "Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II," which falsely claimed the African-American 761st Tank and 183rd Combat Engineers battalions liberated Buchenwald and Dachau, two of the largest concentration camps freed by U.S. Army troops.

"Liberators," narrated by Denzel Washington and Louis Gossett Jr., was directed by Nina Rosenblum and Williams Miles, and it was broadcast nationwide on "The American Experience" on Veterans Day in Nov. 1992, with a tendentious introduction by David McCullough, the Pulitzer-prize-winning biographer.

But in mid-February 1993, this faux documentary was yanked from the public airways, after vehement protests from veterans of the divisions who truly liberated Buchenwald (Sixth Armored and 80th Infantry) and Dachau (45th and 42nd Infantry), and the intrepid reporting of Christopher Ruddy (Newsmax's CEO), the late Eric Breindel (editorial-page editor of the New York Post), Jeffrey Goldberg (current editor of The Atlantic Magazine), and deceased radio journalists Bob Grant and Barry Grey.

Since my father, Sgt. Barney Schulte (1914-89), was a decorated combat veteran of Gen. George Patton's crack Sixth AD and a real Buchenwald liberator, I joined the "anti-Liberators" brigade in Dec. 1992, and published my first of many articles on this monumental scandal in The New York Jewish Week, one week after WNET, PBS's flagship in New York City and the film's principal financial supporter, pulled the plug.

WNET also commissioned an independent investigation, from award-winning documentarian Morton Silverstein, of the film's sensationalistic claims.

On April 7, 1993, Col. James Moncrief Jr. (Ret.), the highest-ranking surviving officer of the Sixth AD, which with the Fourth AD had spearheaded the mighty Third Army's relentless advance from Normandy to the Elbe River, sent a 13-paragraph letter to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell, requesting that he familiarize himself with the facts of the "Liberators" scandal, and then, "in view of your esteemed position and splendid reputations as a soldier and leader, request that you give wide publicity to the results of such study."

On June 4, 1993, on the stationery of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Powell sent a one-paragraph reply to Col. Moncrief, informing him that he was "aware of the controversy surrounding "Liberators," but demurring that any "question of the historical accuracy of Army military events is handled by the U.S. Army Center of Military History."

Gen. Powell further wrote the Army's CMH "has been assisting Mr. Mort Silverstein … in verifying the historical accuracy' of the film, and he ended by assuring Col. Moncrief that Silverstein and his assistants "have not yet completed their final report, but they seem to be making a reasonable effort to correct the record."

In early Sept. 1993, WNET released, to nationwide publicity, the Silverstein Report, which conceded that the African American soldiers of 761st Tank and 183rd Combat Engineers battalions played no role in the liberations of either Buchenwald or Dachau.

While Gen. Powell retired on Sept. 30, 1993, neither during his last months in government service nor his first three years of civilian life did he publicly comment on the "Liberators" scandal.

But in 1996, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar published "Black Profiles on Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement," Gen. Powell provided the only blurb on the book's back cover:

"Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has written a fascinating account of the exploits of courageous black men and women. The stories will both educate and inspire readers of all ages and races who still believe in the indomitability of the human spirit."

Unfortunately, Gen. Powell is an egregiously sloppy reader, because on page 176, Abdul-Jabbar, an enthusiastic supporter of "Liberators," despicably repeats the "Big Lie" that the "27 officers and 529 enlisted men" of the 761st Tank Battalion "even initiated the liberation of the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps."

While Col. Moncrief was correct in 1993 that Colin Powell enjoyed a sterling reputation, his disgraceful behavior during the unprecedented "Liberators" scandal exemplifies what a deeply-flawed, power-hungry retiree he has become during the last quarter-century.

Mark Schulte is a retired New City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Report's — More Here.

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MarkSchulte
Unfortunately, Gen. Colin Powell lacks the moral and intellectual credibility to lecture his fellow Americans about "speaking truth" to the powerful.
colinpowell, worldwarii, nazigermany
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2020-08-12
Friday, 12 June 2020 10:08 AM
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