Friday, May 11, 2012

Colin Powell: U.S. was set for war with Iraq before his U.N. speech

Jeff Stacklin

The George W. Bush Administration was set on going to war with Iraq even before Colin Powell made his infamous 2003 weapons of mass destruction pitch to the United Nations, writes the former secretary of state in his new book, "It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership."

It might be Powell's biggest revelation in the book, which details the experiences and lessons learned during his career as a soldier, a four-star general and secretary of state.
Powell writes in one chapter in which he discussed his address to the U.N. that war "was approaching," reports the Huffington Post, which obtained an advanced copy of the book slated for a May 22 release.
"By then, the President did not think war could be avoided," Powell writes. "He had crossed the line in his own mind, even though the NSC [National Security Council] had never met--and never would meet--to discuss the decision."
Powell refers to the address to the U.N. as a "blot." It was during that address that he appealed to the international body to support the United States because the country--albeit, erroneously--believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, notes a Bloomberg report on the book.
The speech and the facts surrounding the speech serve as a lesson to business leaders on the importance of staying skeptical and following their intuition, Powell writes.
"Yes, a blot, a failure will always be attached to me and my UN presentation," the former U.S. secretary of state writes. ... "I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me."
Powell points a finger at Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby, the former vice president's chief of staff, as the ones responsible for providing the inaccurate information about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, the Huffington Post reports.
In the book, Powell notes the weapons of mass destruction case "was a disaster."
"I learned later that Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, had authored the unusable presentation, not the NSC staff. And several years after that, I learned from Dr. [Condoleezza] Rice that the idea of using Libby had come from the Vice President, who had persuaded the President to have Libby, a lawyer, write the 'case' as a lawyer's brief and not as an intelligence assessment."
Powell, though, takes credit for rejecting continued appeals from Cheney to add "assertions that had been rejected months earlier to links between Iraq and 9/11 and other terrorist acts," according to the Huffington Post report.

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