Veeeeery interesting: By Michael O'Hurley-Pitts, Special to CTV.ca According to Winston Churchill, truth is always the first casualty of war. He obviously didn't contemplate a war like Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was arguably this war's first casualty. Having failed to persuade the skeptical world community assembled at the United Nations that Iraq posed a clear and present danger to U.S. and world stability, Powell fell off the radar screen. Some would say he was pushed. Despite having been a major architect of the more supported (and "successful") first Gulf War in his capacity as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Powell has found himself alienated from the hawkish Pentagon community of the Bush Administration. Having advised George W. Bush to seek United Nations support, and failing to gain a clear mandate for the use of military force to disarm and change the regime in Iraq, Powell has found himself to be the odd-man-out in the Bush Cabinet. His wisdom and counsel absent from the White House, Pentagon war enthusiasts and planners have up to this point found favor with Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who has assembled bright, capable and seasoned military officers who have fallen into the cyclically, historic trap of generals being over-optimistic in their assumptions and under-prepared with their planning. The President's management style is clear –- rely heavily on carefully selected Cabinet Officers for advice. During a pre-war White House briefing, Bush asked General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, how long the war would last. Despite being the President's top, uniformed military advisor, before Myers could answer, Rumsfeld interrupted: "Now, Dick, you don’t want to answer that." Clearly, the President values Rumsfeld's advice over all others, perhaps with the exception of one of the first picks to serve his administration, Condeleezza Rice. Dr. Rice's role as National Security Advisor has often pitted the first female to serve in this post against the 'old boys' intelligence network at the CIA and FBI. Invariably, George Tenet, Director of the CIA and Robert Mueller, head of the FBI, find that she comes out on top. Who's in ... who's out Since the United States' failure to gain UN support for the use of force to enforce Resolution 1441, President Bush’s inner-circle has become even more select. The 'war cabinet' triumvirate of Rumsfeld, Rice and Myers says much about not only who the President trusts most, but the long-term policy objectives of this Administration. It is possible that Colin Powell is not being "punished" for failing to deliver at the UN but rather is being held aloof from the Bush Administration’s war camp. The announcement of his upcoming three-day trip to Europe to consult "allies" on post-war reconstruction may be proof of this idea. Keeping Powell outside the inner-circle does tend to insulate him from battlefield decisions so that he might retain whatever measure of credibility the U.S. still has and will certainly need in re-establishing international relations once this war is over. However, had the spin-doctors at White House thought that insulating Powell from the war would maintain his credibility in the world of diplomacy, they would announced as much to the four corners of the earth, in order to signal their desire to normalize their strained relations on the world stage once the war is over. Having served as a Legislative Aide and Counsel in the United States Congress, a quick round of telephone calls to old friends on both sides of the political aisle confirmed my analysis. Colin Powell has been sidelined, but because of his former glory and stature, Bush has not found it either wise or convenient to ask for his resignation. More pointedly, in light of the resignation of a leading Iraqi war architect and one of Bush's most trusted advisors, Richard “rince of Darkness” Perle, the White House is anxious to preserve the illusion that an unwavering and unified team remains intact. And Colin Powell, ever the American Patriot, may believe it unacceptable to be seen to be deserting an embattled America and Commander-in-Chief at such a critical time. Secretary Powell's demise, temporary or permanent, is a symptom of an even greater problem for Bush. The radical and polarizing implications of the President’s style of management, be it in his own Cabinet or in the foreign relations arena, has rung out the death knell for moderates and people who seek and value middle ground consensus. Bush's declaration that "you are either with us or against us" is widely perceived to be the cause of strain in the world community, especially in U.S.-Canadian relations. Without a doubt, Bush must get high marks for implementing his agenda. Few Presidents have found the ability to move a weary nation and Congress to support such broad use of what is essentially unilateral military action. However, the "friendly fire" and "collateral damage" to great Americans like Colin Powell, and to the United States' long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship with Canada, is starting to take its toll. While the cost of war is always high, it is sheer folly that causes the unnecessary loss of such patriots, old friends and allies.