Colin Powell spent two-and-a-half hours trying to convince President Bush not to invade Iraq, the former Secretary of State said in a speech this past weekend at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.
Powell also told the audience that the US military would not be able to resolve Iraq's civil war, according to London's Sunday Times.
“I tried to avoid this war,” Powell said. “I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”
The former Secretary of state has been critical of the level of violence in Iraq, but tends to be more reserved in criticism directed at the President or Powell did not have an optimistic forecast for the future term in Iraq, but asserted that the US presence was not making a positive contribution to resolving the conflict.
“The civil war will ultimately be resolved by a test of arms,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty to watch, but I don’t know any way to avoid it. It is happening now.”
He added: “It is not a civil war that can be put down or solved by the armed forces of the United States.” All the military could do, Powell suggested, was put “a heavier lid on this pot of boiling sectarian stew”.