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October 27, 2008

Preparing For This Moment

W. includes a long scene in the White House situation room before the decision is made to invade Iraq. In it Colin Powell courageously battles the warmongering Cheney and Rumsfeld. Of course, this never happened. In fact, it's so far from what happened, Stone is criticized by Bob Woodward for it in a Slate discussion of the movie:

WOODWARD: [A]s best I can tell, no such meeting ever took place...It gives Powell more credit than he deserves...Powell's plea to the president in August 2002, which he recently affirmed, was that the administration needed to look at the consequences of war, but he never argued openly to the president that he should not invade Iraq.

Here's how Stone responds:

STONE: The issue of the 11-minute-long scene of the meeting in the "situation room" is a very interesting one to me, and we should probably discuss this in a future post. Yes, the scene is entirely invented...I agree that we made Powell probably stronger than he was, but in the end, we remained accurate to his capitulation. We see him as the "good soldier," who all his life prepared for this moment of standing up for a principle, yet, in the end, he folded.

Right. Powell all his life prepared for this moment of standing up for principle, by being a shameless lickspittle for forty years. That's the best way to prepare!

Colin Powell is Waylon Smithers with better PR.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at October 27, 2008 09:13 PM

YOU don't get many brilliant, out side the box, free thinkers in the US Military Officers Corps. (at least not for long)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 27, 2008 11:02 PM

Are you saying there's a Bush/Powell "I can't quit you!" scene?

Posted by: tim at October 28, 2008 12:05 AM

I'm sorry... I can't quit you, sir.

Posted by: tim at October 28, 2008 01:41 AM

I think you are doing Waylon Smithers a disservice! He stood up to Burns when Burns was going to take away the sun from Springfield!

Posted by: sarcasmus at October 28, 2008 03:06 AM

Robert Parry’s history of Powell is very useful. Unfortunately more people will be influenced by the movie than Parry’s excellent essay. Of course Hollywood has long been one of the biggest purveyors of propaganda and very effective it has been.

Posted by: Rob Payne at October 28, 2008 03:56 AM

Not to not knock Colin Powell for his lifetime of covering up high crimes and mass killings, and not to not knock "W" although I will only see it maybe on Netflix in a year or two, but Bob Woodward is a terrible source for anything. He's more inside than Colin Powell. Woodward was out of the Office of Naval Intelligence. In his own little mini-memoir after FBI's Felt passed away and was "revealed" to be Deep Throat (although Felt could not have supplied all the info Woodward claims he got from him) Woodward says he first met Felt in the waiting room in the White House when he was bringing top secret docs over from the Pentagon. That's pretty high clearance.

In essence, Woodward continued on the same career, moving secrets his superiors told him to move. Actually, Sy Hersh is the same. If you follow their careers you can figure what part of the permanent government they are owned by.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at October 28, 2008 09:22 AM

Comes down, as so often, to Groucho Marx:

"These are my principles; if you don't like them, I have others."

Posted by: donescobar at October 28, 2008 11:01 AM