A day that will live in infamy

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

by digby

This is a big week-end. Obviously, it's the Super Bowl. And Ronnie Reagan's birthday has the entire political class in an orgasmic swoon. But one anniversary was strangely overlooked.

Jonathan at A Tiny Revolution remembered:
Colin Powell made his Iraq presentation at the UN five years ago, on February 5, 2003.

As much criticism as Powell has received for this—he calls it "painful" and something that will "always be a part of my record"—it hasn't been close to what's justified. Powell was far more than just horribly mistaken: the evidence is conclusive that he fabricated evidence and ignored repeated warnings that what he was saying was false.

Unfortunately, Congress has never investigated Powell's use of the intelligence he was given. Even so, what's already in the public record is extremely damning. So while the corporate media has never taken a close look at this record, we can go through Powell's presentation line by line to demonstrate the chasm between what he knew, and what he told the world. As you'll see, there's quite a lot to say about it.

Powell's speech can be found on the State Department website here. All other sources are linked below.


On that February 5 in front of the UN Security Council, was Colin Powell certain what he was saying was accurate? He certainly was:

POWELL: My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

Later, regarding whether Iraq had reconstituted a nuclear weapons program, he said:

POWELL: [T]here is no doubt in my mind...

That's in public. What about in private? According to Larry Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, here's what Powell was thinking at the time:

WILKERSON: [Powell] had walked into my office musing and he said words to the effect of, I wonder how we'll all feel if we put half a million troops in Iraq and march from one end of the country to the other and find nothing.
Read on for the list of lies he told that day.

I don't think it can be overstated just how significant this UN speech was. I happened to watch the speech with a group of people I worked with and the reaction was electric. People who had been skeptical were converted instantly. Every bit of the man's reputation and stature was put in service of these lies and he was very, very convincing. I found myself alone arguing that the evidence was thin and that just because he said it didn't make it true. The damage was done.

The fact that he is still considered a serious person, worthy of great respect as an elder statesman is yet another example of the American elite class being completely unaccountable legally, professionally and socially. There is, apparently, nothing they can do that will lose them their exalted place in our culture.