Thursday 6 February 2003

Powell's UN speech dissected

NOT IN MY NAME US media had suggested that Secretary of State Colin Powell was playing down what he would present to the UN Security Council about Iraq's alleged deceptions, weapons of mass destruction, and support for terrorism, so that when he made his revelations, they would have all the greater impact. Having heard Powell's presentation, it is now clear he was playing things down because his hand was in fact so weak.

Powell's multi-media presentation was a rag-bag of old allegations, which the United States has been making for years, some of them based on information Iraq has itself provided to UN inspectors. Other claims were based on audio recordings and satellite images, and still more were based on unverifiable claims from unidentified human witnesses and "defectors." Powell all but admitted the weakness of his case by continually saying "these are facts, not assertions," at moments when he was providing the most sensational yet least supported claims. He also resorted to the comic book tactic of calling Saddam Hussein an "evil genius" for having succeeded in hiding what the US says is a vast arsenal, not only from UN inspectors, but from the world's only super power. Let's look more closely at some of the "new" elements in the American case for an immediate attack on Iraq:

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US claim dismissed by Blix
Don't let the facts get in the way