AP Claims Colin Powell "Sideswiped" Rice -- With An Old, Mild "Not Sure"
In an article entitled "Powell Forces Rice to Defend Iraq Planning," Associated Press writer Libby Quaid claims,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice found herself knocked off message Sunday, forced to defend prewar planning and troop levels against an unlikely critic - Colin Powell, her predecessor at the State Department ... Powell sideswiped her by revisiting the question of whether the U.S. had a large enough force to oust Saddam Hussein and then secure the peace.
The truth is that the only one doing the sideswiping, knocking, and forcing were Sunday hosts Bob Schieffer (on CBS' Face the Nation (link)) and Wolf Blitzer (on CNN's Late Edition (transcript)), along with Quaid herself.
Schieffer, Blitzer, and AP's Quaid have hyped up remarks made on British TV from Gen. Powell this weekend. In responding to an interview question (hardly "revisiting the issue," as Quaid claims), Gen. Powell said that he had told Gen. Tommy Franks, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and President Bush before the Iraq invasion that he "was not sure we had enough troops" (emphasis mine) to adequately perform the mission. However, a 20-second search on Google reveals that such a statement from Powell is nothing surprising. A December 2004 story in the Washington Post (that's almost a year and a half ago, folks) reported a similar concern from Powell. In addition, back in September 2005, Gen. Powell had already voiced his belief that there had been an insufficient number of troops sent to Iraq. In other words, Quaid, Schieffer, and Blitzer are flogging a dead horse. Were Powell's remarks just an opening for them to downplay the Rice's good news of "an important milestone" for the government of Iraq? It seems so.
Rice made appearances on three Sunday talk shows today (April 30, 2006). George Stephanopoulos, on ABC's This Week, briefly questioned Rice on Powell's remarks but did not belabor the hackneyed issue of Iraq troop levels nearly as much as Schieffer and Blitzer.