Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the U.S. Army is “about broken” from the Iraq conflict and cast doubt on whether the military could or should boost the number of troops in the country.
“There really are no additional troops” to send, Powell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “The current active Army is not large enough and the Marine Corps is not large enough for the kinds of missions they are being asked to perform.”
Powell, 69, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War and the nation’s chief foreign policy official during President George W. Bush’s first term, said the war has made the U.S. “a little less safe” because it has limited the military’s ability to respond to another crisis.
“All of my contacts within the Army suggest that the Army has a serious problem in the active force, and it’s a problem that will spread into the Guard and Reserves,” Powell said.
Any proposal to add forces should be made with a “clear” mission outlined and a definite schedule for how long they will be there, Powell said. The U.S. military can’t quell the sectarian violence in the country, a task that must be accomplished by the Iraqis, he said.
“Our problem in the past, in Fallujah, in Samarra, twice in Baghdad, has always been the same,” Keane said. “We’ve ran the insurgents out, and we never put the protection force in to secure the people.”
A political leader of Iraq’s minority Sunni population, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, said his country’s security forces are incapable of protecting civilians in Baghdad from militia groups without more U.S. help.
“Iraqi troops, across the board, they are insufficient, incompetent, and many of them are corrupted,” Hashemi, who met with Bush at the White House last week, said on CNN’s “Late Edition” program.
He faulted the U.S. for disbanding the Iraqi Army after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003.
Powell: U.S. Army `About Broken’ Because of Iraq