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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Colin Powell Holds Media Availability

Aired May 4, 2003 - 09:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Colin Powell, secretary of state, is making comments in Washington also. Let's listen.
QUESTION: As a former military person, how do you feel the war was conducted?

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: It was done brilliantly. And I'm very impressed at the way in which the commanders responded to changes on the battlefield.

Within the first few days of the war, what was obvious to me is that the Iraqis were not putting up a coherent defense across the country. There were pockets of resistance. There were people attacking in the rear areas. And our commanders didn't allow themselves to get distracted by that. They kept pressing on with the essential objective, which was Baghdad.

And then, over time, they dealt with the pockets of resistance in the various cities that they had initially bypassed. They dealt with the rear-area security problems.

And it was a proud thing for me to watch -- how they integrated the air component and the land component and what we in the Army call the air-land data. It sometimes confuses people watching to say, "Well, the tanks have stopped. They're not moving, so there's something wrong." No, the air power's picking it up. And then they start moving together again. This is the way battles are fought.

POWELL: And I was especially proud that it was the 5th Corps that was leading the charge to Baghdad. I, once upon a time, commanded the 5th Corps, so I was very proud to watch my old corps in action. And the 101st Airborne Division, another one...

QUESTION: So the rationale to go to war was for finding weapons of mass destruction. We have not found them yet.

POWELL: We will.

QUESTION: Well, they went to a site today, and they found that it had been looted. Now, what does that mean?

POWELL: I don't know. I don't know whether there was anything in the site that was of particular concern to us. I'm still -- I'll wait for the intelligence community to give us an assessment of that. I just saw a Washington Post reporter...

QUESTION: Do you think that the rationale has changed?

POWELL: The rationale is the same. It was -- weapons of mass destruction.

Let's be clear. The basis of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 was a judgment on the part of all 15 members of the Security Council that the Iraqi regime had been in violation of its obligations under all sorts of previous resolutions to account for its weapons of mass destruction. All 15 nations agreed when they passed that resolution.

And I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there, and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting into this now.

Thank you.

QUESTION: When and where are you going to meet with the new Palestinian prime minister?

POWELL: I will announce my travel schedule in due course.

Thank you.

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