Tucker Carlson rewrites Colin Powell's role — and his own — in the campaign to invade Iraq

The death of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has ushered in a new wave of revisionist coverage of the role he played in orchestrating the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, with outlets portraying it as simply a regrettable moment in an otherwise exemplary life or characterizing Powell as a passive character. 

On Monday’s broadcast of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, Tucker Carlson went so far as to present Powell as the one who “knew better” than the “supposedly brilliant, Harvard-educated neocons” of the Bush administration who were attempting to sell the war to the public. 

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Citation From the October 18, 2021, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight

Powell addressed the United Nations Security Council in 2003 to declare the immediate need for intervention, and his now-notorious speech was riddled with false claims about the supposed presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq under the control of Saddam Hussein. The address became a crucial nexus in the war on terror, and Powell became the public face of the Bush administration’s campaign to invade a nation under false pretense.

But you don't have to take our word for it. Here's how Tucker Carlson as a co-host of CNN's Crossfire reacted at the time to Powell's 2003 presentation to the U.N. (emphasis added):

PAUL BEGALA (CO-HOST): Using the full force of his considerable persuasive talents as well as satellite photos and intercepted Iraqi conversations, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U.N. Security Council and the watching world that Iraq has, quote, “An active and systematic effort," unquote, to hide weapons of mass destruction and has given training to al Qaeda terrorists.

Secretary of State Powell was the right man for the difficult job. He is by far, the most respected and trusted figure in America, perhaps the whole world, but his boss, President Bush is now suffering from a full blown credibility crisis. In the latest CNN/Gallup poll, about half of all Americans said they think the Bush administration would present evidence it knew was inaccurate. And a whopping 58 percent said Mr. Bush would even conceal evidence that went against his position to persuade us to go to war in Iraq.

Said Mr. Bush, if we could have reached him for current, I promised in the campaign I wouldn't lie about sex. I never said anything about war. Of course, he never actually said that, I should be clear.

TUCKER CARLSON (CO-HOST): This says — this truly, I say this more in somewhat anger, this is yet Democratic party has no credibility on terrorism or foreign policy. Today we learned...

BEGALA: Because the American people think Bush would lie?

CARLSON: Because, we know today for certain that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction they have chemical and biological weapons. And the question remains what do we do about it? Neither you nor any Democrat I know has the answer to that question.


BEGALA: Tucker, we've known for 20 years the guys had chemical weapons.

CARLSON: What are we doing, about it, Paul we quote some stupid poll saying people don't believe — I mean, come on.

BEGALA: The question here is the presidents creditability. He wants to lead us into war, and the majority of his countrymen and women are worried that he's lying to us, and for good reason.

CARLSON: That is not the question. The question is there's a lunatic with weapons that could kill the civilized world. What do we do about it. And I await an answer.

(CROSSTALK) CARLSON: I'd be interested in your opposition.


CARLSON: In his address this morning, secretary Powell warned the U.N. Security Council, quote, “This body places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately," end quote. Many in the community responded by proving Powell's point. The French minister from posed doubles or tripling the number of U.N. inspectors in Iraq. Russia's foreign minister made a similar statement, so did China. When the German foreign minister was asked if secretary Powell convinced him, he said, quote, "I'm not an expert."

Saddam Hussein continues to deny doing anything wrong. In a notably puffy interview on British television last night, he told many of the western defenders that his country possesses no weapons of mass destruction, at all. None.

Do you believe it?

Apparently many on the left, do they must because they haven't given any idea of what we should do about it.

If Carlson is looking for someone responsible for selling the catastrophic Iraq War to the American people, he need only look in the mirror.