Colin Powell Comment on the U.S. Only Asking for Enough Foreign Land to Bury Its Soldiers-Mostly Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
The story is that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was speaking in England. The Archbishop or Canterbury asked whether plans for a war in Iraq was really an example of “empire building” by President George Bush. Powell answered that the U.S. has sent many young men and women to fight in foreign lands but has never asked for any more land than is enough in which to bury those who did not return.
What most people want to know is whether Powell made this statement.
He did, although some other facts in the eRumor are incorrect.
First, Powell’s statement was not made in England. It was during a presentation to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland during January, 2003.
Second, the questioner was not the current Archbishop of Canterbury, but the former Archbishop, George Carey.
Third, Carey was not asking about “empire building.” He asked Powell whether the U.S. was relying too much on “hard power” such as military action as opposed to “soft power” such as appealing to the common values of the major religions and building trust based on those values.
Powell responded by affirming the “soft power” of values but that it was the “hard power” of the military that, for example, helped free Europe and so the “soft power” of peace and reconstruction could take place.
Powell then said, “We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works.”
Last updated 4/14/03