Senior White House aides are counseling President Bush to back off his tough stance on invading Iraq or face a ?humiliating? defeat in next week?s Security Council vote.
According to the Washington-based Capitol Hill Blue, Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday told Bush that the effort to persuade Security Council members to support a second resolution has failed. ?You will lose, Mr. President,? Powell said. ?You will lose badly and the United States will be humiliated on the world stage.?
White House insiders said that the vote last week by Turkey?s parliament barring U.S. troops from using bases there sealed opposition to another resolution. Powell said that he has only four of the nine votes required to pass the resolution.
Powell said the administration will decide early next week whether to withdraw the second resolution, which would have declared Iraq in material breach of U.N. Resolution 1414 and given the U.S. permission to invade. Other White House officials, however, said the Turkey vote and the capture last weekend of al Qaeda official Khalid Shaikh Mohammed may allow Bush to save face and back off from his hard-line stance on Iraq, while allowing U.N. inspectors to continue their work.
?We?ve always needed an exit strategy,? said one White House aide. ?Circumstances have given us one. Perhaps we shouldn?t ignore it.?