Now the softening has gone to his brain, based on the really stupid things he said to National Public Radio.
"This is a tremendous burden on our troops and on our families," Powell said of the ongoing troop presence in Iraq, in an interview with National Public Radio.
Speaking after Senate Republicans blocked a vote calling for troop withdrawals to start within 120 days and for a complete pullout by the end of April, Powell said the US Army and Marine Corps were stretched to their limit in Iraq since they had not been increased in size despite the greater responsibilities demanded of them.
"It is not sustainable for our troops just to stay over there for an indefinite period at 180,000 person-strength unless there is improvement in the conditions that generate what I consider to be a civil war. So we have to have progress on the Iraqi political side," Powell said.
Asked if in his opinion the US should start reducing troop numbers in Iraq by mid-2008, Powell said: "I think that's right ... It is not sustainable for an indefinite period at this level."
Powell also urged the administration of Bush to stop shunning Hamas as a political player in the Middle East.
"I think you'd have to find some way to talk to Hamas ... they are not going to go away," adding that Hamas has considerable support from the Palestinian people.
"They won an election that we insisted upon having. And so, as unpleasant a group as they may be and as distasteful as I find some of their positions, I think that through the quartet or through some means, Hamas has to be engaged."
No wonder we had to go back into Iraq to finish what Powell didn't finish during Desert Storm. One wonders whether he would have had the stomach for the Pacific Campaign of World War II, or the common sense to use the atomic bomb on Japan.
As for Hamas, what other genocidal fanatic movements does he want the world to 'engage'? Maybe he thinks we need to talk it out with al-Qaeda too -- after all, they seem to have pretty widespread support in the Muslim world.