I am considering changing jobs. Here is the essay I submitted to determine how much I get paid.CDI Instructor Candidate Essay
"If you had the power to change any event in history (outcome of an election, who won a war, etc.), which would you choose to change, and why?" Nearly four years ago to the week, the American Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the Bush administration's case for the invasion of Iraq to the UN security counsel. In the face of lackluster foreign support and a suspecting American public Powell's convincing testimony proved to be the watershed for America's entrance into Iraq. It also marked the beginning of a muddled military, political and financial quagmire for America and her allies. Powell was the only cabinet member at the time capable of galvanizing both domestic and international support. If Powell had the foresight to say then what he is publicly asserting now- that America should not be involved in Iraq-, all parties and peoples involved would be immeasurably better off. Powell's speech to the UN in March of 2003 had a unique and decisive effect on America's involvement in Iraq. In the months leading up to this event, despite the Bush administration's incessant and widely publicized accusations of Hussein/Al Qaeda connections and Iraqi weapons stockpiles, all significant parties remained skeptical. Powell was in a unique position to break this skepticism. He had, up until that point, maintained an indelible public persona, had successfully commanded America through the first Gulf War as a four star general and, most importantly, was regarded as an outsider within the Bush administration because of his ideological orientation. With such overpowering credibility, Powell single-handedly persuaded the American public to believe spurious weapons allegations, which, not even two months into the Iraq conflict, were proven false. Contemporary critics may be concerned with degrees of deception: was it Powell being deceived by the CIA and administration insiders or was it Powell et al. deceiving everyone else? Finger pointing aside, what does matter is the unique power possessed by Powell at that time; if the tone and content of Powell's speech had been altered, the multifaceted deterioration that has accelerated over the past four years would have been avoided.
The consequences of Powell's UN address have left an indelible stain on contemporary politics. The most outstanding effect remains the current status of the Iraq occupation. After four years of bloodshed and billions of dollars, either spent or squandered, the Iraq conflict is not only, not nearing a conclusion, it is being escalated. Additionally, the atmosphere inside the country is more fractious than ever, barely escaping the definition of civil war. Sunni and Shiite parties have made little to no progress towards establishing a functioning democracy. Sunni suicide bombers still battle Shiite death squads, the former receiving support from Saudi Arabian mosques while the latter reap the financial and arms benefits of the Iranian government. Unfortunately, the billowing consequences do not dovetail at the Iraqi border. There was the derailing of the Israel/Palestine peace process and the subsequent war between Israel and Hezbollah, a terrorist organization funded by Iran through Syria. Both events are widely acknowledged as being indirectly related to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Beyond the region the consequence are less overt but potentially more damning for American interests in the long run. International support for all other ventures on the American agenda is at an all time low; this is manifested most poignantly in Iran's defiance at the UN in pursuing nuclear capabilities. Finally, America has unquestionably suffered domestically. The public is only now coming to terms with the deceptions of their elected government. How much better off the world might be if Powell had address the UN in a more appropriate manner.
Novelist A.E. Barr's quip, Foresight spares afterthought, may be the most significant reflection for a now contrite Colin Powell. No man can ever bare sole responsibility for a democracy's decision to go to war, yet, in this instance, it is hard to imagine said country being able to pursue the war without this man's decisive oratory. From a more encompassing perspective, Powell's speech only reflected the orientation of the Neo-conservative steeped Bush administration. Even a speech imbued with an adequate dose of foresight may not have prevented the current conflict in the Middle East. Nevertheless, both the American public and the international community would have retained their initial skepticism and maybe, just maybe, that would have been enough.