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Bush Takes Suggestions on Iraq?

by Pamela Leavey

Bush claimed to that he listened to the suggestions offered by bi-partisan former Secretaries of State and Defense. “It was a unique meeting,” said Frank C. Carlucci, 75, who served as defense secretary under President Ronald Reagan in the late 1980s.

It was all very respectful, but I think people didn’t hesitate to express candid views.” Among those who made “very strong points,” he said, were former defense secretary Melvin R. Laird, 83, who served under President Richard M. Nixon, and former secretaries of state George P. Shultz, 85, a Reagan appointee, and Madeleine K. Albright, 68, who served under President Bill Clinton.

Albright, who was the first woman secretary of state and now chairs the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, has complained publicly that the war in Iraq has cost the United States credibility around the world after the rationale for the 2003 U.S. invasion — a threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — turned out to be based on faulty intelligence. She has also opposed Bush’s appointment of John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a post she formerly held under Clinton.

“I think we all agreed that we want the president to succeed in his policies,” Carlucci said in an interview with CNN. “Whether people agreed with the decision to go in [to Iraq] or not, nobody really feels that we ought to fail at this point. We need to keep pushing ahead. There was nobody in the meeting that urged us to engage in an immediate pullout.”

Madeline Albright was on the Ed Schultz Show after the meeting, you can listen to her interview here. After the interview Ed Schultz said “It sounds like they all got the salad but they didn’t get the main course.”

Also in attendance at today’s meeting were “former secretaries of state Colin L. Powell, 68; Lawrence S. Eagleburger, 75; James A. Baker III, 75; and Alexander M. Haig Jr., 81.”

Powell held the job during Bush’s first term, while Eagleburger and Baker served under his father, President George H.W. Bush. Haig was briefly secretary of state under Reagan from 1981 to 1982.

Among the other former defense secretaries present were William S. Cohen, 65; William J. Perry, 78; Harold Brown, 78; James R. Schlesinger, 76; and Robert S. McNamara, 89. Cohen and Perry were Clinton appointees, Brown worked for President Jimmy Carter, Schlesinger served under Presidents Nixon and Gerald Ford, and McNamara held the post under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

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