Why Our Analyses on Powell and Iraq Matter Today

CN on Saturday published three articles analyzing different aspects of a NYT story on Colin Powell & Iraq. It matters because we live in the world the invasion has left behind.

Some readers may be curious why Consortium News on Saturday devoted space to three lengthy articles analyzing a single New York Times piece about events that happened 17 years ago. 

It is simply because we are still living today with the serious consequences of those events, namely:

  • Terrorism and continued instability in the Middle East
  • Continued, even worsened, political manipulation and corruption of  intelligence.
  • Continued, and even worsened, manipulation and corruption of the news media.

Iraq is still an unstable country. Extremist groups such as the Islamic State arose because of Iraq’s instability. The invasion of Iraq is now universally seen in the U.S. as the nations’ worst foreign policy blunder perhaps in history. To prevent another such crime of aggression, this needs to be repeatedly stated.

As Ray McGovern pointed out in his piece, the politicization of intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion manifested itself again in the Russiagate affair, when DNI James Clapper refused to conduct an NIE on the allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election. 

An obvious piece of opposition research (both sides engage in it) was taken as the basis of an FBI investigation into a presidential campaign, which was then amplified ad infinitum by a corrupted news media, that learned nothing from its admitted errors and distortions in the Iraq story. 

Both in Iraq and in Russiagate, ambitious journalists were not skeptical about what anonymous intelligence and other official sources told them, either being used or actively participating in the deception.

What we have witnessed is the normalization of the politicization and corruption of both the intelligence and media professions. This is why we brought three writers with direct personal experience to help make the story of Colin Powell and Iraq relevant to today.

37 comments for “Why Our Analyses on Powell and Iraq Matter Today

  1. mary-lou
    July 23, 2020 at 08:20

    Powell might step in when Biden’s deemed unfit to continue his presidential bid. thanks for giving us dire warning.

  2. casfoto
    July 21, 2020 at 22:42

    As I read this article and all the comments that have come with such good mind and understnding, I see on the horizon the next destruction using the same tactics and lies ..Iran. Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and now gunning for Iran. Isreal has used the wests money and lives to accomplish their goal. Whats next, I think we know.
    Our country has been bled dry. My taxes go to keep this insanity on a path of destruction.I want to stop it and I will apeak out. It is up to the young to stop the horrors against the Palestinians in the Gaza strip and the constant abuse against the Palestians. Eventually things will change if enough pressure is put on them.

    • July 22, 2020 at 17:17

      I agree with you 100%!!! The wonderful, young Jews in “If Not Now” who protest with us against AIPAC are an inspiration. Evidence suggests that young people usually think like their parents (I, myself, don’t but my sibling mostly does), so, I fear we will have at least 30% of young people also who think the way their parents do. 1 in 4 Americans believe the earth is less than 6,000 years old! The same number are “Rapture” Ready…as is SoS Pompeo!

    • July 23, 2020 at 13:07

      Thank you

  3. Richard Lemieux
    July 21, 2020 at 19:23

    When I heard Powell at that Security Council meeting back then quoting intelligence reports and stating that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s I was convinced he was lying. I am not a journalist. I just watched the PBS News hour, CBS News and a few other news sources. Some journalists did a good job and others just made a show out of the misery of people in the Middle-East. Maybe; the good journalists are not the ones most people like to watch every night.

  4. Damian I. Cano
    July 20, 2020 at 13:07

    Powell can be trusted to do anything to serve his masters. Remember, it was he who first covered up My Lai. His protestations of “this is bulls**t” did not prevent him from serving it up in heaping doses to the public and to lawmakers too lazy to imagine that their information sources were lying–always lying. (See Pompeo). And of course, the public always goes along now that there is no draft. The standing army looks forward to conflicts and always advises war.

  5. Edward
    July 20, 2020 at 12:53

    Sometimes the U.S. press lets the mask slip that our government has a humanitarian agenda. In the lead up to the first Gulf War I listened to NPR. I was astonished when on two separate programs, U.S. officials spoke of a “nightmare scenario” where Iraq would withdraw its troops from Kuwait and deprive the U.S. of a Causus Beli. If I remember correctly, those two officials were Les Aspin and Colin Powell. These people felt safe publicly making such statements and there was no backlash from what I could tell. The statements put to rest the U.S. pretense that it wanted a peaceful resolution.

  6. dean 1000
    July 20, 2020 at 12:45

    The US needs more like the 3 pieces CN did Saturday as we do indeed still “live in the world the invasion left behind.”

    For all Saddam Hussein’s brutality and slaughter of Shia and Kurd, the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq has killed more people than Hussein did. The killing continues at a much lower level, but it continues.

    I can’t resist a what if – If the Republican Supreme Court had not selected George Bush jr as president, it is entirely possible that another president would have continued the 55 year successful containment policy Ray McGovern and the VIPS suggested that Bush continue.

    • Tedder
      July 20, 2020 at 14:52

      For better ‘what-ifs’, what if the Americans had not chosen to continue WW II against the Soviet Union in 1946. Then, the Cold War that inspired all the coups against ‘social’ governments would not have happened (no CIA, no fear of communism). America would not have supported the mujaheddin in Afghanistan to overthrow the Afghan government–no Soviet invasion, no Al Qaeda.

  7. Raymond Comeau
    July 20, 2020 at 11:56

    I am confused. Your article seems to imply that Powell did not know what was behind the reason to attack Iraq. What a joke, Powell is as guilty as sin. He is a disgrace to black people and the rest of us.

  8. C. Parker
    July 20, 2020 at 11:25

    We cannot overlook Joe Biden’s involvement selling the destruction of Iraq to the American people.

  9. Wael Ahmad
    July 20, 2020 at 10:04

    Most Journalistic institutions in the alternative media prefer not to look into the most effective and causal factor in the continuous wars
    and regime changes in the middle east, which happen to be shortly after the creation of Israel.

    The decisions that deal with the state of the middle east is not primarily American & European decisions, it’s Jewish Zionists decisions, planned and propagated by Jewish agenda, and carried on by the western powers, but that doesn’t absolve the western powers from the crimes, on the contrary, they’re partners by means of pressure and blackmail, political & ethical blackmails that force them to comply, we can see very clearly now that the ruling elites are just a collection of incompetent & corrupt bunch in every field of management and administration, and whatever party they come from, or philosophy they claim, there are no differences in policies, and the only common denominator between them is the unconditional support of Israel, and unabated protection of the Jewish minority even in face of horrendous financial & unethical crimes.

    CN failed to mention this element of the tragedy of the middle east, as if putting the total blame on Bush, Blair, or Powell is enough to shine the light on the hidden reality, but it’s not, and they better do, because to keep this taboo unexposed, nothing will change, and the same criminal wars will go on.

    • Susan
      July 20, 2020 at 18:45

      Well said, Wael Ahmad. Time and time again we fall into the trap of vilifying the people on this side of the curtain – the people who parrot the message (whether it be the politicians or the journalists). Do they have any choice? Look what happened to Dr. David Kelly (RIP to this brave man).

      The people who terrorize the politicians are the same people who terrorize the journalists. There WERE journalists who were “skeptical about what anonymous intelligence and other official sources told them”… They just weighed up life or death (figuratively or literally) and made the only choice.

    • Robert Sinuhe
      July 21, 2020 at 21:05

      Well said! I am not sure why the media avoids the source of the problem like you have indicated. We are being taxed to support a religious sect. Nobody seems to remember what taxation without representation was all about.

  10. July 19, 2020 at 21:44

    I understand.. Thank You !

  11. edward
    July 19, 2020 at 21:09

    We have met the enemy, and he is us.

  12. Curtis
    July 19, 2020 at 19:35

    Powell should have been skeptical from the beginning knowing full well how much Iraq was an obsession of Team Bush since before taking office. They signed the PNAC document and pushed Clinton to declare Iraq regime change to be a goal of US policy. 10 days into the administration was the meeting to discus what to do about a post-Saddam Iraq. Add to that Cheney’s secret energy policy meeting … which discussed Iraqi oil.

    • Curtis
      July 19, 2020 at 19:37

      … and this was before the obsession to find a Saddam/Iraq connection immediately following 9/11.

  13. Hugh R. Hays
    July 19, 2020 at 15:27

    Your efforts and reporting on Powell and Iraq are both credible and greatly appreciated for clarifying and understanding our government and it’s foreign policies by this American. Thank you.

  14. Randal Marlin
    July 19, 2020 at 13:35

    You need to teach propaganda techniques to your high schoolers? I highly recommend a textbook, “Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion.” Full disclosure: I wrote it.

  15. William Beyer
    July 19, 2020 at 13:31

    Thanks for the historical perspective. Consortium News has become a touchstone of sanity for me, and I truly appreciate it.

  16. July 19, 2020 at 12:41

    Thank you for publishing these articles. I doubt anyone will read the entire NYT article, and instead will come away with the message that Powell was the victim, not the perpetrator, the innocent being used to deliver a lie, so that his endorsement is seen as a benefit to Joe Biden. I don’t think I can ever read another NYT article without looking for the ulterior motive behind the story.

  17. Anonymot
    July 19, 2020 at 11:35

    America has become so filled with “junk”: food, media, and politics that it is probably too late to change. Certainly, we’ll have protesters who are not knee-jerk protesters and a certain percent of the population who can sort out the wheat from the chaff, but those in power have the guns and the money.

    We may get some lip service and some superficial satisfaction on matters that don’t cost the powers that be any pain. But the powers that be, the two parties and their handlers from the MIC, the intelligence community, and the 1% will not lose control. The tough people in America’s 21st century are those who ride bikes and those who vote Trump.

    Perhaps we should have some articles on how to think clearly and what to do in a fascist state rather than how to get out of the state we’re in.

    • Zhu
      July 19, 2020 at 20:43

      Yes, articles on how to do critical thinking would be very good. Most of us get no formal instruction in critical thinking, in grade school, high school or college. Texas, I belueve, forbids teaching critical thinking skills to high school students.

  18. Jerry
    July 19, 2020 at 10:52

    You omit another consequence of the falsehoods promulgated by our own government to attack, invade, and occupy Iraq. The death and destruction as a result. The website, iraqbodycount.org gives the figure of 288,000 Iraqi deaths from the war, about two-thirds of them civilian. The earlier att,ack on Iraq, according to the BBC, resulted in between 60,000 and 200,000 Iraqi military death and another 100,000 to 200,000 war-related civilian deaths. No wonder Gen. Franks said, “We don’t do body counts.” The World Bank estimates the war’s physical destruction in Iraq comes to over $53 trillion and further estimates that to restore Iraq the estimated cost will be over $100 trillion. Even if the money were available, that restoration would take generations. US costs and casualties pale by comparison.

  19. July 19, 2020 at 10:29

    We need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to impartially examine the facts about the US Russian relationship and what really happened to bring us to this sorry state of affairs starting with 1917 when Woodrow Wilson sent American troops to St. Petersburg to help the White Russians in the Russian civil war! Not to mention Truman’s refusal of Stalin’s request to turn the bomb over to the UN after the catastrophic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, through the broken promises Reagan gave to Gorbachev about not expanding NATO, the abrogations of treaties, starting with Bush walking out of the ABM Treaty and planting missiles in Romania, Obama refusing Putin’s offer to negotiate a cyberwar ban treaty, and US rejection of China and Russia repeated requests since 2008 to negotiate the terms of a model treaty they offered to ban weapons in space, not to mention the US abandonment of the INF and now the new START treaty and proposals to resume full scale nuclear tests!

  20. Gary Vogler
    July 19, 2020 at 10:03

    I think that Powell could have stopped the chicken hawk war mongers, but I agree with Tom Friedman’s interview of April 2003 where he blamed the Iraq war on the neocons “there are 25 neocons within a 15 mile radius of DC that he could name and if they had been placed on an island without communications in 2001 then the Iraq war would not have happened.” I saw, first hand, how the neocons controlled their agenda at the Pentagon in 2002-03. I was sitting in the waiting room outside of Feith’s office waiting to see his military assistant, an air force general, when Powell made his infamous UN speech. At a key part of Powell’s presentation, I heard a loud cheer come from behind the closed door to Feith’s office. Feith’s secretary looked at me and said – ” I wonder what they are so excited about.” It was obvious – the TV was on the wall above the secretary and tuned into Powell’s speech – she and I heard what Powell had just said about WMD. I do not know who all was behind that door – must have been at least a half dozen voices cheering, but I suspect that the same chicken hawk neocons in that office are the same chicken hawks trying to push us into a war with Iran today.

    • TimN
      July 20, 2020 at 08:17

      Sorry, but Powell bears enormous responsibility here, and his phony complaints about those mean old neocons is simply another way to cover his ass, something he’s done his entire career. I remember right where I was that day; I was painting a hallway that adjoined the family room in the house. I watched Powell’s performance (for that is what it was), my anger and dismay rising as he told what he had to know were lies, assertions, and evidence-free “facts.” I’m just a citizen, but I was well-aware of the drive for war, and I easily recognized what Powell was doing. Powell was more interested in his career than doing the right and moral thing.

  21. July 19, 2020 at 10:00

    This is exactly why we need Consortium News — to keep us aware of the truth behind all this stuff.

    Appreciate you very much

  22. Citzen 14
    July 19, 2020 at 08:12


    Articles by two intelligence officers (Scott and Ray) and a veteran journalist (Joe) highlighting the lies around US v Iraq 2003 and how those same mechanisms are in use today, Russiagate, Bountygate etc..

    I think Scott’s article showing that the Draper article is just another deflection is the more revealing.

  23. Nancy Hammond
    July 19, 2020 at 07:33

    You omitted mention of lives, assets, careers, families in Iraq, Libya, and Syria destroyed by US interventions

    • Consortiumnews.com
      July 19, 2020 at 08:14

      We didn’t. Please read the articles. This is only an introduction.

  24. Hopelb
    July 19, 2020 at 00:41

    So many citizens still believe in Russiagate, and it’s latest manifestations. We need to teach propaganda techniques to our high schoolers. People are too busy making ends meet to be informed, and even the npr/bbc spout this nonsense day and night.
    Thanks for trying mightily!

    • AnneR
      July 19, 2020 at 14:03

      Oh, do those two broadcasters. Never bloody ending, inserted into this or that piece as if were fact, proven completely. Now the main target (just for now, not that Russia is completely off the stage, mind) is China…the Uyghers, the Uyghers, re-ed camps (no mention of the US’s own Boot camps for juvenile offenders), now forced sterilization/contraception – no mention of the US doing exactly the same thing to Native American and African American and the mentally challenged women up through (at the very least) the early 1980s (might even be up through now – wouldn’t put it past). But ain’t that called “what-aboutism” – as IF that obliterates the truth, the hideous, unconscionable hypocrisy, the actual horrendous actions by a “supposedly” democratic nation (Ho Ho).

    • bobLich
      July 19, 2020 at 14:15

      Yes, I listened to a guest come on NPR. The said China is a threat. The interviewer asked ZERO questions.

    • J. Edward Tipre
      July 19, 2020 at 21:02

      Agree, but try and find the teaching staff who can create the necessary curriculum then teach it. If achieved, then find the administration that should approve it, or a parent body that will not be mystified as to its justification. That said, yes, to those few educators and parent bodies who understand and who will act accordingly. Godspeed!

    • Sinuhe
      July 21, 2020 at 21:39

      I agree with you Hopelb about teaching our children. I teach high school as a substitute, visit many classrooms. I think if a teacher really leveled with his students he would be fired. What is taught is what happened not the back story or the results of an action taken. Much propaganda is being pushed. I sent two letters of protest; they were ignored. Powell deserves to be blamed but the blame is not all his. To give you a clue–google NEOCOMS–who are they? Then study Zionist plans that were promulgated in the last of the 19th century.

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