Gen. Powell to President Obama on Af-Pak Strategy: “Take Your Time”

By Britt

Nov 11, 2009 3:01pm

In an interview with Roland Martin on the Tom Joyner Morning Show this morning, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell revealed that he recently advised President Obama to take his time in devising his strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

You can listen to the audio of this interview HERE.

"This is a very difficult one for him," Powell said. "And it isn't just a one-time decision. This is the decision that will have consequences for the better part of his administration. So Mr. President, don't get pushed by the left to do nothing; don't get pushed by the right to do everything. You take your time and you figure it out. You're the commander-in-chief and this is what you were elected for."

Powell said he had "advised him is to not be rushed into a decision because this one is the decision that will have consequences for years to come."
 
"If you decide to send more troops or that's what you feel it is necessary, make sure you have a good understanding of what those troops are going to be doing and some assurance that the additional troops will be successful," Powell says he told the president. "You can't guarantee success in a very complex theater like Afghanistan and increasingly with the Pakistan problem next door, but you have to have some sense of what these additional troops will be able to do.

"And secondly, take your time," Powell said, "and third, you've got to ensure that you're putting this commitment on a solid base, and the base is a little soft right now. We've got a president in Afghanistan that had a rough election; a lot of corruption associated with the election; a lot of corruption in the government. And he has been told — Mr. Karzai has been told, and I know him very well — he's been told he's got to do something about this; he's got to do something about the drug problem, and he's got to start pulling the Afghan people together. And so the president has to measure that; what kind of base is he putting this new strategy on because it isn't just what we do; what do the Afghans do. And as I said a moment ago, it's made particularly difficult because of the unstable situation along the Pakistan border and in Pakistan."

Powell endorsed Obama last October.

-jpt

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