Meet the Press: Colin Powell and the Congressional leadership were guests on Meet the Press today. Here’s a pointer to the transcript. Powell said some things that I was hoping to hear:
SEC’Y POWELL: Well, let’s not assume there will be a large-scale war. I don’t know that we should even consider a large-scale war of the conventional type. But it’s more interesting to note that Egypt and Saudi Arabia and most of the countries in that part of the world have come to our support. They have recognized that terrorism is a threat, not only against the United States, against them. They have suffered from terrorism, as well. And they recognize that this is not consistent with Islamic teachings. It is absolutely inconsistent with Islamic teachings. And so I think they understand the domestic pressures they are under, and they understand what they have committed themselves to. And when you even have countries such as Syria and, to some extent even Iran, indicating that they sense the problem associated with this kind of attack, it gives us something to explore, something to work with. And what we should be looking at, really, is the solid support we have received from Arab nations.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you what the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, had to say and give you a chance to talk about it a little bit: “‘If you launch an attack against Afghanistan or another country on your list of rogue states, you will kill many innocent people, just as the terrorists killed many of your people,’ he [Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak] said in the interview. ‘Don’t play the game of your enemy. They want your reprisals to bring forth, from the blood and ruins or your bombing, a new generation of militants who will cry for revenge against the United States.'”
SEC’Y POWELL: We’re very sensitive to that. One has to be careful that in your reaction, you don’t give the enemy exactly what the enemy would like to have, a new cause celebre. And so we will be very sensitive to that, and I know that my colleagues in the Pentagon are sensitive to that, as they consider the various options that are available to them.