NY Times: 15 Years Late on Iraq

On Thursday July 16, The NY Times posted “Colin Powell Still Wants Answers”, a long article by Robert Draper to appear in this Sunday’s NYT Magazine. The article is based on Draper’s upcoming book, “To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq”.  ( See: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/16/magazine/colin-powell-iraq-war.html  )

Google Books calls it “the definitive, revelatory reckoning with arguably the most consequential decision in the history of American foreign policy”.

Draper’s article focuses on Powell and his UN speech of February 5, 2003.  A lot of the detail will be new to most readers, not very much new to Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which had been established a month before. VIPS watched the speech, dissected it, and sent their verdict to President George W. Bush before close of business that same afternoon ( See: https://consortiumnews.com/2003/02/05/powells-un-speech-and-the-case-for-war/. ). We gave Powell a charitable grade of “C” for providing not much in the way of context and perspective.  We should have flunked him outright.

Here’s our final paragraph:

No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed his was]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion beyond violations of Resolution 1441, and beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.

As war clouds gathered, VIPS chose to assume that President Bush was not fully informed about how Cheney and Rumsfeld had shaped the intelligence and about the “catastrophe” we saw coming.  So VIPS issued two more Memoranda before the ‘Shock and Awe’ attack on Iraq.

Cooking Intelligence for War in Iraq March 12, 2003

Iraq Intel: Forgery, Hyperbole, Half-Truth March 18, 2003

As for a “definitive revelatory reckoning”, Ray published one 15 years ago in a chapter for “Neo-CONNED Again!”, a collection of essays on Iraq. His chapter was titled: Sham Dunk: Cooking Intelligence for the President.  A link to the full text of the chapter is posted below — for those who may wish to compare what Draper says in his book, and the “adaptation” regarding Powell that The NY Times has just posted.

By Ray McGovern, (in “Neo-CONNED Again!”, 2005