Powell: We Are Losing In
Exclusive: Former Secretary Of State Says More Troops
Isn't The Answer
12/17/06 -- - (CBS) The United States is losing the war
in Iraq but sending more troops to Baghdad is not the
best way to change course, former Secretary of State
Colin Powell said on Face The Nation.
Powell said he agreed with the assessment of the Iraq
Study Group co-chairmen, Lee Hamilton and James Baker,
that the situation in Iraq is "grave and deteriorating,"
and he also agreed with recently-confirmed Secretary of
Defense Robert Gates that the U.S. is not winning the
"So if it's grave and deteriorating and we're not
winning, we are losing," Powell told Bob Schieffer in an
exclusive interview. "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."
President George W. Bush is considering several options
for a new strategy in Iraq. The most likely choice would
be to send tens of thousands of additional troops for an
indefinite period to quickly secure Baghdad.
A 3,500-man brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division will
be sent to Kuwait soon after the holidays, CBS News
correspondent David Martin reported on Friday. The
troops would be available immediately should the
president order a surge into Iraq.
There are about 134,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now.
Powell, also a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, said he did not see the military benefit of
flooding Baghdad with American troops.
"I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into
Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this
communitarian violence, this civil war, will work," he
said, adding that the Iraqi government and security
forces must take over.
"It is the D.C. police force that guards Washington,
D.C., not the troops that are stationed at Fort Myer,"
Powell said. "And in Baghdad, you need a police force to
do that, and in the other cities, you need a police
force to do that, and not the American troops."
Powell also doubted that the U.S. Army and Marine Corps
are large enough to support such an operation.
"The current active Army is not large enough and the
Marine Corps is not large enough for the kinds of
missions they're being asked to perform," Powell said.
"We need to let both the Army and the Marine Corps grow
in size, in my military judgment."
Asked directly what the U.S. should do in Iraq, Powell
"I think that what we should do is to work with the
Iraqi government, press them on the political peace, do
everything we can to provide equipment, advisers, and
whatever the Iraqi armed forces need to become more
competent, and to train their leaders so that those
leaders realize their responsibility to the government."
Powell, who as a member of the Bush Administration
pushed the international community to sanction the
invasion of Iraq, said that we are not safer now after
nearly four years of fighting.
"I think we are a little less safe, in the sense that we
don't have the same force structure available for other
problems," Powell said. "I think we have been somewhat
constrained in our ability to influence events
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