You break it, you have to fix it,
Powell warned Bush
US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned President George Bush
two months before the invasion of Iraq about the potential negative
consequences of a war, citing what Mr Powell privately called the
"you break it, you own it" rule of military action, a new
"You're sure?" Mr Powell is quoted as asking Mr Bush in the Oval Office
on January 13, 2003, as the President told him he had made the decision
to go forward.
"You understand the consequences," he is said to have stated in a
half-question. "You know you're going to be owning this place?"
The book, Plan Of Attack by The Washington Post's Bob Woodward,
reconstructs that and other private conversations between senior
Bush Administration officials during the 16-month period of planning
and preparation that ended with the attack on Iraq in March, 2003.
It has been well known that Mr Powell was the most sceptical among
Mr Bush's senior advisers about the wisdom of invading Iraq.
But the new details described in the book, at a time when the
US occupation has met with new perils, add considerably to a
portrait of a Secretary of State who expressed private reservations
about the Administration's policy but never issued a public protest
about the Administration's course.
"Force should always be a last resort," Mr Powell told the
UN Security Council on February 14, 2003.
Mr Powell is described as having clashed in particular with
Vice-President Dick Cheney, who was preoccupied with alleged
links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.