On 5 February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the United Nations Security Council to present the United States’ case for disarming Saddam Hussein. Among the many fabulous details conveyed by the general that day, Powell warned that
our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enable Saddam Hussein to cause mass casualties across more than 100 square miles of territory, an area nearly 5 times the size of Manhattan.Let me remind you that, of the 122 millimeter chemical warheads that the U.N. inspectors found recently, this discovery could very well be, as has been noted, the tip of the submerged iceberg.
The question before us, all my friends, is when will we see the rest of the submerged iceberg?
Powell has since described the speech as a "blot" on his record and the "lowest point in my life."