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Powell Defends U.N. Speech Linking Iraq to WMDs

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2004 – Secretary of State Colin Powell today defended his Feb. 5 assertions before the United Nations Security Council that Saddam Hussein's Iraq possessed and was hiding weapons of mass destruction in defiance of numerous council resolutions.

"The fact of the matter is Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction and programs of weapons of mass destruction, and used weapons of mass destruction against Iran and against their own people," America's senior diplomat told reporters at a press conference here.

In his U.N. speech given just weeks before the start of the U.S.-led military campaign that ousted the former Iraqi dictator, Powell cited Saddam's repeated failure to jettison his WMDs in compliance with Resolution 1441, passed by the U.N. Security Council on Nov. 8, 2002.

Although U.S. and coalition efforts to locate WMDs in post-Saddam Iraq have so far turned up empty, Powell noted that the David Kay-led WMD survey group in Iraq has yet to complete its work.

Powell emphasized he was "confident of what I presented" before the United Nations last year regarding Iraq's WMDs. Information contained in his presentation, he pointed out, included data from the nation's intelligence community which has also been briefed before members of Congress.

"This game is still unfolding," Powell said regarding the ongoing mystery of what Saddam did with his WMDs.

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