[pjw] NEWS: Many Iraqis still blame Colin Powell for role in Iraq war | (Times of Israel 10/18)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Tue Oct 19 13:23:05 EDT 2021
Iraq Affinity Group supporters
It's been said not to speak ill of the dead, so I will refrain from
commenting directly on the death of Colin Powell. Instead, I will let the
voices of Iraqis carry the day, in an article by the Times of Israel,
below. I'll just add that there's only scant mention of the 1991 Gulf War,
which destroyed Iraq's infrastructure (including its ability to have
clean water) and ended with a ground invasion that included bulldozers
pushing live soldiers under the ground. See, I said nothing about Gen.
Powell's responsibility for that even though he was chair of the joint
chiefs of staff at the time.
By the way I also found articles on NBC, Media Matters and in the Guardian
with similar themes.
Iraqis remember Powell as both liberator and 'engineer' of endless war
Following Colin Powell's death, mainstream media outlets downplay his role
-- and their own -- in Iraq War
"The court of God will be waiting for him": Iraqis react to Colin
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
`He lied': Many Iraqis still blame Colin Powell for role in Iraq war
Former US secretary of state remembered for speech to UN justifying 2003
invasion: `A whole country was destroyed, and we continue to pay the price'
By Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Zeina Karam 18 October 2021, 11:50 pm
BAGHDAD (AP) -- For many Iraqis, the name Colin Powell conjures up one
image: the man who, as US secretary of state, went before the UN
Security Council in 2003 to make the case for war against their
Word of his death Monday at age 84 dredged up feelings of anger in Iraq
toward the former general and diplomat, one of several Bush
administration officials whom they hold responsible for a disastrous
US-led invasion that led to decades of death, chaos, and violence in
His UN testimony was a key part of events that they say had a heavy
cost for Iraqis and others in the Middle East.
"He lied, lied, and lied," said Maryam, a 51-year-old Iraqi writer and
mother of two in northern Iraq who spoke on condition her last name not
be used because one of her children is studying in the United States.
"He lied, and we are the ones who got stuck with never-ending wars,"
As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell oversaw the Persian
Gulf war to oust the Iraqi army in 1991, after Iraqi leader Saddam
Hussein invaded Kuwait.
But Iraqis remember Powell primarily for his UN presentation justifying
the invasion of their country more than a decade later, casting Saddam
as a major global threat who possessed weapons of mass destruction,
even displaying a vial of what he said could have been a biological
weapon. Powell had called Iraq's claims that it had no such weapons "a
web of lies." No WMD were ever found, however, and the speech was later
derided as a low point in his career.
"I am saddened by the death of Colin Powell without being tried for his
crimes in Iraq.... But I am sure that the court of God will be waiting
for him," tweeted Muntadher al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist who vented
his outrage at the US by throwing his shoes at then-president George W.
Bush during a 2008 news conference in Baghdad.
In 2011, Powell told Al Jazeera that he regretted providing misleading
intelligence that led the US invasion, calling it a " blot on my
record." He said a lot of sources cited by the intelligence community
But in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Powell maintained
that on balance, the US "had a lot of successes" because "Iraq's
terrible dictator is gone."
Saddam was captured by US forces while hiding in northern Iraq in
December 2003 and later executed by the Iraqi government.
Cpl. Edward Chin of the US 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, covers
the face of a statue of Saddam Hussein with an American flag before
toppling the statue in downtown Baghdad, Iraq, April 9, 2003. (Jerome
But the insurgency that emerged from the US occupation grew into deadly
sectarian violence that killed countless Iraqi civilians, and the war
dragged on far longer than had been predicted by the Bush
administration, eventually helping give rise to the Islamic State
group. President Barack Obama pulled US troops out of Iraq in 2011, but
sent advisers back three years later, after the Islamic State group
swept in from Syria and captured large swaths of both countries.
Powell's UN testimony "resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of
Iraqis. This blood is on his hands," said Muayad al-Jashami, a 37-year
old Iraqi who works with nongovernmental organizations.
While he did not suffer direct losses, al-Jashami said he continues to
struggle with stress and panic attacks as a result of growing up with
war, displacement, and years of terrorist bombings in the country.
Aqeel al-Rubai, 42, who owns a clothes and cosmetics shop in Baghdad,
said he does not care if Powell regretted the faulty information he
gave on WMD.
Al-Rubai, who lost his cousin in the war, also blames the US for the
death of his father, who had a close call during the sectarian
blood-letting that followed the US invasion, and later had a fatal
"What does that remorse do for us? A whole country was destroyed, and
we continue to pay the price," he said. "But I say, may God have mercy
Elsewhere, Powell was remembered as "a towering figure in American
military and political leadership over many years, someone of immense
capability and integrity," by former British prime minister Tony Blair,
who backed the US campaign and invasion.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted that Powell was a
"straight-talking foreign policy official" and a "trans-Atlantic
The Israeli embassy in Washington praised Powell for his "commitment to
Israel and his deep personal connection to the Jewish community."
Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, said Powell was "a
wonderful, moral man who was misled terribly in the context of the Iraq
war before the Security Council." Robinson heads The Elders, a group of
retired world leaders.
But Maryam, the writer from northern Iraq, refuses to accept the idea
that Powell may have been misled on Iraq.
"I don't believe that," she added. "And anyway, when lives are at
stake, you do not have that luxury."
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