Exclusive: Powell Rebuts Media Reports Claiming He Supports Escalation

Yesterday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke at Purdue University. Articles on the event by the Lafayette Indiana Journal and Courier and the Associated Press report that Powell “said he supported President Bush’s decision to send more U.S. troops to Iraq”:


These reports are wrong. This morning, ThinkProgress spoke with Powell’s office, who told us that he never indicated his support for the escalation. According to his office, Powell simply said that the escalation is proceeding whether we like it or not:

The surge is on, and will soon be finished while Congress debates it. And we’ll have to see whether it works, and we’ll have to pass off to the Iraqis sooner or later.

Jeanne Norberg, a spokeswoman for Purdue who attended the speech, confirmed with us that Powell did not say he supported Bush’s escalation.

Powell has previously stated his opposition to Bush’s escalation strategy. On Dec. 17, he said on CBS’s Face the Nation that “I have not seen a case that persuades me that [Iraqi security] would be better” with more forces.