Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Check out: Powell in GQ

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Walter Isaacson for GQ Magazine…

On the global terrorism threat and how to address it

“…What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms…It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies…”

On Guantanamo

“…It’s so harmful to what we stand for. We literally bang ourselves in the head by having that place. What are we doing this to ourselves for? Because we’re worried about the 380 guys there? Bring them here! Give them lawyers and habeas corpus. We can deal with them. We are paying a price when the rest of the world sees an America that seems to be afraid and is not the America they remember...”

On the Surge

“…You can surge all of the American troops you want, but they can’t stop this. Suppose I’m a battalion commander. My troops ask, “What do I do today, boss?” “Let’s go fight the Shia militias!” “What do I do tomorrow?” “Let’s go fight the Sunni insurgents!” “What do I do the day after tomorrow?” “Let’s go chase Al Qaeda!” “What do we do the day after that?” “We’re going to guard streets!” Our kids are fantastic. But this is not sustainable. Our surge can work only with an Iraqi political and military surge...”

On promoting Democracy around the world

“…We have a tendency to lecture and perhaps not think things through. We have to be careful what we wish for. Are we happy with the democracy that Hamas gave us? There are some places that are not ready for the kind of democracy we find so attractive for ourselves. They are not culturally ready for it, they are not historically ready for it, and they don’t have the needed institutions…”

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