Powell’s Presentation Sparks Debate

Three months after Iraq’s pledge that it would disarm, Colin Powell presented his evidence in a world-wide televised speech. Powell’s presentation to the United Nations ended with mixed reviews. As his speech was in progress, many could not believe Powell’s claims of Iraq’s “threat to peace” while Iraq has been devastated by 12 long years of sanctions and is currently surrounded by at least 100,000 heavily armed troops in preparation for war.

The Pentagon has recently disclosed a plan coined “Shock and Awe” which promises over 3,000 bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours of an attack on Iraq. Roughly 300 to 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles will be launched in the first days of aggression, which tops the number of missiles deployed in all of the Gulf War’s 40 days of action.

According to a New York Times article dated February 2, 2003, a Pentagon official was quoted saying “There will not be a safe place in Baghdad. The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before”.

Powell said, “I cannot tell you everything that we know. But what I can share with you, when combined with what all of us have learned over the years, is deeply troubling.” in attempt to conclude that Baghdad is hiding an arsenal of WMD.

Although the U.S. and U.K. were in open agreement of the speech, his words failed to encourage the remaining Security Council members into acceptance. Those representing China, France and Russia made it clear that inspections need more time to be effective. The Wall Street Journal, a very unlikely publication to cover such controversial specifics, published an article dated January 16th, 2003 stating that Powell’s presentation avoided mentioning oil as a basis for war, but that the “whole world knows that Bush and his corporate clients are already drawing up plans for the seizure of Iraq’s oil reserves”. The presentation’s focus was solely on disarmament, when all the while the administration is meeting with oil industry executives to divide up Iraq’s oil fields behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, President Bush is slipping down the proverbial slide in the polls While Bush still draws high marks for his handling of terrorism issues, his overall job approval rating dropped to 56%. That is down by 7% since December of 2002. The country is almost as polarized on Bush’s performance overall – fully 95% of Republicans say they approve of Bush’s performance as president, compared with 51% of independents and only 28% of Democrats.

We now wait word on nation poll results reflecting America’s view on Powell’s speech. The public is beginning to wonder if attacking another country on the basis of hypothetical means is reasonable. The end result could mean tens of thousands of lives lost, a nosedive further into a sea of red (debt), a loss of jobs – all of which will affect both sides.

Anai Rhoads contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN).