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Powell Blames Himself, Others For Specious Iraq WMD Claims to U.N.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in a new book said he blames himself for not trusting his instinct and making what proved to be false assertions to the United Nations about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, Bloomberg reported earlier this month (see GSN, Feb. 17, 2011).

Powell's high-profile February 2003 prewar presentation to the U.N. Security Council included now-discredited claims that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had movable biological weapons facilities and was involved in a "sinister nexus" with al-Qaeda.

No evidence of active WMD production facilities or usable stockpiles have been found in Iraq following the U.S.-led March 2003 invasion.

"A failure will always be attached to me and my U.N. presentation," Powell writes in "It Worked For Me," a book that provides leadership advice. "I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me."

In his recently published book, Powell asserts "there would have been no war" in Iraq had then-President George W. Bush and his councilors understood that Hussein did not possess any functioning unconventional weapons. However, he lauded the fact that under Bush "we got rid of the horrific Hussein" government and toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The retired general also faulted U.S. intelligence officers for lacking the "courage" to alert him that he was receiving bad data on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction ahead of his U.N. appearance.

"Why did no one stand up and speak out during the intense hours we worked on the speech?” the ex-secretary said. “Some of these same analysts later wrote books claiming they were shocked that I have relied on such deeply flawed evidence."

Powell said he relied on the CIA to help develop his U.N. presentation but that he was not aware at the time that "much of the evidence was wrong" (Capaccio/Tiron, Bloomberg, May 4).


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