(CNN) - The U.S. government intends to have all its troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011, and it's up to the Iraqis to make that timetable work, Vice President Joe Biden said.
In an interview with ABC News' "This Week" during his trip to Iraq that ended Sunday, Biden said a collapse by Iraq into civil war once U.S. troops depart would be "a tragic outcome."
President Barack Obama remains committed to withdrawing combat troops by the end of August 2010 and all U.S. forces out by the end of 2011, he said.
"That is our intention," Biden said, noting that Iraqi elections scheduled for early 2010 would offer the nation an opportunity for a major step forward.
"It is our expectation that election will come out peacefully," he said.
On another issue, Biden refused to speculate on what the United States would do if Israel decided to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
“What we can’t continue to have is to have somebody like a Judge Sotomayor, who is announced, and based on one simple, tricky but nonetheless case that the Supreme Court has now decided, have her called a racist or a reverse racist, and she ought to withdraw her nomination because we’re mad at her,” Powell said Sunday in an interview that aired on CNN’s State of the Union.
“She seems like a very gifted and accomplished woman,” Powell also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “She certainly has an open and liberal bent of mind, but that’s not disqualifying. But she seems to have a judicial record that seems to be balanced and tries to follow the law. And so I hope we do have a spirited set of hearings.”
“And, she ought to be asked about everything from both the left and the right,” Powell said of the woman who would become the first Latina on the nation’s highest court if confirmed by the Senate.
Pointing to his own life, Powell also weighed in on the issue of affirmative action more generally – an issue likely to be a focus of Sotomayor’s upcoming confirmation hearings.
“You don’t have an obligation to bring in anybody who’s not able to do the work. You should always have qualifications. But once you have those qualifications, is there something wrong with a taxpayer-funded institution not making sure that it is representing the entire public, the entire population? And I think that’s a good rule for private institutions as well.
Call it affirmative action. Call it diversity. It goes under lots of different names.
“I have a hunch that maybe 55 years ago, somebody took a look at my rather mediocre high school grades, but at the same time thought ‘maybe this kid can make it.’ And they let me in the City College of New York.”
“A dictator is gone. A despicable regime is gone,” the former Secretary of State under George W. Bush said Sunday in an interview that aired on CNN’s State of the Union. “And the Iraqi people have been given a chance to have a representative form of government, living in peace with its neighbors. We’ll have to see what history's judgment of that will be.”
The retired general also gave his take on recent celebrations in Iraq as a deadline passed for U.S. troops withdrew from the country’s major cities.
“I think we should just pocket this,” Powell told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King about celebrations in the streets that heralded the U.S. pull-back.
“They are happy. They have made it clear from the very beginning that they wanted to be free and independent. And they didn’t want to be an occupied nation, which they were when we were there, and now that is starting to change.
“But this is not yet over. . . . it’s now up to the Iraqis to solidify their representative government system and make sure they have the security forces that can handle all of this.”
“They’re now responsible for their own destiny,” Powell added.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former D.C. mayor, now Washington councilman, Marion Barry has been arrested again.
On July 4, the U.S. Park Police arrested Barry and charged him with misdemeanor stalking.
About 8:45 p.m. in Anacostia Park, a Washington woman flagged down a Park Police officer on patrol and pointed to Barry, who was in another car. The woman said Barry was stalking her, Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser said.
Barry was taken into custody, processed and released, but he must make a court appearance for the charge. A court date has not been set.