Powell Says Iraq War Course Must One Day End
Matt Stoller says Colin “Powell is taking the gloves off.”
Judd Legum says “Powell blasted the Bush administration’s ‘stay the course’ policy in Iraq.”
They’re referring to a no cameras or recording devices speech he gave today in Minnesota. The only published account I’ve seen–or that they reference–is a rather innocuous report from the Star-Tribune. The relevant portions:
The United States and allies can not resolve the current sectarian violence in Iraq, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said today during a lecture in Minneapolis.
“Only the Iraqi people can resolve this,” Powell said.
U.S. troops have to stay in Iraq for “some time,” he said. “But there is a limit to the patience of the American people.”
Powell was the featured speaker at this year’s distinguished Carlson Lecture at the University of Minnesota.
In Iraq, “staying the course isn’t good enough because a course has to have an end,” Powell said.
More than any other event of this era, the war will define the Bush presidency and Powell’s own tenure as Secretary of State, Powell said.
In the U.S. today, a challenge the war poses is a question of whether an essential “bond of trust that must exist within a nation…has been shaken,” he said. The extent of the damage to trust will be measured in the November elections, he said.
Aside from dissing the “stay the course” mantra, what here is even remotely new?
The administration has been saying for years that it is ultimately up to the Iraqi people to solve this.*
Further, it’s axiomatic that the war will define both Bush and Powell’s tenures. Presumably, Powell would like it to end well if, for no other reason, than that it would reflect well on him. After all, while he clearly differed with other officials on the war, he was nonetheless a key spokesman for the cause, including the WMD argument.
The out-of-context quote about the “bond of trust” being “shaken” is perhaps interesting. Unless and until we get a transcript of the speech or Powell clarifies his remarks elsewhere, however, there’s not make to make of them.
*UPDATE: This is a difficult one to Google since “Iraqi people” has been so ubiquitous over the years. Here’s an example from 16 months ago, though:
– “We’re not going to win against the insurgency, the Iraqi people will win against the insurgency.” Don Rumsfeld, “Fox News Sunday,” June 26, 2005.