News Release

Colin Powell in the Spotlight: The Record Behind the Image


A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll found that — “when it comes to U.S. policy toward Iraq” — Americans trust Secretary of State Colin Powell more than President Bush by a margin of 63-24 percent.

With Powell appearing before the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, the following analysts are available for interviews, offering perspectives on Powell’s record that run counter to conventional wisdom:

Solomon is co-author of the new book Target Iraq, which includes an extensive assessment of Powell’s role in relation to Iraq during late 2002. The book also critiques milestones of Powell’s career in Washington, including his participation in major events such as the Iran-Contra scandal, the invasion of Panama, the Gulf War and the public-relations battle during the Florida recount after the 2000 presidential election. Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, said today: “Contrary to popular belief, Powell has been a powerful asset for Washington policymakers committed to launching an all-out war on Iraq. Today, Powell is a more effective war advocate than people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. This is consistent with a pattern that has held steady with Powell for decades — cultivate a ‘moderate’ image while developing strategies in collaboration with extreme militarists in high places.” An excerpt from Target Iraq dealing with Powell is posted at:

Producer for the radio program “Afrikaleidoscope,” Brath went to high school with Colin Powell. He said today: “Powell’s image of a reluctant warrior masks his take-no-prisoners attitude, which he displayed in the slaughter of retreating Iraqis in the Gulf War. The image he tries to foster among people of color is a more humane figure, but he offers no contradiction to Bush; rather, he helps the administration find methods to better achieve their ends.”
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Author of the forthcoming book The U.S. War on Iraq, Mahajan said today: “The arrogant imperial rhetoric from ‘hawks’ like Rumsfeld prepares the stage for the diplomatic arm-twisting of Powell; we saw it before the passage of the U.N. resolution in November and we’re seeing it again. The dismissal of the need to provide evidence also lowers expectations, making it possible for Powell to offer a cobbled-together pastiche of innuendo, inconclusive claims, and possibly minor violations as a justification for a major war. Powell’s ‘sudden’ shift to a hawkish stance is just as choreographed as the rest of the administration’s performance over the past eight months.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167