Leadership Tour

Former secretary of state Colin Powell, who presented the Bush administration’s case for war against Iraq to the United Nations, spoke to a full house at the Arlington Theatre last Friday night. As war protesters walked the sidewalk outside, Powell took the Arlington stage to a standing ovation and departed the same way. In between, he avoided controversial issues, but shared amusing reminisces from his career as a four-star Army general and advisor to three presidents. During a brief question-and-answer period, Powell admitted he was “dead wrong” in asserting Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction but attributed the error to faulty CIA work. He then spun the WMD controversy as less than critical, noting Hussein had “every intention of [acquiring] such weapons, and he had the capability,” and had the deposed Iraqi dictator complied fully with UN inspections, Powell claimed, “war could have been avoided.” The event was sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures as part of Powell’s book tour to promote his recent tome, On Leadership. Antiwar protesters included Mayor Marty Blum, who said. “The American people are hungry for leaders who tell the truth. We need Colin Powell to do that, or not to speak on leadership.”

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