Powell: Troops are ‘very, very stretched’; Bush wants to ‘maintain a very significant presence’ in Iraq.

In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America today, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that “the United States Armed Forces are very, very stretched.” Though GMA did not air the footage, Powell also commented on how the fact that there will be more troops in Iraq after the surge has ended than there were before it began, is an indication that “we’re going to maintain a very signficant presence” in Iraq:

It appears that after the surge is over, we’re going to go down to 140,000 troops in Iraq. That’s 10,000 more than we had before the surge. There is something of a continued surge there with that extra 10,000. And based on what Gen. Petraeus has said, he wants to let the surge troops go by July and then take 45 days to see what it looks like, and then begin a process of assessment. Well, that tells me that we know what the administration strategy is going to be through the end of the term of the administration. And that is, we’re going to maintain a very significant presence.

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In July 2007, Powell told NPR that the military “probably can’t keep this up at this level past the middle of next year, I would guess. This is a tremendous burden on our troops.”