Colin Powell had one of the most distinguished careers of any military official. But the former secretary of state, who died on Monday, will perhaps be best remembered for testifying before the United Nations Security Council about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, which overwhelmingly convinced many Americans. and elected to invade the nation.
One of those chosen was Joe Biden. At that time, in February 2003, Mr. Biden was the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The previous October, Mr. Biden had voted, along with 76 other senators, to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.
At the time, Mr. Powell, then Secretary of State, was the most credible of all officials in the Bush administration. A retired four-star U.S. Army general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he was also the first black secretary of state and was often considered a potential Republican candidate for president.
Mr. Powell warned President George W Bush in August 2002 against invading Iraq, but testified before the United Nations Security Council at the president’s request. In one of the most memorable moments, Mr Powell held up a vial, warning against anthrax and against production by the Saddam Hussein regime.
“And Saddam Hussein did not verifiably count even a teaspoonful of this deadly material,” he said.
The speech was incredibly effective in influencing public opinion. A survey of The Washington Post and ABC News then showed that 61% of people had taken his address or reports on it and 50% of those polled at the time believed he had made a “compelling case” for waging war in Iraq. After Mr. Powell’s testimony, Mr. Biden congratulated him.
“Secretary Powell presented a powerful and compelling case today before the UN Security Council. The evidence he produced confirms what many of us already know – that Saddam continues to flout the world’s demand to disarm, ”Biden said at the time, according to a statement released by the Delaware Grapevine.
“Now that the Secretary of State has delivered his powerful statement, the President must continue to engage in personal diplomacy to convince key members of the Security Council to pass a second resolution setting a deadline for authorizing force if necessary. to disarm Iraq, ”Biden added. . “Although a second resolution is not a requirement, and although we can win a war on our own, we are much better off if we have the support of the UN and a broad coalition.”
It was later revealed that much of the information in Mr. Powell’s testimony was incorrect.
Both Mr. Powell and Mr. Biden would come to regret their support for the Iraq war, with Mr. Powell calling it a “stain” on his record.
The Independent Gt