Monday, December 18, 2006

Powell does the Iraq Study Group one better

The ISG wants us out of Iraq by the end of 2007.

Colin Powell says we are losing a civil war and should be gone by mid-2007.

"I agree with the assessment of Mr. Baker and Mr. Hamilton," Powell said, referring to the study group's leaders, former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former Indiana congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D). The situation in Iraq is "grave and deteriorating, and we're not winning, we are losing. We haven't lost. And this is the time, now, to start to put in place the kinds of strategies that will turn this situation around."

Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," Powell seemed to draw as much from his 35-year Army career, including four years as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as from his more recent and difficult tenure as Bush's chief diplomat.

Among his other observations:

1. The active Army is "about broken", and the military needs to be enlarged to meet our increased committments.

2. He thinks we should talk to Iran and Syria. "Are Iran and Syria regimes that I look down upon? I certainly do. But at the same time, I've looked down on many people over the years, in the course of my military and diplomatic career, and I still had to talk to them."

3. Asked whether he agreed with Cheney that his long-time rival, Donald Rumsfeld, was "the finest defense secretary this nation has ever had", he said: "Well, that's the vice president's judgment. I've known many fine secretaries of defense. . . . But it's history that will judge the performance of all of us in this troubling time . . . and it is a history that I think will ultimately be written as a result of what happens in Iraq."

In less diplomatic words, "you've got to be kidding!"

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