ATLANTA – Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) said Friday he regrets the Bush administration claimed that Iraq had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in its argument for war, but he believes the world is better off without Saddam Hussein (search).
Following a speech to the Atlanta Press Club, Powell defended the bulk of his presentation to the United Nations (search) in February 2003 in which he made the case for war in Iraq.
"The only thing where we got it wrong and where our presentation did not hold up was the actual stockpiles," Powell said. "We've seen nothing to suggest that he had actual stockpiles. That was not right."
He added, "As we've gone back and looked through the intelligence, there are indications that we had bad sourcing that we should have caught. For that I am disappointed and regret that that information was not correct."
A Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence about Iraq found that much of the information provided or cleared by the CIA for inclusion in Powell's speech to the United Nations "was overstated, misleading or incorrect."
Nevertheless, Powell noted that the war has led to the ouster of Saddam, and for that,he said, the world will be safer. He noted that Saddam had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and Iraq's neighbors.
"So, he had a history, the intention of doing it, he was hiding things, he was not responding to the demands of the international community," Powell said.