Saturday, September 10, 2005

Colin Powell Regrets Speech to UN

I read this originally in the Globe & Mail, but I found it online here.
The former secretary of state, Colin Powell, said in a television interview to be broadcast Friday that his 2003 speech to the United Nations, in which he gave a detailed description of Iraqi weapons programs that turned out not to exist, was "painful" for him personally and would be a permanent "blot" on his record.

"I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world," Powell told Barbara Walters of ABC News, adding that the presentation "will always be a part of my record."
On the American invasion in Iraq:
Powell also implied in the interview that the United States did not go to war in Iraq with sufficient troops to secure the country and failed to keep sufficient Iraqi forces to help stabilize the country.

"What we didn't do in the immediate aftermath of the war was to impose our will on the whole country with enough troops of our own, with enough troops from coalition forces or by re-creating the Iraqi forces, armed forces, more quickly than we are doing now," he said.
I sincerely believe that Colin Powell believed there were WMDs in Iraq, and I sincerely believe he thought, at the time, the invasion of Iraq was justified in a "global fight against terrorism".

I believe him when he said he was mislead by people in the United States intelligence community. I also believe him when, although he doesn't come right out and say it, he was mislead by others in the United States administration, as his stance on his "loyalty" shows.

Perhaps his biggest fault is that he's a loyal soldier.

His critics, and especially those critics of the Bush administration, are quick to perhaps judge him on his "blind" loyalty - that he was so blinded by his "loyalty" to George W Bush and his version of a Republican administration, that he was blinded to the truth. For that, they say, he deserves no sympathy.

Unfortunately, loyalty and trust is blind. Millions of people make the wrong choices everyday because they trust the wrong person, the wrong group, the wrong whatever. They believe what they hear, or what they see, because they trust the entity delivering the information.

In this case, and perhaps why the criticism, his loyalty helped perpetuate a myth - a fallacy, that Iraq was threat to world stability and a danger to American sovereignty. A myth that has caused the lives of many Americans and many Iraqis and one that appears to have no end in sight.

I believe he believed that what he was doing was right. And, that's unfortunate, and that's why he has my sympathy.

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1 comment:

Clear Man said...

I believe Powell was blinded as much by his ambition as his programmed loyalty. He had been trained well to serve senior officers, military, then civilian. He had also been rewarded by moving up the ranks. With each move up you are encouraged and motivated to try for the next promotion. This kind of conditioning sets people up for being taken in by corrupt leaders. You have no training that allows you to respond to this type of corruption so you just miss it. You don't really understand it at first. It is only when the wheels come off and you are given time to reflect that you begin to see the real truth but by then, of course, it is far too late. A fine honourable soldier used in an evil selfish way. It is very sad. That is what happens when power becomes corrupt the good are unwittingly sacrificed.