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Behind Colin Powell's Legend

The Original Five-Part Series

Behind Colin Powell's Legend: Part One
Retired Gen. Colin Powell has given some legitimacy to George W. Bush's dubious election. But what's the real story behind the Powell legend, from My Lai to Iran-contra to the Persian Gulf War? By Robert Parry & Norman Solomon. December 17, 2000.

Behind Colin Powell's Legend: Part Two
Colin Powell emerged from the Iran-contra scandal with his reputation intact, but a review of the secret evidence shows that the scandal might never have happened but for Powell's circumventing Pentagon rules -- and flouting the law. December 19, 2000

Behind Colin Powell's Legend: Part Three
In late 1986, the desperate call went out to Gen. Colin Powell at his command in West Germany. He was needed back in Washington to save Ronald Reagan. December 22, 2000

Behind Colin Powell's Legend: Part Four
Colin Powell achieved his icon status through his command of U.S. forces in the Panama invasion and the Persian Gulf War. But his acclaim came at a price. December 26, 2000

Behind Colin Powell's Legend: Part Five
Gen. Powell's reputation for integrity dodged a bullet when President George H.W. Bush halted the Iran-contra investigation in late 1992. This last segment of the series shows how Powell went on to near-universal acclaim with the Washington press corps. December 27, 2000

More Recent Updates

Colin Powell's Disgraceful Lies
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell remains a respected figure despite his blatant Iraq War lies, observes David Swanson. February 18, 2011

Colin Powell's Tolerance of Murder
Ex-Gen. Colin Powell, who excused the murder of Vietnamese, might have thoughts on a new Afghan case, says Robert Parry. September 21, 2010

Colin Powell and Lessons of My Lai
William Calley voices remorse about the My Lai massacre, but Colin Powell has never been called to account, says Robert Parry. September 4, 2009

Colin Powell: No Good Samaritan
Retired Gen. Colin Powell praises "Good Samaritans" who care for America's wounded soldiers, even as he ducks responsibility for causing the unnecessary suffering, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. May 28, 2009

Colin Powell Skates Free on Torture
Though on the panel that oversaw torture, Colin Powell claims he was out of the loop on much of the policy, writes Robert Parry. May 25, 2009

The Truth about Colin Powell
Few modern Americans have enjoyed better press clippings than Colin Powell, which made him the perfect choice to sell the Iraq War. But there was a troubling side of Powell's history that Americans should have known, as this excerpt from Neck Deep reveals. November 28, 2007

Death of an American Hero
At one of America's darkest moments -- the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese civilians in 1968 -- an American helicopter pilot named Hugh Thompson risked his life and his reputation to do the right thing, placing himself and his door-gunner between rampaging U.S. soldiers and fleeing Vietnamese civilians. Thompson's death last week at the age of 62 stirs timely thoughts about the meaning of true heroism and the danger of false hero-worship. January 10, 2006

Powell's Widening Credibility Gap
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's latest attempt to shift the blame for his false Iraq testimony onto mid-level intelligence analysts has prompted more questions about Powell's credibility. The evidence indicates that the savvy Powell knew the shortcomings of his 2003 speech to the United Nations before he delivered it. September 17, 2005

Colin Powell Being Colin Powell
In his first in-depth interview since resigning as secretary of state, Colin Powell blames lower-level CIA analysts for his false testimony to the United Nations about Iraqi WMD. Powell also confides that he's in pain over the blot that the UN speech has left on his reputation. To critics, the interview is just the latest example of Powell's lifetime of political opportunism. September 13, 2005

Colin Powell: Failed Opportunist
The U.S. news media is having trouble understanding how longtime hero, Secretary of State Colin Powell, let himself be used and now dumped by George W. Bush and his neoconservative administration. But the answer lies in a clear-eyed examination of Powell's career history: he's always been an opportunist, only this time he outsmarted himself. A Special Report. November 26, 2004

Trust Colin Powell?
The U.S. news media couldn't heap enough praise on Colin Powell's Iraq war presentation to the United Nations. But there are two historical precedents that should give pause about Powell's trustworthiness. A retrospective. February 6, 2003