Jon Schwarz writes: In his new book, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership, Colin Powell writes this about his 2003 presentation at the United Nations about Iraq’s supposed WMD: “I get mad when bl*ggers accuse me of lying – of knowing the information was false. I didn’t.”
Well, I’m a blugger, and I accuse Colin Powell of lying. The evidence is overwhelming that he knew much of what he said in front of the Security Council was false.
This may not seem plausible to people who know Powell only via the media image he’s carefully constructed over decades – that of being Washington’s last honorable man. As journalist Margaret Carlson said in 2003, “Whatever Colin does, I’ll go with.”
But in fact Powell’s image has about as much to do with reality as what he told the UN. Though his entire career Powell has eagerly bent the truth to please his superiors. He started his climb up the Army ladder by covering up the massacre of civilians by U.S. troops in Vietnam, even serving as a character witness for a general who apparently shot Vietnamese from helicopters for fun. During the 1980s, when Powell was assistant to then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, he also helped cover up the Iran-contra scandal, and almost certainly deceived congressional investigators. (If there were a Museum of Washington’s Funniest Lies, it would have its own wing for Powell’s statement that, “To my recollection, I don’t have a recollection.”)
So everyone’s default assumption should have been that Powell would lie to Americans and the world at the UN. And – as anyone can see just by looking at what’s in the public record – he did. Below is a look line by line through Powell’s presentation to demonstrate the chasm between what he knew and what he said. [Continue reading…]