Decade After Iraq WMD Speech at UN, Ex-Powell Aide Lawrence Wilkerson Debates Author Norman Solomon
Ten years ago this week, a defining moment occurred in the Bush administration's push to invade Iraq. On Feb. 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State General Colin Powell addressed the United Nations Security Council. His message was clear: Iraq possessed extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was systematically trying to deceive U.N. inspectors by hiding prohibited weapons.
A decade later, we host a debate between Powell's former aide, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson-who prepared the U.N. speech, only to later renounce it-and media critic Norman Solomon, author of "War Made Easy." "I don't believe the hype about that presentation having been the ultimate presentation ... that led us to war with Iraq," Wilkerson says of Powell's speech. "George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others had decided to go to war with Iraq long before Colin Powell gave that presentation. ...
It added to the momentum of the war. ... Frankly, we were all wrong. Was the intelligence politicized in addition to being wrong at its roots? Absolutely." In response, Solomon says, "We were not all wrong. As a matter of fact, many experts and activists and researchers, from the get-go, in 2002, were saying that the administration case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was full of holes. ... So, now to say, 'Well, it wasn't just us at the administration; other people believed it,' people believed it because they were propagandized by the administration, with massive assistance from the mass media." ...
... NORMAN SOLOMON:
After Powell spoke at the U.N., Susan Rice, the current U.N. ambassador from the United States, immediately praised it as a statement from Powell that proved weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We had bogus hearings from now-Vice President Joe Biden, who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, excluding testimony from those who had contrary information that would challenge the push to war. We've had John Kerry, now Secretary of State, who voted for and propagandized on national television for the invasion of Iraq.So let's look at where we are. Tomorrow, a hearing for John Brennan----who is being pushed as a CIA director, someone engaging in aggressive war, the use of drones and so forth. And let me say that my colleagues at RootsAction.org are asking you to sign up at RootsAction.org to challenge that nomination.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson?
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON:
Now, you're making my point. I find it very difficult to, in the whole, say that all of those entities that you just described to include the American people were led down the primrose path by the propaganda flowing out of the White House and the Congress and elsewhere. That presents a picture of a pretty purblind, apathetic, ignorant public, representatives in the government and elsewhere. I can't support that kind of broad-brush painting of the situation.
There was a million people in the streets protesting. ...
... COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON:
Let me--let me describe that bubble to you, for what I perceive to be the bubble around President Obama right now and the man he has nominated to be CIA director, John Brennan. What's happening with drone strikes around the world right now is, in my opinion, as bad a development as many of the things we now condemn so readily, with 20/20 hindsight, in the George W. Bush administration. We are creating more enemies than we're killing. We are doing things that violate international law. We are even killing American citizens without due process and have an attorney general who has said that due process does not necessarily include the legal process. Those are really scary words.
These things are happening because of that bubble that you just described. You can't get through that bubble. You can't get through the Brennans. You can't get through the Clappers. You can't get through the Hillary Clintons. You can't get through the Bob Gates and the Leon Panettas and penetrate that bubble and say, "Do you understand what you're doing, both to American civil liberties and to the rest of the world's appreciation of America, with these increased drone strikes that seem to have an endless vista for future?" This is incredible. And yet, I know how these things happen. I know how these bubbles create themselves around the president and cease and stop any kind of information getting through that would alleviate or change the situation, make the discussion more fundamental about what we're doing in the world. ...