Monday, July 09, 2007

More Powell - Oh really??

Timesonline reports this headline: "Powell tried to talk Bush out of war". I got to this through Drudge, which linked it as "CLAIM: Colin Powell tried to talk Bush out of war".

The Times reports:

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”.

Oh really? That statement by Powell doesn't support the headline, and doesn't contradict what he said on Meet the Press. Maybe Powell said some other things in Aspen, but the Times doesn't report them verbatim. Powell knew it would be messy. "Trying to avoid" a war and "trying to talk somebody out of it" are two different things. Heck, there are probably a few quotes of GWB himself saying he tried to avoid the war - such statements obviously not precluding his decision to wage war. Powell has been public for some time now on his dissatisfaction with how the war was managed, and his initial urging for a larger invasion force. And Powell was just as blunt on MTP as to what the surge could and couldn't do, almost to the word.

Without a direct quote I'm reluctant to say one way or the other what Powell did or didn't think at the time of the invasion. I haven't seen him contradict himself at any time, whether during or after he served as Secretary of State. Whether Powell is right or wrong, I think he's essentially honest, and not one to change his opinion or distort his record in order to gain public favor.


Anonymous said...

Somewhat unrelated: I'm kind of sick of everyone coming out of the woodwork recently claiming that "Wah! Wah! Bush didn't listen to me!" If you weren't being heeded, then maybe you should have resigned your freaking position and made your feelings clear right then and there instead of trying to cash in on Bush's current unpopularity. The former Surgeon General just jumped on the bandwagon, claiming to be "muzzled" about stem cell research. Granted, I despise this administration's stance on the issue, but the dude should have quit when it became clear he couldn't do his job.


Sockless Joe said...

I thought about addressing the resignation issue, but it seemed contrary to my thesis that Powell has been consistent, and thus superfluous. Perhaps, as per the article, that has changed, in which case I'm totally with you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think Powell has been consistent, which is why I started out by saying my comment was not totally related to your post. But, the news story about the Surgeon General came out today and was tangentially connected.