Colin Powell Speaks Out on Iraq

Little by little Colin Powell has been speaking out about both the decision to go to war and what should be done. The Times of London reports that Powell had tried to talk Bush out of going to war, and now believes the conflict cannot be resolved by military force:

THE former American secretary of state Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2½ hours vainly trying to persuade President George W Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today’s conflict cannot be resolved by US forces.

“I tried to avoid this war,” Powell said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. “I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”

Powell has become increasingly outspoken about the level of violence in Iraq, which he believes is in a state of civil war. “The civil war will ultimately be resolved by a test of arms,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty to watch, but I don’t know any way to avoid it. It is happening now.”

He added: “It is not a civil war that can be put down or solved by the armed forces of the United States.” All the military could do, Powell suggested, was put “a heavier lid on this pot of boiling sectarian stew”.

Powell has also contradicted Bush in calling al Qaeda only 10% of the problem in Iraq. With more Republicans being willing to face reality, Bush in increasingly isolated in suporting a failed policy. An increasing number of people of both parties agree with call from The New York Times today to leave Iraq.


  1. 1
    Amos Rutledge says:

    The REHABILITATE MY IMAGE AND SAVE MY PLACE IN HISTORY EXPRESS left the station several years ago, General.

    The time to break with the President’s war policy was the day before you sold that “mobile labs” fable at the UN.

    And, the way to break with Administration policy was to resign.

    This business smacks of the sour grapes of a disgruntled former employee.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    It certainly would have been better if Powel spoke out before the war.

    My take on him is that he probably felt that, being a good soldier, he shouldn’t speak out against his Commander in Chief. In this case he could have done much more to serve his country by breaking with Bush before the war.

    Still, I intentionally wasn’t hard on Powell in the post. We are finally at the point where there is hope for enough votes in the Senate to put a stop to this war. At this point I welcome every Republican who break rank with Bush now–even if I have much more respect for those who opposed the war from the start. Maybe Powell speaking out will have an influence on other Republicans.

  3. 3
    Batocchio says:

    Interesting. This contradicts Powell’s previous accounts, though. Before, Powell’s said that he didn’t question much at all, because Bush’s mind had been made up. A related issue is who Bush actually bothered to talk to about his decision before it was made, because it was a very, very small circle, most likely including Cheney, Rove and Laura, and probably Rice, but that’s about it.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    My goal has been criticizing the war, not Colin Powell personally. While this statement goes much further than anything Powell has said, I wasn’t aware that this actually contradicts anything he said. Do you happen to have any links which show a clear contradiction.

    Agree that Bush probably made this decision with very limited input from others. We also know that some of his father’s people advised him against going to war, but he ignored their advice. It is questionalbe if Powell could have made a difference, but he should have tried. Maybe if he had spoken out in public there might have been more opposition before the war started, and maybe that would have had an impact. There’s also the possibility that Bush would have gone to war regardless of what anyone else said.

  5. 5
    Nell says:

    There is nothing more nauseating than reading or listening to Powell’s pathetic attempts to resurrect his sycophantic image. He should have been shot for dereliction of duty the day he went to the UN to lie to the whole world. His first obligation was to the Constitution and when he failed to convince GWB about invading Iraq he should have resigned immediately. I’ve never thought much of him since his so-called Powell Doctrine and now there is nothing but contempt. He is the epitome of a man obsessed with the aura of power that he would do anything, anything including selling his mama!

  6. 6
    Donaldd says:

    Powell’s alleged advancement through possible cover up of My Lai murders in Vietnam to His plagiarized speech before the UN on WMD in Iraq and now he is like most of the other Bush deserters trying to cover their complicity to Crimes against Humanity is just plain; too late.

    I don’t know why he is worried now that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which Bush Conspired with Congress to write granting them immunity from prosecution says it all.

    If Bush Consulted his second wife dejur, Condi Rice, by whispering sweet nothings in her ear would be a miracle in itself.

  7. 7
    battlebob says:

    A little background on Powell and My Lai…

    He is prety slimy.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:


    Thanks for the link. To think, Colin Powell is the good guy of the Bush years–in comparison to the others in that Administration.

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