colin powell
Talk to Al Jazeera

Colin Powell

The former US secretary of state reflects on the events of 9/11 and whether or not they changed the world.

On September 11, 2001, Colin Powell was the US secretary of state. That day set in motion a series of events and decisions that had far-reaching implications, and Powell played a crucial part in all of them.

But perhaps more than any other moment it was his speech at the United Nations, in which Powell painted a picture of Iraq as a great military threat because of its access to weapons of mass destruction, that would signify his role and eventually come to haunt him.

“Saddam Hussein and his regime are busy doing all they possibly can to ensure that inspectors succeed in finding absolutely nothing,” he told the UN.

Powell has since left the political arena.

Talk To Al Jazeera caught up with him to reflect on 9/11 and how the world has changed, or not really changed, since that day.

“It [9/11] changed the world in some ways in that we understood that we were now in a permanent conflict … so we had to guard ourselves, defend ourselves, deter others trying to do it and go after them, we had to go on the offence. That changed us and changed the world to a large extent.

At the same time, 9/11 cannot be allowed to change us. We are an open, freedom-loving people, reaching out to the rest of the world, welcoming people to come to this country because if we changed ourselves, then the terrorists [would have] won.”

Colin Powell

In this interview he also speaks about Afghanistan and his equally deep concerns over Pakistan.