The Lie

February 5th, 2003

“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.” - Colin Powell

The Truth

It was the lynchpin of the US invasion of Iraq.

Etched in our minds is the image of Colin Powell presenting evidence before the United Nations Security Council and a global audience that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

What was later uncovered was that Powell had massively warped the truth about everything from intercepted Iraqi communications to what satellite imagery revealed. But Powell’s fraudulent presentation led directly to the invasion, after mainstream media hailed the speech as “irrefutable”, “undeniable” and “incontrovertible.”

Yet independent outlets like Democracy Now! didn’t simply accept the talking points out of the Bush administration’s mouthpieces. When it became clear to all that Powell’s major “assertions” had been false, the audience of independent media boomed – while major outlets, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to National Public Radio, suffered severely tarnished reputations.

As Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman comments: “Lies take lives.” The invasion of Iraq led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the growth of terrorist groups like ISIS.

Jeremy Scahill, National Security Correspondent, The Nation; Author, Dirty Wars at the Chatham House event "Targeted Killings and Drones: A Global Battlefield", 28 November 2013

Read Democracy Now's coverage of the Iraq War

DN! IN DEPTH Iraq War 10-Year Anniversary

The Process

Reporting from Iraq for "Democracy Now!" prior to the invasion, Jeremy Scahill questioned the rationales for the invasion. To challenge the lies that propel U.S. military interventions, independent journalists like Scahill, Nick Turse, Dahr Jamail and others have gone “unembedded” into war zones. In this video, Scahill discusses the risks unembedded journalists take.