The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Students ask about Iraq, United Nations and Katrina

An overflow crowd greeted former Secretary of State Colin Powell at the first Turner Construction Student Forum of the year.

Powell spent 50 minutes answering questions from the audience, ranging from U.S. policy in Iraq to the response of federal agencies to Hurricane Katrina.

When asked if he was damaged from the poor intelligence that led to the war in Iraq, Powell emphatically stated that he was not. Instead, he mentioned his achievements during his four years in office.

“The progress in Afghanistan is amazing. They are about to have parliamentary elections almost four years after the U.S. removed the Taliban,” Powell said.

Powell also mentioned the expansion in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, agreements worked out in Sudan and increased stabilization in the Balkans.

“I’m pleased with what we accomplished,” he said.

On the image of the United States internationally, Powell said the Bush administration needs to do a better job explaining what its goals are.

“Before 9/11 we were doing well, particularly in the Middle East. But as a result of difficult choices made by the administration and not appropriately convincing our allies of those choices, we are seeing the rise of anti-Americanism,” Powell said.

Powell reiterated that the feelings are directed toward American policies, not the people of the country.

“There’s still deep and warm feelings, but we need to do a better job of communicating our goals,” he said.

Powell followed up by saying that he would not have picked John Bolton to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but he did wish Bolton the best of luck in improving America’s image internationally.

Powell was also asked about troop levels in Iraq and whether he thought the amounts were adequate.

“I have always believed that you don’t take enough troops, but more than enough troops,” Powell said, adding that there were obviously plenty of troops to topple the Iraqi army but not for the post-war cleanup.

“Time was lost while we realized that an insurgency was growing,” he said.

Powell believes that the current troop levels are too low, but that it is up to the joint chiefs to make that decision.

When asked about the new Iraqi constitution, Powell believes that the document is the best chance for Iraq to stabilize.

“The constitution is not a bad document…there are some troubling aspects, but if it is not passed, then I don’t want to see [the process] have to start over,” he said.

Powell quickly panned the idea of a possible return of the draft.

“The professional officers are not inclined toward a draft and you couldn’t get a vote out of Congress to support it anyways,” he said.

On the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, Powell said the time will come for investigations into what went wrong.

“In the course of time, people will be making that judgment…but obviously things went wrong on many levels,” Powell said.

Powell resigned as Secretary of State in January of this year. Before that he served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-1993 and as a national security advisor to President Reagan.

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