Powell: GOP has 'a dark vein of intolerance' - POLITICO
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has defended Chuck Hagel as the Defense Secretary. January 14, · PM UTC to nominate Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense while speaking on NBC's Meet the Press yesterday. former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday criticized the GOP for a series of 01/13/ AM EST "There's also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party," Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press. Colin Powell said on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that former Sen. Chuck Hagel will fully January 13, at pm EST | by Chris Johnson. Powell defends .
I-- my judgment and my knowledge of Chuck and my discussion with Chuck would suggest that he wants to see both sides come to the table and find a solution. He supports the peace process. But he is uppermost, a very, very strong supporter of the State of Israel. He's voted for billions and billions of dollars of aid to Israel. And remember, he is working for a president. And he will follow the-- the policies of that president. The renewed debate about Iraq is also occurring, the New York Times write about-- writes about that today.
And his-- in his memoir, he writes something very pointed about the Iraq war. He writes, "it all comes down to the fact we were asked to vote on a resolution based on half-truths, untruths and wishful thinking.
I voted for this resolution that gave the president the authority to go to war in Iraq if all diplomatic efforts were exhausted and failed. Unfortunately, it was not his intention to exhaust all diplomatic efforts. I would disagree with this characterization.
Colin Powell: U.N. Speech “Was a Great Intelligence Failure”
We were basing all of our actions on a national intelligence estimate that the Congress asked for and was provided to the Congress by the CIA. And all of us in the Bush administration at that time accepted the judgment of our 16 intelligence communities. I presented it to the U. Three months before I presented it to the U. Was he wrong on Iraq? With respect to what?
With respect to what he ultimately called a huge foreign policy blunder? In your judgment, was he wrong on Iraq? I would not have called it that. I would have said that what I think was wrong was the president had more than sufficient basis to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction that were a danger to the world and the possibility of those weapons going to terrorists.
And so, he undertook military action. I think that was the correct thing to do and it was well supported by the intelligence. I think we did not execute the operation well. Once Baghdad fell, there was a feeling that well that was the end of it. It was not the end of it. That was just the beginning of it. He has apologized for those comments. The apology has been accepted by the ambassador.
January 13: Colin Powell, Cory Booker, Haley Barbour, Mike Murphy, Andrea Mitchell
You know, he is now responsible for them. With regard to the military budget, he has called the military a bloated organization. Bloated mean there is are probably things in the department that you can take a hard look at and determine whether or not you need it in light of the current situation and the strategy that we are implementing. You know, when-- when I was chairman, we saw the end of the Soviet Union, a completely different change in-- in our strategic positioning.
And we eliminated a million troops and cut the budget 25 percent. Everything has to be looked at--entitlements, more revenue, and yes you have to look at the Defense Department to see if there are opportunities for savings.
Bottom line, does Chuck Hagel get confirmed? I think he gets confirmed. I think he will do a great job as Secretary of Defense.
I have read some of the responses that he has already put together and I think he will make a very, very spirited defense of his position and I think he will be confirmed. More broadly talking about the National Security Team. He declined to have it over Susan Rice. What was your view of her treatment in this whole process? I think it was not handled well.
One of the problems with-- with Ambassador Rice and with Chuck Hagel, these sort of signals come out that this is who we are thinking about and you are left out there to dangle for weeks.
You feel you like the president Unintelligible? Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she is facing pressure to testify on the Benghazi matter. Do you think that Benghazi episode is a blot on her record as Secretary of State?
Do you think it will affect her political future? Something gets blown up. And then the after-action reports start and everybody wants to know who was at fault, who was responsible? Well, you can't keep everything from happening. Clinton will find something that they find distasteful. Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good president? Broader-- the broader issue of the foreign policy team as I was just reflecting on, is the message that it appears to send.
Do you view-- you view it that way? We fought the wars that we felt were necessary, but President Bush worked hard to try to solve other problems through diplomatic means. I, as you well know, always believe that we should try to avoid war. But when you do find it is necessary to use military force, use it with a clear political objective in mind and use it for a decisive result.
He will be careful. He will give the president his best advice on the use or non-use of military force, how to solve the problem diplomatically.
Well, the hawks, you think they are out of line in their criticism here? They can make all the criticisms they want. The American people have made it clear that they are not particularly interested in finding new conflicts to get into. And are not particularly interested in saying, you know, sanctions are just a road bump on the way to bombing. We should be very, very careful when we sort of toss around theories of use of military for situations that might be resolved in other ways.
We are punishing them severely now with the sanctions. We ought to keep it up. Multilateral sanctions, whatever unilateral things we want to do. But remember what we have. But as-- as I go through your record on some social issues and even foreign policy issues, I challenge you a little bit to say on what basis are you still a Republican? Do you feel like this Republican Party has left you or have you left it? I think the Republican Party right now is having an identity problem. I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed.
The country is changing demographically. We are going to make it hard for these minorities to vote as they did in the last election.
What did that produce? The court struck most of that down and most importantly, it caused people to turn out and stand in line because these Republicans were trying to keep us from voting. What I do mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.
How can I evidence that? Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the Party? I think the Party has to take a look at itself. It has to take a look at its responsibilities for health care. It has to take a look at immigration.
It has to take a look at those less fortunate than us. The Party has gathered unto itself a reputation that it is the party of the rich.
It is the party of lower taxes. But there are a lot of people who are lower down the food chain, the economic chain, who are also paying lots of taxes relative to their income and they need help. We need more education work being done in this country. We need a solid immigration policy. We have to look at climate change.
There are a lot of things that the American people are expecting and the Republican Party, as they get ready for the next election, really has to focus on some of these issues and not ignore them.
A couple of other foreign policy matters, what should the force-- the U. We can help them with intelligence. We can help them with-- with weapons training, whatever they need but the burden of defending their country and keeping it from falling again to the Taliban will rest squarely on the shoulders of the Afghans.
What about zero option? Do you leave any troops there? We have to stay there. We have to have advisers. We have to watch where the money is going. As a military plan you determine, what it is that we have to do? How many advisers do we need?
What kind of military assistance group do we need? And then you determine what those numbers are. The president has laid out some areas where we want to continue helping Afghanistan after and now the military will have to put numbers to those missions. This film, of course, based on the successful hunt for bin Laden.
And the debate sort of harkens back to me to an appearance that former Vice President Cheney made on this program. He told Tim Russell at the time about some of the things that would become necessary. Let me show you that. We also have to work the sort of the-- the dark side, if you will.
It is a mean, nasty, dangerous, dirty business out there and we have to operate in that arena. To the extent that enhanced interrogation techniques played some role in tracking down the majorly the courier which led to bin Laden, and I choose my words carefully, do the ends justify the means? We cannot be a nation that simply ignores our obligations to ourselves, our obligations to our constitution, our obligations to our own moral standing in the world.
And so be tough. But as the president has said and before him, President Bush was-- was also in this Unintelligible we do not torture people. But the ends justify the means if you get bin Laden in the end? We do not-- we do not torture people.
It is against American policy. I want to end with this… GEN. But I know what torture is. A-- a final political matter that is very important at this particular point as the president thinks about it. What kind of restriction should be put in place? You have to be deranged to pick up a Bushmaster or some weapon and go into a school and kill people.
So how do we deal with that part of the problem? Is there an issue with violence on television, violence in our games? That has to be looked at with respect to guns themselves. I-- I know the Amendment rather thoroughly. I know the issue of a well-regulated militia.
But at the same time, we also have a responsibility under the constitution and the Bill of Rights to protect our people. So, surely, we should be able to find some meeting of the minds on this issue. And with respect to assault weapons, I see no need for Bushmasters in the hands of an individual person who might be deranged.
You want to fire a Bushmaster, go out to a range and fire a Bushmaster. How much are we really giving up if we said that this kind of weapon should not be readily available to anybody who wants to buy one? The NRA feels very, very strongly. Gun owners feel very, very strongly. And the same time, the American people are concerned about the kinds of things that are happening in our society. As always, thank you very much for your views. Our roundtable is here to help break it all down.
Up next, after the short break. Coming up, most American workers got their first paycheck of the New Year on Friday and they probably noticed it was a little bit smaller.
Well, in order to boost the economy back inCongress lowered the Social Security tax withholding rate to 4. It was called a payroll tax holiday and it meant more money in the average paycheck but as of January 1st, the holiday is officially over because Congress did not extend it during the end of the year fiscal cliff debate.
So, what did that mean for your Friday pay stub? For every 25, dollars in your annual salary, up to the threshold of a , you will now be paying dollars more in payroll taxes every year. Up next, more on this after a brief commercial break. The time has come for me to return to my wife, Sylvia, our three sons, their families, our six grandchildren, and my walnut farm, dealing with a different set of nuts. Welcome to all of you. He talks about a deep vein of intolerance within the Party. How did that sit with you?
Chairman, Republican National Committee: Well look, General Powell and I have been friends since he quit being a general and could be involved in politics. We have to improve our stand among all those. Remember George Bush the last Republican president got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. But you once said that Colin Powell is in the mainstream of the Republican Party. Do you believe that today?
I think on that he sees it through his own prism. Cory Booker, Mayor, what do you think of his-- his comments, particularly about intolerance directed toward this president? And the rhetoric in this last campaign I saw it in my community really turned off a lot of people, black, Latino, women and gay, and that was unnecessary.
When I switch-- turned on the TV the other night, I sat up in my bed when I saw Newt Gingrich talking about marriage equality and how the Republican Party was going to have to start embracing some of these realities of where the country is going or be left behind. And what I really would love to see, though, from both parties is stop speaking about how we can win elections and more importantly how we can address the issues of America.
Because the reality is if we focus on solving problems that is good politics, a good policy, good problem solving, pragmatism always in my opinion makes for good politics. Mike Murphy, you have had a lot of these similar critiques, but… MR. He has kind of been off on a little bit of Democratic bender for a few years, so that was good news to me. And I had invited him to come back home and help us modernize and strengthen the Party. And we had projectors and all sorts of technology to help us make the case.
I made the case with the director of central intelligence sitting behind me. He and his team had vouched for everything in it. We threw out a lot of stuff that was not double- and triple-sourced, because I knew the importance of this. When I was through, I felt pretty good about it. I thought we had made the case, and there was pretty good reaction to it for a few weeks. And then suddenly, the CIA started to let us know that the case was falling apart — parts of the case were falling apart. It was deeply disturbing to me and to the president, to all of us, and to the Congress, because they had voted on the basis of that information.
And 16 intelligence agencies had agreed to it, with footnotes. None of the footnotes took away their agreement. So it was deeply troubling, and I think that it was a great intelligence failure on our part, because the problems that existed in that NIE should have been recognized and caught earlier by the intelligence community.
Why does he make it into the speech? Zarqawi was not anything uppermost in my mind. What specific language did I use in that one? He was the tie to Saddam.
He was the tie to Al Qaeda. So in some ways, he was the tie between Saddam and Al Qaeda. He was in Iraq; he had been down to Baghdad to a hospital; he was in northern Kurdistan on the border in a terrorist camp; he was based there. But what falls through later is some of the evidence about that. Do you remember the importance of that story? It was for the purpose of showing some kind of connection between Saddam Hussein and these kinds of gentlemen and ladies, and whatever they are.
But it was not a significant part of the speech for me. It was almost a passing reference, because it was not clear to me what the connection really was from the NIE and the intelligence. But it was in there. It was in the speech because it was part of the NIE, and it was more than weapons of mass destruction.
It was a way to connect these bad people, these bad organizations, to perhaps Saddam Hussein, and it was in the intelligence product, so I made a reference to it. Did that intelligence hold up? I went about my business, back to being a diplomat. Was he somebody that was on your radar screen as things developed? You keep asking me about Zarqawi, and I keep telling you, I really did not follow him that closely. You need to ask the intelligence community.
That was not my job. I was a salesman that day to present a product, but the product was something that came out of the intelligence community. Some of the reporting afterward claims that Zarqawi was sort of an unknown at that point, and yet the speech in some ways made him famous, infamous. My speech did not make him famous or infamous. It may have been sold by others, but it was in the National Intelligence Estimate. It was a view held by the intelligence community.
So if you really want to know why it was there and how important it was, those are the people who can give you the answer, if you can get anybody to talk to you.
The CIA had people on the ground that were watching over it, miles from it. They were interviewing people about whether we should bomb this thing before the invasion.Colin Powell "I Believed The Intelligence"
But there were worries that it would complicate the invasion. Do you remember any of that part? I remember there were discussions about attacking various camps that we thought bad guys were hanging out in or weapons of mass destruction might be being developed inside.
There was a difference of opinion within the administration, and the president decided not to make the strike and start the war while we were still doing diplomacy, trying to avoid a war.
My goal in this period was to make sure that the president was taking into account all the consequences of military action, and I even said to him one day: Can you live with that? Do you really care? When was this done? There was no U.
Rice, that this was worth doing at the time that we were trying to persuade the world that we are seeking a diplomatic solution. Paul] Bremer is sent over to Iraq?
Powell defends Hagel over anti-gay remarks | Gay News
When is the first time you hear about them, and what are your thoughts on them? When I read it in the newspaper. I got up in the morning, and I opened the paper, and I saw that an order had been issued that was eliminating or deactivating or getting rid of the Iraqi army.
I was stunned, because this was not the plan. Ambassador Bremer had a different point of view. It was the recommendation of the Pentagon. Three times they made this recommendation.
So when suddenly in May a change is made within the Pentagon, and they are authorized to issue these instructions — first the army and then the Baath Party — it was not anything that was considered at NSC level. Some have said in their memoirs, well, the NSC was told about it.
The CIA was stunned, and the commanders in the field out there were stunned, because this was the solution to the security problem. We were going to reconstitute the Iraqi army so that they could secure their country, and instead we dismissed them, and we turned loose all of these trained military people who might have weapons with them and knew where weapons were.
And a couple of weeks later, we were paying them as they demonstrated against what had happened to them. Bremer had to pay them to get them calmed down. Same thing with the Baath Party.
When we had made a judgment that we have to sort of decimate the top of the Baath leadership, none of us understood that this was going … to go down to every last schoolteacher.
Every one of them had to be a member of the Baath Party just to get a job. We were going to decimate the top, the people who were closest to Saddam Hussein, and reconstitute the rest of the society.
And that vacuum was filled by the insurgency. I think it was a major, massive strategic error. Did you have a conversation with Condi Rice about this? Rice as soon as I saw it, and I said: Does the president know about this? What is he going to do about it?
So we lived with it. Hard to live with. Yes, it turned out to be very hard to live with. Why are we still having this sort of tension, difficulty?
Why are they burning down the ministries? Why are the art galleries and museums being ripped apart? Why are the schools closed? Julyearly on, Rumsfeld is talking about dead-enders. What was the conversation in Washington? Why was the vice president, why was Rumsfeld talking about this as dead-enders? Well, you might have to ask them, but my own view, looking in and being part of that, is they thought that the fall of Baghdad and the elimination, at least out of the capital for the moment, of Saddam Hussein was a great victory.
But it was a tactical victory.
You may recall Mr. Rumsfeld giving almost daily press conferences that were enormously popular. Then we started to get reports that an insurgency was growing, and then we started to get casualties. By the early fall ofit was clear that it was time for the joy to be over.
We were in trouble. You have to remember that once Baghdad fell, the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld, cut off the flow of additional troops, and then we started ordering those that were there to go home. The two corps commanders were sent back home with their corps staffs, and a very junior two-star was put in charge of the theater, the most important theater we were in. We simply were not responding to the facts on the ground.
General, this is so antithetical, opposite of the Powell doctrine. So what were you thinking, and what were you telling them? We tried to insert into the process the kinds of problems you would face afterward.
My staff, working with everybody involved, had prepared these plans. So they essentially dismissed the plan. Did you just see disaster looming? Disasters sort of grow on you over time. And the disaster in this case grew until the president ordered the surge in But to summarize all of this, we should have had the surge in the beginning of But that was not the game plan, and when I recommended it, Gen.
The president had a lot of advisers — his military advisers, four-star generals and admirals, a secretary of defense, a whole defense staff, the CIA, others within the Cabinet — and they said to him: