In an interview aired today on Britain’s ITV, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the U.S. went into Iraq without enough troops. Powell said he always “favored a larger military presence.” Prior to the invasion Powell made the case to Rumsfeld and President Bush but was overruled. As a result Powell said we didn’t have “enough force there at the time to impose order.” Watch it:
POWELL: There were debates about the size of the force and there were serious debates about the way in which we would deal with the aftermath, and the aftermath turned out to be much more difficult than anyone had anticipated.
Q: More difficult than you had even foreseen?
POWELL: Than anyone had anticipated, and even more than anyone, including myself, had foreseen. But just because you didn’t foresee it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have planned for the unforeseen. I have always been one who favored a larger military presence in an operation to make sure that you can deal with the unforeseen, but in the case of the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad, you had institutions being destroyed, you had ministries being burned down, and I have said on many occasions I don’t think we had enough force there at that time to impose order. That’s what we were responsible for, because when you have taken out a government, a regime, then you become responsible for the country.
POWELL: I made the case to General Franks and Secretary Rumsfeld before the president though that it was not sure we had enough troops, and so the case was made. It was listened to. It was considered. And those responsible for the troop levels, Mr Rumsfeld and General Franks, and the joint chiefs of staff, which include the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, believed they had the appropriate troop level.