Although I have yet to read a full transcript of tonight’s BBC interview with Colin Powell, a report on the former Secretary of State’s comments tracks with Lawrence Wilkerson’s impressions of a Rumsfeld-Cheney cabal at the White House.
From a BBC report this evening:
He also referred to his relationship with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney – often depicted as icy.
“Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney and I occasionally would have strong differing views on matters. And when that was the case we argued them out, we fought them out, in bureaucratic ways,” he said.
“Often maybe Mr Rumsfeld and Vice-President Cheney would take decisions into the president that the rest of us weren’t aware of. That did happen, on a number of occasions.”
Asked about post-war planning for Iraq, Gen Powell said his state department staff drew up detailed plans, but they were discarded by Mr Rumsfeld’s defence department, which was backed by the White House.
“Mr Rumsfeld and I had some serious discussions, of a not pleasant kind, about the use of individuals who could bring expertise to the issue. And it ultimately went into the White House, and the rest is well known.”
These comments by Powell primarily color in much of what was already known.
But they perhaps were triggered by his 16-year aide’s brave revelations about the best-case only decision making realities in the White House.
It’s still too early to tell, but Colin Powell may finally be finding his voice.
— Steve Clemons