Colin Powell on War & Peace

Secretary of State (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


Iran working on delivery systems as well as nukes

Powell spoke at some length about intelligence on Iran's efforts to weaponize their nuclear capability and to fit it into warheads consistent with their ballistic missile efforts. I was stunned, but even more stunned when Powell himself called, starting off by saying, "You're not going to believe what I just did." For whatever reason, he began discussing information we had recently received, getting in deeper and deeper. He said, among other things: "I have seen some information that would suggest they have been actively working on delivery systems. You don't have a weapon until you can put it in something that can deliver a weapon. I'm talking about what one does with a warhead. We are talking about information that says they not only have missiles, but information that suggests they are working hard about how to put the 2 together."

I was delighted. 1st, I hadn't done it. 2nd, I thought this was exactly the kind of intelligence we needed out in public.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p.316 , Nov 6, 2007

Politicians' sons in Guard is raw class discrimination

"I am angry that so many sons of powerful and well-placed..managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units.Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal." [citing Colin Powell in "My American Journey", 1995]
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.294 , Sep 14, 2004

Arafat must end terrorism to get to two-state solution

Bush concluded that Yasser Arafat was a hopeless case, someone who had little interest in helping his own people and who was an impediment to the peace process. Instead of pretending that he was relevant, in April and June 2002, Bush began saying that Arafat was part of the problem.

“I had warned Arafat twice that it was about to come to an end, that I could no longer deal with him if he didn’t do something about terrorism,” Powell said. “And he didn’t, so we then came up with this twenty-fourth June speech that said we can’t work with this guy; the Palestinian Authority has to reform itself, and that has to be done quickly; and we’ll wait for a new Palestinian Authority leadership to emerge, and we are looking for a Palestinian state, a two-state solution.”

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.178-79 , Aug 5, 2004

We wrote Resolution 1441 to preserve peace

We have an obligation to our citizens, we have an obligation to this body to see that our resolutions are complied with. We wrote 1441 not in order to go to war, we wrote 1441 to try to preserve the peace. We wrote 1441 to give Iraq one last chance. Iraq is not so far taking that one last chance.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

US need not choose between Israel & Arabs

Powell has been as popular with the Jewish community as he has with the general public. He wowed many Jews in 1991 when he addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference, starting off in Yiddish [which he learned as a boy growing up in New York City]. In that speech, he noted that the Gulf War destroyed the myth that the United States must choose between Israel and the Arabs. He lauded Israel’s “heroic restraint” after withstanding the Scud missile attacks. He also said the friendship between our nations is “symbolized by the strategic cooperation between both countries. Cooperation that will grow.”

He also talked about going to Israel and feeling so comfortable he could speak to his Israeli counterparts in “short-hand, the kind that develops among close and dear friends.” He traced this relationship to the basis of the alliance’s “democratic cooperation...a cooperation based on rules of law and democracy.”

Source: Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, Op-Ed, Mitchell Bard , Nov 3, 1995

US has always stood with Israel; and will continue to do so

Powell concluded a 1991 speech to the AIPAC Policy Conference with the kind of passionate statement every friend of Israel hopes for from public officials: “We have stood with Israel throughout its history. We have demonstrated again and again that our roots are intertwined, as they are with all nations who share our beliefs in openness and democracy. So let there be no question that America will stand by Israel today. And, let there be no question that America will stand by Israel in the future. Peace in the Middle East, a peace we all yearn for, can only be secured if the U.S.-Israeli relationship remains strong and vibrant.“

Those were his most extensive public remarks on the Middle East. As Joint Chiefs chairman, Powell had a role in the growth of strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel, but he was not a catalyst.

Source: Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, Op-Ed, Mitchell Bard , Nov 3, 1995

Personally oversaw Panama invasion in 1989

According to Powell, it was little more than 24 hours after he had become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the first call came in, alerting Powell to a coup brewing against the Noriega regime in Panama. He told himself, Welcome back to the big leagues.

Powell monitored the situation closely, and when the time was right, on December 29, 1989, some 26,000 troops invaded Central America, ousting Panama's dictator, Manuel Noriega. The operation was an enormous success. Noriega was quickly captured and brought to Florida for trial. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to prison. On January 4, Powell went to Panama to bring the US troops home. He wanted to be a hands-on leader.

In under 90 days, Powell had become a popular hero.

Source: Powell & the American Dream, by Cummings&Rudnicki, p. 179-80 , Nov 1, 1995

Lebanon: providing “presence” not sufficient basis

Our Marines had been stationed in Lebanon for the fuzzy idea of providing a “presence.” The year before, in 1982, the Israelis had invaded Lebanon to drive out the PLO terrorists. The US was attempting to referee the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon.

I was developing a strong distaste for the antiseptic phrases coined by State Department officials for foreign interventions which usually had bloody consequences for the military, words like “presence,” “symbol,” “signal.” Their use is fine if beneath them lay a solid mission. But too often these words were used to give the appearance of clarity to mud.

I saw America sticking its hand into a thousand-year-old hornet’s nest with the expectation that our mere presence might pacify the hornets. There are times when American lives must be risked and lost. But lives must not be risked until we can face a parent or spouse with a clear answer to the question of why. To provide a “symbol” or a “presence” is not good enough.

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 280-1 , Jan 1, 1995

War cabinet split: Rumsfeld & Cheney hawks; Powell dove

Powell joked privately that he had been put in the “icebox” -- to be used only when needed. In early October 2001, Powell said, “I’m in the icebox again,” [regarding speaking out on the Iraq war]. Maybe because he was pushing to release a white paper detailing evidence against Osama bin Laden.

One of Powell’s greatest difficulties was that he was more or less supposed to pretend in public that the sharp differences in the war cabinet did not exist. The president would not tolerate public discord. Powell was also held in check by his own code -- a soldier obeys.

Bush might order, Go get the guns! Get my horses! -- all the Texas, Alamo macho that made Powell uncomfortable. But he believed and hoped that the president knew better, that he would see the go-it-alone approach did not stand further analysis.

The ghosts in the machine in Powell’s view were Rumsfeld and Cheney. Too often they went for the guns and the horses.

Source: Bush At War, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post , Nov 17, 2002

When I hear “limited” & “surgical”, I head for the bunker

In 1991, I was asked why the US could not assume a “limited” role in Bosnia. I had been engaged in limited military involvements before, in Vietnam for starters. I said, “As soon as they tell me it’s limited, it means they do not care whether you achieve a result or not. As soon as they tell me ‘surgical,’ I head for the bunker.” I criticized the pseudo-policy of establishing a US “presence” without a defined mission in trouble spots. This approach had cost the lives of 241 Marines in Lebanon.
Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 543-4 , Jan 1, 1995

Colin Powell on Iraq

2001: Counseled against Iraq at same time as Afghanistan

Saddam's brutal dictatorship was widely considered the most dangerous country in the world."Dealing with Iraq would show a major commitment to antiterrorism," Don Rumsfeld said.

Colin cautioned against it. "Going after Iraq now would be viewed as a bai and switch," he said. "We would lose the UN, the Islamic countries, and NATO. If we want to do Iraq, we should do it at a time of our choosing. But we should not do it now, because we don't have linkage to this event."

Dick Cheney understood the threat of Saddam Hussein and believed we had to address it. "But now is not a good time to do it," he said. "We would lose our momentum. Right now people have to choose between the US and the bad guys."

Unless I received definitive evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 plot, I would work to resolve the Iraq problem diplomatically. I hoped unified pressure by the world might compel Saddam to meet his international obligations. The best way to show him we were serious was to succeed in Afghanistan.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.189-191 , Nov 9, 2010

Pre-9-11 goal: Keep Saddam in his box

By early 2001, Saddam Hussein was waging a low-grade war against the US. In 1999 and 2000, his forces had fired 700 times at our pilots patrolling the no-fly zones. For my first eight months in office, my policy focused on tightening the sanctions--or, a Colin Powell put it, keeping Saddam Hussein in his box. Then 9/11 hit, and we had to take a fresh look at every threat in the world.Before 9/11, Saddam was a problem America might have been able to manage. Through the lens of the post 9/11 world, my view changed.
Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.228-229 , Nov 9, 2010

2003 UN speech focused on a call for resolve on Iraq

On February 6, 2003, Secretary of State Powell presented to the U.N. Security Council the comprehensive U.S. case against Iraq. This speech was viewed within the White House as extremely significant. Powell, after all, had wide bipartisan respect and, while he supported the war (and has never backed away from that fact), he was not viewed as a "hawk." He had enormous credibility from having personally reviewed the evidence exhaustively. Powell concluded his presentation with a call for resolve: "We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibility to the citizens of the countries that are represented by this body."

Powell's speech perfectly captured our thinking. We wanted to increase pressure on Saddam Hussein, which would, we hoped, cause him to change his ways, to comply with U.N. demands and live up to his obligations.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.303 , Nov 2, 2010

Iraq Security Council speech is "worst blot" on my record

Hussein had such weapons, and that he had one last chance to come clean or be forcibly disarmed. Biden was convinced that the weapons existed, especially after the Powell presentation, Powell himself, however, later regretfully labeled his own Bush sent Secretary of State Colin Powell before the Security Council on February 5, 2003. Armed with information and pictorial support from the CIA and other U.S. governmental sources, he gave a lengthy and forceful case that Saddam Biden asked him to convey to Powell "my strong view not to say anything you do not know for certain." Powell himself expressed home that in going back to the United Nations "we may yet be able to avoid this war, and how bad would that be?" speech "the worst blot" on his career record, as it turned out he had been misled by the CIA and there were no such weapons to be found. Biden recalled long after that when Powell's deputy had appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.349 , Oct 5, 2010

OpEd: will be remembered for speech to UN on WMD in Iraq

The legacy of Colin Powell is mixed. He was a military man who distinguished himself in the Vietnam War and in Kuwait. Powell was a moderate within George W. Bush's administration and this made him some bitter political enemies among senior politicians. He may well be remembered for his speech to the UN highlighting the supposed presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was that speech, based perhaps on erroneous information and supported by equally inaccurate information from the UK, that set the stage for America's second Gulf War. During the lead-up to the hostilities, Powell was openly opposed to overthrowing Saddam Hussein by force, preferring to continue a containment policy. Powell was also very concerned that the international communit should support war with Iraq. More than that, he tried to demand that other nations would back America with armed support. The Bush administration was much more in favour of the more or less unilateral approach, which is what was eventually adopted.
Source: The 100 Greatest Speeches, by Kourdi & Maier, p.218 , Mar 3, 2010

2004: We don't have enough troops in Iraq

"Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers."
--Gen. Eric Shinseki, on how many troops would be needed in Iraq, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 25, 2003

"We can say with reasonable confidence that the notion of hundreds of thousands of American troops is way off the mark."
--Paul Wolfowitz, Feb. 27, 2003

"The idea that it would take several hundred thousand US forces I think is far off the mark."
-- Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 28, 2003

"We don't have enough troops. We don't control the terrain."
--Colin Powell, to George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Nov. 12, 2004

"In my weeks in Iraq, I did not meet a single military officer who felt, privately, that we had enough troops."
--Coalition Provisional Authority adviser Larry Diamond, in a memo to Condoleezza Rice, April 26, 2004

Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 42-43 , Oct 1, 2008

2001: Saddam has not developed WMD capability

Saddam Hussein has not deployed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.
-- Colin Powell, Feb.2, 2001
"You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspiration, and problems. It's going to suck the oxygen out of everything. This will become the first term."-- Powell, to Pres. Bush, Aug.14, 2002
"I'm not reading this. This is crazy."
-- Powell, on draft UN speech, subsequently pared down, Feb.1, 2003
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 16 , Oct 1, 2008

2005: UN speech on Iraqi WMDs is a blot on my record

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more."
--Secretary of State Colin Powell, to UN Security Council, Feb.5, 2003
"Ladies and Gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are facts."
--Colin Powell, same speech
"He presented not opinions, not conjecture, but facts."
--Donald Rumsfeld, on Powell's UN speech, Feb.8, 2003
"The people who now doubt whether or not Saddam really has WMD programs, chemical and bacteriological in particular, are really two types. Either they work for Saddam or they're doing human imitation of an ostrich. They really are, I think, no other possibilities."
--former CIA director James Woolsey, on Powell's UN speech
"It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."
--Colin Powell, looking back on his UN speech, Sep.8, 2005
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 38-39 , Oct 1, 2008

Omitted shaky Niger uranium claim from 2003 UN speech

As the push toward war continued, Pres. Bush and others in his administration continued to make the case for action against Iraq. Because of Secretary of State Colin Powell's enormous bipartisan popularity, the White House recognized that he would be the most logical and persuasive person to help seal the case at home and abroad. So, on Feb. 5, 2003, Powell made a special presentation before the UN Secretary Council concerning the Iraqi effort to develop and stockpile weapons of mass destruction. This presentation did not include the Africa claim. After carefully scrutinizing the intelligence, Powell had chosen not to use it--a decision that, in retrospect, was both wise and highly revealing.

Just as American was on the verge of war, the Niger claim was seriously undermined. The IAEA made a startling statement: there was "no evidence or plausible indication" that Iraq had revived a nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, the documents on which the Niger claim had been based were forgeries.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 5-6 , May 28, 2008

Only major adviser to Bush to question Iraq war

When Bush was making up his mind to pursue regime change in Iraq, it is clear that his national security team did little to slow him down. I believe that, if Bush had been given a crystal ball in which he would have foreseen the costs of war--more than 4,000 American troops killed--he would have never made the decision to invade.

Though no one has a crystal ball, it's not asking too much that a well-considered understanding of Iraq and the Middle East should have been brought into the decision-making process. The responsibility to provide this understanding belonged to the president's advisers, and they failed to fulfill it. Secretary of State Colin Powell was apparently the only adviser who even tried to raise doubts about the wisdom of war. The rest of the foreign policy team seemed to be preoccupied with the regime change or, in the case of Condi Rice, seemingly more interested in accommodating the president's instincts and ideas than in questioning them or educating him.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.144 , May 28, 2008

Overwhelming Force replaced by Rumsfeld’s “Less is More”

In Nov.’01, the Iraq war plan was the chessboard on which Rumsfeld would test, develop, expand and modify his ideas about military transformation. And the driving concept was “less is more”--a lighter, swifter, smaller force that could do the job better.

An important contrast to this process can be found in the war planning for the 1991 Gulf War. Powell, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, illustrates the difference. After Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1991, George H. W. Bush asked Powell how many troops it would take to provide an offensive option--the capacity to drive Saddam’s army out of Kuwait. The resulting concept was “Go in big, and end it quickly. We could not put the US through another Vietnam.” The plan to use overwhelming force to guarantee victory became known as the Powell Doctrine.

In 2001, the point of the Iraq war plan was: Get to Baghdad, and fast. It echoed Rumsfeld’s desire--“assume risk.” The Powell Doctrine of trying to guarantee success was out. Rapid, decisive warfare was in.

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p. 81-83&100 , Oct 1, 2006

Pre-Iraq warnings to Bush about difficult post-war governing

On Jan. 13 2002, President Bush summoned Secretary of State Colin Powell for a 12-minute Oval Office meeting to say he had decided on war with Iraq.

“You’re sure?” asked Powell. Bush said he was. “You understand the consequences,” Powell offered in a half question. For nearly six months, Powell had been hammering on the theme of the complexity of governing Iraq after the war. “You know that you’re going to be owning this place?”

Bush said he realized that. “Are you with me on this?” Powell, “Time to put your war uniform on.”

The president very reluctantly confirmed to me that he had asked Powell directly for his support but added testily a rather obvious point. “I didn’t need his permission.”

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p.106 , Oct 1, 2006

If we knew of no WMDs, war decision would've differed

Powell went to The Washington Post for an interview on February 2, 2004. He was asked what his position on the war would have been if he had known there were no stockpiles of WMD. "The absence of stockpiles changes the political calculus," Powell said. "It changes the answer you get." His remarks were the lead story in the next day, headlined: "Powell Says New Data May Have Affected War Decision."

Condi Rice called Powell. She and the president were "mad," she said. Powell had "given the Democrats a remarkable tool." His remarks were making headlines throughout the world. Bush's public position was that the jury was still out on WMD. So Powell had to go back out in public and retract his remarks, saying 5 times that the president's decision to go to war had been "right."

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p.281 , Oct 1, 2006

OpEd: conglomerate of inaccurate statements to UN on Iraq

With false and distorted claims after 9/11, our new political leaders misled the US Congress and the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein had somehow been responsible for the dastardly attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, and that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons & posed a direct threat to the security of America.

Although the deceptiveness of these statements was later revealed, most of our trusting citizens were supportive of the war. Exaggerated claims of catastrophe from nonexistent WMDs kept the fears alive. Colin Powell went to the UN to make a conglomeration of inaccurate statements to the world. The administration later claimed that its information was erroneous, but intelligence sources were rewarded, not chastised.

There is little wonder that, at least for a few months, fearful American citizens and members of Congress supported the unnecessary war.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.150-151 , Sep 26, 2006

We must stay the course in Iraq & provide more resources

Saddam is gone. There will be no more mass graves, no more programs pursuing WMD and no more invasions. Challenges remain. Insurgents are trying to prevent democracy. But they will not succeed. We put forward a proposal that redirects $3.4 billion to improve security, while devoting additional resources to improving the economic and political environment. Now is not the time to be faint of heart. Our task is important, and America will stay the course to see a peaceful and democratic Iraq.
Source: USA Today on Bush Cabinet , Sep 17, 2004

Rejects Kofi Annan’s assertion that Iraq war is illegal

Powell expressed disapproval of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s description of the war in Iraq as illegal. “We should all be gathering around the idea of helping the Iraqis, not getting into these kinds of side issues.” Powell said the Constitution gives the US the right to act in its own self-defense without U.N. approval, but argued that the Iraq war itself was justified by Saddam’s “material breach” of earlier U.N. resolutions. “What we did was totally consistent with international law.”
Source: David R. Sands, Washington Times on Bush Cabinet , Sep 16, 2004

9/12/01: Urged focus on Al Qaeda, not Iraq

Following the 9/11 attack, when antiterror czar Richard Clark returned to the White House, he was jolted: "I expected to go back to a round of meetings examining what the next attacks could be. Instead I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq. At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting Al Qaeda. Then I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq."

By afternoon, Rumsfeld was still going on about "getting Iraq." When Colin Powell urged that they focus on Al Qaeda, Rumsfeld pushed anew for the Iraq option. "Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which he said had better targets. At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious."

Source: Where the Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p. 47 , Aug 12, 2004

Powell says that intelligence on WMD in Iraq not “solid”

Powell conceded that evidence he presented that two trailers in Iraq were used for WMD may have been wrong. Powell said he had been given solid information about the trailers, but now, Powell said, “it appears not to be the case that it was that solid.’’ He said he hoped the intelligence commission ”will look into these matters to see whether the intelligence agency had a basis for the confidence that they placed in the intelligence at that time.’’
Source: Barry Schweid, AOL news on Bush Cabinet , Apr 25, 2004

Contradicted Cheney and sought more UN involvement

Powell was often confounded by Cheney. In his 1995 memoir “My American Journey,” Powell wrote of Cheney, “He and I had never, in nearly four years, spent a single purely social hour together.”

For the first 16 months of the administration, Powell had been “in the refrigerator,” as he called his frequent isolation. [Finally, in Aug. 2002, Powell presented his case without Cheney present] and Bush asked, “What else can I do?” Powell offered, “You can still make a pitch for a coalition or UN action to do what needs to be done.“

[In response, Cheney said in a speech], ”There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with UN resolutions.“ Powell was astonished. It was a preemptive attack on what the president had agreed to 10 days earlier. Powell was accused of contradicting Cheney and of disloyalty. How can I be disloyal, he wondered, when I’m giving the president’s stated position?

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post , Apr 20, 2004

Invading Iraq means “owning” it, for better or worse

[Bush told Powell], “The inspections are not getting us there.” He had made up his mind that the US should go to war.

“You understand the consequences,” Powell said in a half question. For nearly six months, he had been hammering on this theme-that the US would be taking down a regime, would have to govern Iraq, and the ripple effect in the Middle East and the world could not be predicted. “You know that you’re going to be owning this place?” Powell said. An invasion would mean assuming the hopes, aspirations and all the troubles of Iraq. Powell wasn’t sure whether Bush had fully understood the meaning and consequences of total ownership.

But I think I have to do this, the president said, making it clear this was not a discussion, but the president informing one of his Cabinet members of his decision. The fork in the road had been reached and Bush had chosen war. In all the discussions, meetings, chats and back-and-forth, the president had never once asked Powell, Would you do this?

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post , Apr 18, 2004

Inspectors are inspectors, not detectives

Resolution 1441 gave Iraq one last chance to come into compliance or to face serious consequences. No council member that day had any allusions about the intent of the resolution or what “serious consequences” meant if Iraq did not comply. We called on Iraq to cooperate with returning inspectors. This council placed the burden on Iraq to comply and disarm and not on the inspectors to find that which Iraq has gone out of its way to conceal for so long. Inspectors are inspectors; they are not detectives.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

The facts show Iraq has not disarmed

My purpose is to share with you what the US knows about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq’s involvement in terrorism. The material comes from a variety of sources. Iraq’s behavior demonstrates that Saddam Hussein has made no effort to disarm. The facts show that Saddam is concealing his efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Iraq moved weapons to hide them from inspectors

Human sources tell us that the Iraqis are moving, not just documents & hard drives, but weapons of mass destruction to keep them from being found. While we were debating Resolution 1441 last fall, we know that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was disbursing rocket launchers & warheads containing biological warfare agents to various locations in western Iraq. Most of the launchers & warheads have been hidden in large groves of palm trees & were to be moved every 1 to 4 weeks to escape detection.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Saddam has enough anthrax to kill thousands

Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax in an envelope shutdown the US Senate. This forced several hundred people to undergo emergency medical treatment & killed two postal. Iraq declared 8,500 liters of anthrax, but UNSCOM estimates that Saddam Hussein could have produced 25,000 liters. If concentrated into this dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of teaspoons.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

WMD inspectors eluded by producing weapons in mobile labs

Although Iraq’s mobile production program began in the mid-1990s, confirmation came later. The source was an engineer who supervised one of these facilities. He was present during biological agent production runs. He was also at the site when an accident occurred in 1998. 12 technicians died from exposure. He reported that when UNSCOM was inspecting, the biological weapons agent production always began on Thursdays at midnight because Iraq thought UNSCOM would not inspect on the Muslim Holy Day.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Photo shows Iraqi jet modified to spray anthrax

Saddam has investigated biological agents causing diseases such as gangrene, plague, typhus, tetanus, cholera, camelpox and hemorrhagic fever, and he also has the wherewithal to develop smallpox. The regime has also developed ways to disburse lethal biological agents. For example, Iraq had a program to modify aerial fuel tanks for Mirage jets. This video shows an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet. Note the spray coming from beneath the Mirage; that is 2,000 liters of simulated anthrax that a jet is spraying.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Iraq has at least 100 tons of chemical weapons

Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets. Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enable Saddam to cause mass casualties acro more than 100 square miles of territory. Of the 122 millimeter chemical warheads, that the U.N. inspectors found recently, this discovery could very well be the tip of the submerged iceberg.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Iraq has been trying to enrich uranium

Saddam’s efforts to reconstitute his nuclear program have focused on acquiring material to produce a nuclear explosion. To make the material, he needs to enrich uranium. He has made repeated attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed. We also have intelligence that Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines; both items can be used in a gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Intelligence shows links between Iraq and terrorists

Iraq harbors a terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi, a Palestinian born in Jordan, fought in the Afghan war more than a decade ago. Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a terrorist training camp. One of his specialties is poisons. When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish a training center in Iraq. Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization. In 2000 this agent offered Al Qaida safe haven in the region.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Documented ties between Iraq & Al Qaida

Al Qaida coordinates the movement of people, money & supplies into Iraq, & they’ve been operating in the capital for more than eight months. Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with Al Qaida. These denials are simply not credible. Last year an Al Qaida associate bragged that the situation in Iraq was, quote, “good,” that Baghdad could be transited quickly. A detained Al Qaida member tells us that Saddam was willing to assist Al Qaida after the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya & Tanzania
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Our future is frightening unless we act against Iraq

The nexus of Iraq & terror is old. Iraqi denials of supporting terrorism take the place alongside the other denials of weapons of mass destruction. It is all a web of lies. When we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction & provides support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. Unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Saddam killed 5,000 Kurds with mustard & nerve gas

Saddam’s use of mustard & nerve gas against the Kurds in 1988 was one of the 20th century’s most horrible atrocities; 5,000 died. His campaign against the Kurds from 1987 to ‘89 included mass summary executions, disappearances, arbitrary jailing, ethnic cleansing & the destruction of some 2,000 villages. Saddam ruthlessly eliminates anyone who dares to dissent. Iraq has more forced disappearance cases than any other country.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Post 9/11, we cannot allow Iraq to have nuclear weapons

Given Saddam’s history of aggression, his grandiose plans, and his terrorist associations, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond? The US will not run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11th world.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Iraq close to facing serious consequences for defiance

Three months ago this council recognized that Iraq continued to pose a threat to international peace, and that Iraq had been and remained in material breach of its disarmament obligations. Today Iraq still poses a threat and still remains in material breach. Indeed, by its failure to seize on its one last opportunity to disarm, Iraq has put itself in deeper material breach and closer to the day when it will face serious consequences for its defiance of this council.
Source: Speech to the United Nations Security Council (Bush Cabinet) , Feb 5, 2003

Predicted Iraq war would suck the oxygen from War on Terror

[Meeting with Bush in August 2002,] Powell said the president had to consider what a military operation against Iraq would do in the Arab world. The entire region could be destabilized -- friendly regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan could be put in jeopardy or overthrown. Anger and frustration at America abounded.

War would suck the oxygen out of just about everything else the US was doing, not only in the war on terrorism, but also in all other diplomatic, defense and intelligence relationships, Powell said. The economic implications could be staggering, potentially driving the supply and price of oil in directions that were as-yet unimagined.

Following victory, the day-after implications were giant. What of the image of an American general running an Arab country for some length of time? he asked. A General MacArthur in Baghdad? This would be a big event within Iraq, the region and the world. How long would it last? No one could know. How would success be defined?

Source: Bush At War, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post , Nov 17, 2002

Predicted Saddam’s mischief in 1994

Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait occurred about nine months after I projected, in my “Strategic Overview-1994,” that Korea and the Persian Gulf were the two world hot spots likeliest to involve US forces. The Iraqi army had made me uncomfortable ever since Iraq and Iran ended their eight-year war in 1988, while I was National Security Advisor. Once Saddam, with an army of over one million men strong, no longer had Iran to worry about, I feared he would look for mischief somewhere else.
Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 446-7 , Jan 1, 1995

Colin Powell on Kuwait

1991: continuing conflict into Baghdad would be un-American

In 1991, with Saddam's forces on the run, the Bush team faced a crucial decision, one that would have lasting consequences. The war's initial goal had been achieved: Saddam's forces had been driven from Kuwait. The question then was weather the United States should end the conflict or move to Baghdad to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.

"I remember very clearly Colin Powell saying that this thing was turning into a massacre," Robert Gates, then the deputy national security adviser later recalled. "And that to continue it beyond a certain point would be un-American, and he even used the word unchivalrous." Bush agreed, and drew the war to a quick close. After the war ended, President Bush urged Iraqis to "take matters into their own hands."

For this part, Saddam Hussein came to believe that the United States lacked the commitment to follow through on its rhetoric. He saw America as unwilling to take the risks necessary for an invasion of Iraq.

Source: Known and Unknown, by Donald Rumsfeld, p.413-414 , Feb 8, 2011

1991: Leave Saddam enough power to threaten Iran

Bush did keep the pressure on Saddam by encouraging the Shias in the south and the Kurds in the north to rise up against the Sunni dictator. But when they did, Bush left them high and dry. And dead. You see, Saddam was still useful to the US in order to keep Iran in check. As Colin Powell wrote in his autobiography, "Our practical intention was to leave Baghdad enough power to survive as a threat to an Iran that remained bitterly hostile to the US." So the Bush administration allowed the Iraqi regime to mow down hundreds of thousands of Shias and Kurds from helicopter gunships before establishing "no-fly zones" and imposing rigorous sanctions.
Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.223 , Oct 25, 2005

Bush & whole Cabinet agreed on multilateral approach on Iraq

Contrary to press reports, Bush was never opposed to obtaining UN approval for going into Iraq. “People like to write about that,” Powell said, “but when I first raised thee issue directly with the president in early August of 2002, I told the president that if we’re going to solve this problem, there are two ways to do it: getting the broadest international coalition and concurrence, or at least authorization for it; or just doing it unilaterally, and if we did it unilaterally, we would have difficulty getting willing partners in a coalition. And since it was UN resolutions that were being violated, I believed he had to go back to the UN.“ Bush was ”attracted to that argument, and I did,“ Powell said. ”And Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld agreed, with “varying degrees of skepticism with respect to whether the UN would play a useful role” Contrary to what the critics said, Bush supported “multilateralism and getting our friends and neighbors involved,” Powell said.
Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.180-81 , Aug 5, 2004

Favored containment over invasion in both Iraq wars

In early August, Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to President Bush’s father, had declared that an attack on Iraq could turn the Middle East into a “cauldron and thus destroy the war on terrorism.” Blunt talk, but Powell basically agreed. Virtually all the Iraq discussions had been about war plans -- how to attack, when, with what force levels, military strike scenario this and military strike scenario that. It was clear to him now that the context was being lost.

During the first Persian Gulf War, Powell had played the role of reluctant warrior, arguing to the first President Bush, perhaps too mildly, that containing Iraq might work, that war might not be necessary. But as the principal military adviser, he hadn’t pressed his arguments that forcefully because they were less military than political. Now as secretary of state, his account was politics. He decided he had to come down very hard, state his convictions and conclusions so there would be no doubt as to where he stood

Source: Bush At War, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post , Nov 17, 2002

Support Iraqi opposition while maintaining sanctions

A State Department official said yesterday that the administration is seeking to develop a policy that combines support for the Iraqi opposition with maintaining the economic sanctions that were imposed after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Colin Powell said he had not determined whether it would be realistic ultimately to remove Hussein by funding opposition groups. “Iraq is a problem for its own people,” Powell said. He said his focus would remain on Hussein’s refusal to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors. “I think we have to keep reminding everybody that this is an arms control problem,” Powell said.

The US had provided covert aid to opposition groups in the years after the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. But those efforts came to a tumultuous end when Hussein’s military rolled into the US-protected “safe area” of northern Iraq, routing the opposition. Opposition organizations can now draw from $4 million set aside by Congress for gathering information inside Iraq.

Source: Alan Sipress, Washington Post, p. A1, on Bush Cabinet , Feb 2, 2001

1990: Encourage Iraqi to leave Kuwait to avoid US deaths

In Aug. 1990, Bush ordered more than 500,000 American military men and women into the Middle East. Bush, with the full backing of the UN, was poised to launch a war to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

He hoped to demonstrate to the world and to his critics that he was determined to go the extra mile to achieve a peaceful resolution. He could not have a war without maximizing his effort to at least speak with the Iraqis. "So if he gets out without a war, that's okay?" Bush asked Powell.

"Yes, sir," Powell replied. That was the goal of both the US and the UN: Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. If there was no war, no US servicemen would be killed, Powell stated, speaking like a good military leader looking out for his troops. [But if Saddam withdrew] it would be politically and logistically impossible--and politically unsupportable in the US--to keep the troops there for an extended period. The president said plainly, "We have to have a war." His words hung in the air as heavily as any he had ever spoken.

Source: Shadow, by Bob Woodward, p.184-185 , Jun 15, 1999

Unapologetic about not taking Baghdad; result spread peace

I am relieved that I don’t have to say to many more parents, “I’m sorry your son or daughter died in the siege of Baghdad.” I stand by my role in the President’s decision to end the war when and how he did. It is an accountability I carry with pride and without apology.

Not only did Desert Storm [the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991] accomplish its political objective, it started to reverse the climate of chronic hostility in the Middle East. King Hussein of Jordan and Yasser Arafat, chairman of the PLO, were the only two major Arab leaders who showed any support for the Iraqi position during the Gulf War, and both were weakened by their stance. As a result, three years later, they were trying to reach accommodations with Israel and their other neighbors. The Madrid Middle East Peace Conference, following Desert Storm, started the process that resulted in the historic agreement between Arafat and Israel in 1993, and the peace treaty between King Hussein and Israel in 1994.

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 513 , Jan 1, 1995

Air strikes can’t guarantee changes; only ground troops can

In response to calls to “do something” to punish the Bosnian Serbs from the air for shelling Sarajevo [in1992]. I laid out the same military options [to newly-elected President Clinton] as I had presented to Pres. Bush. Our choices ranged from limited air strikes around Sarajevo to heavy bombing of the Serbs throughout the theater. I emphasized that none of these actions was guaranteed to change Serb behavior. Only troops on the ground could do that. Heavy bombing might persuade them to give in, but would not compel them to quit. And, faced with limited air strikes, the Serbs would have little difficulty hiding tanks and artillery in the woods and fog of Bosnia or keeping them close to civilian populations. Furthermore, no matter what we did, it would be easy for the Serbs to respond by seizing UN humanitarian personnel as hostages.

My constant, unwelcome message at all the meetings on Bosnia was simply that we should not commit military forces until we had a clear political objective.

Source: My American Journey, by Colin Powell, p. 561 , Jan 1, 1995

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