Thursday, September 25, 2003

Colin Powell, Liar

For too long we've allowed Colin Powell to skate, but no longer. All the others have a justification (however demented) for their perfidy. Cheney, money. Rumsfeld, power. The NeoCons, fanaticism. Rice, pandering. Bush, ignorance. But Colin Powell, our above-the-fray Secretary of State, what about him? Why would he lie about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? With his stellar background, how could he lie?

So far, he's skated. But the fact is, even more persuasive during the lie-up to the invasion of Iraq than Bush's speeches was Powell's dog-and-pony show to the Security Council: Mock-ups of mobile labs, audiotapes of hushed phonecalls--a skit replete with crude props. But it turns out Powell was lying through his teeth then, and in a later UN appearance--and he knew it.

But why? Colin Powell's got a hell of an Army pension, could earn fabulous honorariums, sit on numerous Boards and Foundations? Why lie, why sell his soul?

From my lawyering days, I recall this remark by an older practitioner. "The most dangerous liar is the one who appears to have no reason to lie and gives no hint of it. No bias or prejudice to use as ammunition for cross-examination, no twitch of lip, no shifty eyes. To defeat such a liar, there is only one tool, one weapon: the facts.

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