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Powell Says Army is 'About Broken'
USA Today   |  December 18, 2006
Former secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the U.S. Army "is about broken" and could not support sending a significant increase of Soldiers to Iraq.

"That surge cannot be sustained," Powell said. "The current active Army ... and the Marine Corps is not large enough for the kinds of missions they're being asked to perform."

Powell, a 35-year Army veteran and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he doubted a temporary increase in U.S. forces in Iraq now would change the outcome of the war. The United States was "losing" but had not yet lost, he said.

Speaking on the CBS program, Face the Nation, Powell said that increasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq from 140,000 to 160,000 or more would force the military to keep Soldiers currently in Iraq there longer and to accelerate the arrival of others. That would hurt a force already strained by repeated and extended deployments since 9/11. The White House has said it is considering a number of options that would alter U.S. strategy in Iraq, including a temporary surge of U.S. forces.

Several Iraq war supporters, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have called for a major increase in U.S. troops in Iraq and criticized the administration for not sending more Soldiers there in 2003.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told ABC's This Week that he could back a brief increase in forces if "it's part of a program to get us out of there."

However, U.S. commanders are worried about the impact of such a plan. Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, told the House Armed Services Committee on Friday that the active duty Army of 507,000 "will break" unless the force is expanded by 7,000 or more Soldiers a year.

He also called for increased deployment of the Army National Guard and Reserves, which have already seen record call-ups since the 9/11 attacks.

As a military leader, Powell articulated a philosophy that came to be known as the Powell doctrine. It rejected the use of U.S. military force without a clear mission and overwhelming numbers deployed against an enemy.

The conflict in Iraq, Powell said, has become a civil war that requires an Iraqi political solution. "It's very difficult to see how the American Army can impose its will in this sort of conflict," he said.

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