Powell Comes Clean on WMDs

Robert Scheer recounts a recent conversation with Colin Powell, during which Powell admitted that neither he, nor top government officials, ever perceived Iraq as a nuclear threat. When asked why the President disregarded the State Department’s conclusion to this effect, Powell responded that “the CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote.”

According to Scheer, Powell affirmed that the President’s State of the Union reference to Iraq’s quest for uranium from Niger “was a big mistake.” Adding, “it should never have been in the speech. I didn’t need Wilson to tell me that there wasn’t a Niger connection. He didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. I never believed it.” Powell continued that it wasn’t the President that wanted to premise the war on nuclear threat, but “all Cheney.”

As Scheer points out, it’s convenient for Powell to place the burden to Cheney and remain a Bush loyalist. “But it begs the question,” he writes, “of how the president came to be a captive of his vice president’s fantasies.”