Conor Friedersdorf
The Atlantic
September 1, 2011

Prior to the Iraq war, Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a 2003 speech at the U.N. Security Council that has haunted his reputation ever since. He argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction using intelligence that was later discredited. “I’m the one who presented it to the world, and it will always be a part of my record,” he later lamented. “It was painful.”

Why did he do it?

In the course of trying to explain, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell’s chief-of-staff, had this exchange in a televised interview:

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