Powell said supporting the Iraq war was a "stain" on his record

As Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell was a reluctant warrior in President George W. Bush’s push to invade Iraq after the September 11 ...


As Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell was a reluctant warrior in President George W. Bush’s push to invade Iraq after the September 11 terrorist attacks. He warned the president that this could destabilize the Middle East, disrupt oil markets and divert political will and resources from the unfinished struggle against Al Qaeda.

In a two-hour meeting with Mr. Bush on August 5, 2002, Mr. Powell established what has become the Pottery Barn rules:

Mr Powell did not recommend whether the country should go to war or not – which he believed was the president’s prerogative – but presented options. After a failed diplomatic effort to avoid conflict, Mr. Bush turned to Mr. Powell to support the administration’s case for the use of force if Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein failed to comply with demands international.

In a 76-minute speech to the United Nations on February 5, 2003, Mr. Powell emphasized the American arguments for a possible war to disarm Iraq, presenting photographs, electronic interceptions of conversations between Iraqi military officers and information from defectors aimed at proving that Saddam Hussein posed imminent danger to the world.

In the Bush administration’s most explicit effort to link activities between Iraq and al-Qaeda, Mr. Powell has suggested that Iraq’s lethal weapons could be given at any time to terrorists who could. use against the United States or Europe.

He provided new details on Iraq’s efforts to develop mobile laboratories to manufacture germ weapons. He claimed that Iraq had sought to hide missiles in its western desert. Significantly, he cited intelligence reports that Saddam Hussein allowed his army to use poison gas if the United States invaded.

Prior to the speech, Mr. Powell had spent several days at the CIA toasting analysts on intelligence, narrowing down many claims in an early version of the White House speech that he said were unsubstantiated. Now he felt confident, he told his aides ahead of the New York speech.

“Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in the post-September 11 world,” Powell said.

The speech failed to convince many skeptics within the international community, but Mr. Powell’s personal appeal made many Americans support the war, even reluctantly. However, after the invasion of US troops in March 2003, it became clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence was wrong.

Two years later, Mr Powell told ABC News’ Barbara Walters that his speech at the United Nations was “painful” for him personally and would forever be a “stain” on his record. “I am the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world,” said Powell, acknowledging that his presentation “will always be part of my portfolio.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Powell said supporting the Iraq war was a "stain" on his record
Powell said supporting the Iraq war was a "stain" on his record
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