Quotations by Powell, Colin


I’m sleeping like a baby, too — every two hours, I wake up, screaming.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
(Attributed)

Upon hearing that President Bush was "sleeping like a baby" on the eve of the Iraq war. Quoted by Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker (10 Feb 2003).
Added on 3-Apr-08 | Last updated 3-Apr-08
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A sense of shame is not a bad moral compass. I remember how easy it was for my mother to snap me back into line with a simple rebuke: ‘I’m ashamed of you. You embarrassed the family.’ I would have preferred a beating to those words.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
My American Journey
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
My American Journey (1995)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Sep-15
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Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
My American Journey, ch. 2 (2003)
Added on 4-Aug-11 | Last updated 4-Aug-11
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Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
The Powell Principles (2003)
Added on 28-Apr-08 | Last updated 28-Apr-08
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One of the fondest expressions around is that we can’t be the world’s policeman. […] But guess who gets called when suddenly someone needs a cop?

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
Interview, New York Times (1990)
Added on 15-Jan-14 | Last updated 15-Jan-14
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The First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree, but also that which we find outrageous. I would not amend that great shield of democracy to hammer a few miscreants. The flag will be flying proudly long after they have slunk away.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
Letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy (18 May 1999)

On a proposed flag-burning amendment. Full text.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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In one generation we have moved from denying a black man service at a lunch counter to elevating one to the highest military office in the nation, and to being a serious contender for the presidency. This is a magnificent country and I am proud to be one of its sons.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
News conference, Alexandria, VA (8 Nov 1995)

While announcing his decision not to seek the presidential nomination.
Added on 22-Jan-14 | Last updated 22-Jan-14
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