How Colin Powell convinced Joe Biden to back the Iraq War

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Colin Powell’s career was one of the most distinguished careers of any military officer. But the former secretary of state, who died on Monday, will probably be best remembered for testifying before the United Nations Security Council that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, which has forced many Americans and elected officials to invade the nation. assured about.

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One of those elected officials was Joe Biden. At the time, in February of 2003, Mr. Biden was the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Prior to October, Mr Biden, along with 76 other senators, had voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.

At the time, Mr. Powell, the then Secretary of State, had the most credibility of any official in the Bush administration. A retired four-star U.S. Army general who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, he was also the first black Secretary of State, and was often considered a potential Republican candidate for president.


Mr. Powell warning In August 2002, President George W. Bush testified before the United Nations Security Council about invading Iraq but at the behest of the president. In one of the more memorable moments, Mr. Powell held a vial, warning about anthrax and its production by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“And Saddam Hussein hasn’t even confirmed a spoon full of this deadly material,” he said.

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The speech was incredibly effective in influencing public opinion. a survey from Washington Post and ABC News later Has shown That 61 percent of people caught his address or news report about it and 50 percent of those surveyed at the time thought he had made a “credible case” for going to war in Iraq. After Mr Powell’s testimony, Mr Biden praised him.

“Secretary Powell made a powerful and irrefutable case before the United Nations Security Council today. The evidence he presented confirms what many of us already know – that Saddam made that demand of the world. is tearing down what he disarms,” Biden said at the time, according to a statement posted to Delaware Grapevine.

“Now that the Secretary of State has made his powerful statement, the President must continue to engage in personal diplomacy to pass a second resolution to key members of the Security Council, authorizing forces to disarm Iraq if necessary.” setting a deadline,” Mr Biden said. . “While a second resolution is not needed, and while we can win the war on our own, we are much better off if we have the support of the United Nations and the broader coalition.”

Later, it was revealed that much of the intelligence from Mr. Powell’s testimony was flawed.

Mr Powell and Mr Biden will both regret their support for the Iraq war, with Mr Powell calling it a “blot” on his record.

Credit: / Secretary of State

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