Prior to a book signing in San Francisco, retired Gen. Colin Powell spoke out in favor of affirmative action programs, saying it is necessary for society to provide corrections for racist practices. Powell also warned that candidates should not use the issue as a “political football.” Rather, Americans should come together and talk the issue through to come up with fair solutions for everyone.
Powell commented that, “I’m a great believer in affirmative action and equal opportunity. I’ve seen it work in the military.” Unfortunately, men are the primary beneficiaries of the military affirmative action programs Powell used as an example. Women make up only eleven percent of the armed forces, due in part to quota systems which limit, rather than expand, their involvement. The military closes many job opportunities and promotions to women who otherwise meet the necessary qualifications. The Clinton administration opened a record number of positions for women in the military, but women still do not have the same opportunities men enjoy to succeed in and benefit from full active service.