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The U.N. Took Powell's Lunch Money

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I so enjoy the pomp and circumstances of United Nations gatherings. This time, His Excellency Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was outgunned, if you will. Although his argument was compelling and I believe him, the opacity of the current Administration disallowed a successful debate.
The U.N. Took Powell's Lunch Money

General Colin Powell

All the Iraqi representative had to do was punch holes in Powell's argument, which was as easy as saying, the satellite photographs and the recordings cannot be taken as evidence in this format because easy-to-access technologies can be simulated.

The evidence was circumstantial and didn't seem to be supported with back-office, off-the-record evidence. In this format of oration, since this isn't a court-of-law, I did not come away believing that Saddam Hussein gasses his own people, has millions of liters of agent, and is able to spy on Iraq that much more effectively than the rest of the United Nations combined.

Still, I believe him because I like him and I believe that there is enough evidence that there is a lot of duplicity, concealment, deceit, and sleight-of-hand. I guess we are better at recognizing this sort of thing in others than we are in ourselves. 

Not for unilateral war, mind you, but enough to convince me that the United States is not suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia. This I thought before. But, as I said before, I like His Excellency Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

All in all, His Excellency Secretary of State Colin L. Powell did a fine job in spite of his Bush Administration choke collar. 

I wanted His Excellency Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to show our winning hand rather than telling of it.

You got to know when to hold 'em; 
Know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away; 
Know when to run.
You never count your money 
When you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' 
When the dealin's done.


1. What was the context of Colin Powell's presentation at the United Nations? Colin L. Powell, then Secretary of State of the United States, presented evidence at the United Nations to make the case against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. The presentation aimed to demonstrate that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and was in violation of UN resolutions.

2. Why did the author believe Colin Powell's argument was compelling yet not fully convincing at the UN? The author found Powell's argument compelling due to the trust in Powell's integrity and the belief in the existence of deceit and concealment by Iraq. However, the presentation was seen as not fully convincing because the evidence provided was circumstantial and could potentially be simulated using accessible technologies, leading to skepticism among UN representatives.

3. How did the Iraqi representative counter Powell's presentation? The Iraqi representative countered Powell's presentation by questioning the authenticity and veracity of the evidence, specifically the satellite photographs and recordings. The argument was that such evidence could be easily fabricated with available technology, making it insufficient to prove the allegations beyond doubt in the UN's setting.

4. What was the author's stance on unilateral war and the United States' position? The author was not in favor of unilateral war based on the evidence presented but believed that the information was enough to dispel the notion that the United States was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia regarding Iraq's actions and intentions.

5. What did the author wish Colin Powell had done differently in his presentation? The author wished that Colin Powell had demonstrated more concrete evidence ("show our winning hand") rather than just talking about it. The reference to "know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em" suggests a desire for a more strategic disclosure of information that could have been more persuasive.


  • United Nations (UN): An international organization founded in 1945, composed of member states, aimed at promoting peace, security, and cooperation among countries.
  • Colin L. Powell: A United States military general and statesman who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush.
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs): Categories of weapons that can cause large-scale destruction and loss of life, including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
  • Circumstantial Evidence: Evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact, as opposed to direct evidence which directly proves a fact.
  • Unilateral War: Military action conducted by one state or a non-state actor without the support or participation of other states.
  • Paranoid Schizophrenia: A severe mental disorder characterized by delusions and auditory hallucinations but without the significant disorganization of thought processes typically associated with other forms of schizophrenia. Used metaphorically in the narrative to describe the skepticism around the U.S.'s claims.
  • Choke Collar: A metaphor used to describe restrictions or limitations placed on someone, suggesting that Powell was limited in what he could say or do by the administration he served.
  • Duplicity: Deceitfulness; double-dealing. In the context of the narrative, it refers to the alleged behavior of the Iraqi regime in hiding its activities from international scrutiny.
  • Sleight-of-hand: A term used to describe a quick and clever movement or trick, often used in the context of magic or deception. In the narrative, it symbolizes the perceived attempts by Iraq to conceal its actions from the international community.