Did former Secretary of State Colin Powell really "blast" President Bush about the war?
"Today" show co-host Meredith Vieira says he did. Vieira, who once attended an anti-war rally, described Powell's interview with "Meet The Press's" Tim Russert this way: "[Powell's] former boss cannot be happy about what he is saying."
But Powell did no such thing. In fact, he backed the president on the war in virtually every conceivable way. Powell believes we sent an insufficient number of troops, but considers it too soon to predict the outcome of the war. Powell said the president acted in good faith. No, said Powell, he didn't feel "used." And no, when some of the United Nations presentation information turned out wrong -- specifically WMD-related aluminum tubes and mobile labs -- he never thought about resigning. True, Saddam possessed no stockpiles of WMD, but our intelligence agencies reasonably assumed otherwise. Furthermore, the dictator fully intended to reconstitute his chemical and biological weapons program. And anyone who thinks otherwise, said Powell, suffers from a "naive belief."
Did the president lie or mislead us?
Powell: "We went to war on the basis that we have a terrible regime . . . it's been terrible forever. What makes it so terrible now -- in the aftermath of 9/11 -- is that they had demonstrated that they will use these weapons. They've used them against their own people, they've used them against the enemy. They had them at the time of the first Gulf War . . . . And the intelligence community said and had every reason to believe that they not only had the capability of having them again, but they have stockpiles. And that was the precipitating cause. . . . I'm glad Saddam Hussein is gone. But the case that we took to the world and the case that we took to the American people rested not just in his human rights abuses or his cheating on the Oil-for-Food program, it rested on the real and present danger of weapons of mass destruction that he could use against his neighbors, or terrorists could use against us."
Did you have doubt that Saddam possessed stockpiles of WMD?