In a Sunday appearance on CBS, former Secretary of State Colin Powell defended President Obama’s national security strategy, suggesting that former Vice President Dick Cheney’s attacks were not “borne out by the facts.”
Speaking to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, Powell cast doubt on what was characterized as Cheney’s near weekly attempts to undermine President Obama’s national security efforts. He defended the president on both his national policy, escalating the war in Afghanistan and continuing support for Pakistan’s government, and using federal courts to prosecute the Christmas Day bomb plotter, instead of military tribunals.
“In eight years the military commissions have put three people on trial. Two of them served relatively short sentences and are free,” Powell said. “One guy is in jail. Meanwhile the federal courts, our Article 3 regular legal court system has put dozens of terrorists in jail. They’re fully capable of doing it. So the suggestion that somehow a military commission is the way to go isn’t borne out by the history of the military commission.”
He concluded: “The bottom line answer is the nation is still at risk. Terrorists are out there. They’re trying to get through. But to suggest that somehow we have become much less safer because of the actions of the administration, I don’t think that’s borne out by the facts.”
Powell, as George W. Bush’s secretary of state, played a key role in launching the Iraq war, making a case to the United Nations that would later prove to have been false. He resigned after four years of the Bush administration and endorsed President Barack Obama during the campaign.
This video is from CBS’s Face the Nation, broadcast Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010, as culled by ThinkProgress.