By Colin Allen, published on February 1, 2003 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
Colin Powell presented the American case against Iraq to the United
Nations on Wednesday, February 5. Powell argued the strongest case yet
that Iraq is defying UN sanctions. The Secretary of State's detailed
summary of Iraq's violations persuaded even the most dovish members of
the UN to take a harder, albeit still diplomatic, line against Saddam
"He did a much better job than Bush could have done," argues Donald
Moine, Ph.D. an expert on persuasion from California. Making Powell the
messenger makes the U.S. case more persuasive-he had been publicly
against war in Iraq until a few weeks ago. Because of his change in
position, perhaps he was influenced by the facts himself.
"The best persuaders are those who really believe in what they are
saying," says Moine. Many people around the world see Powell as a voice
of reason. Because he is convinced, people on the fence may follow suit
in support of war.
Psychological research has found that the art of persuasion has
little to do with rational thinking. People make their judgments based on
emotions, they later rationalize their thinking with facts, explains
Moine. He notes that both anti- and pro-war advocates made their decision
about Iraq long ago.