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National security expert to give talk April 22

- April 13, 2009


A Republican who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell but later became a fierce critic of the Bush administration and the Iraq War, will speak in the Dodd Center’s Konover Auditorium on April 22 at 4 p.m.

Lawrence Wilkerson will discuss his time in government, and the challenges faced by the Obama administration and future national security teams.

The event, organized by the International Relations Association, is open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow the talk.

Wilkerson, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was chief of staff to Powell from 2001 to 2005. His association with Powell dates to the Reagan administration, when he was appointed as an assistant to Powell who was National Security Advisor at the time, and continued during Powell’s tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the George H.W. Bush administration and the early years of the Clinton administration.

During the second Bush administration, Wilkerson was involved in key aspects of national security policy. In particular, he was the senior official assisting Powell in the preparation of the secretary’s February 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The revelation that much of this information was untrue was the beginning of Wilkerson’s disenchantment with the Bush administration, which was deepened by the ongoing situation in Iraq and the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

When Powell left the State Department, Wilkerson followed and began to speak publicly about his experiences during the first Bush term.

Since leaving government service, Wilkerson has taught national security decision-making at the George Washington University and the College of William and Mary. He is interviewed at length in the award-winning Iraq war documentary No End in Sight, and provides a full-length commentary to Why We Fight, an analysis of the military-industrial complex.


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