WASHINGTON - Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the Persian Gulf War has made it safer to cut the U.S. military budget.
"Think hard about it," Powell told the Army Times newspaper in an interview published yesterday. "I'm running out of demons. I'm running out of villains. I'm down to (Fidel) Castro and Kim Il Sung," he said, referring to the leaders of Cuba and North Korea.
Powell also said he would be "very surprised if another Iraq occurred. Iraq has spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 billion or $60 billion over the past 10 or 12 years. Whether that kind of wealth is around and whether anybody wishes to invest that wealth in hardware for war is unlikely."
The general made these remarks to support his view that the Bush administration can safely proceed with its plan, drawn up before the Gulf War began, to cut the military budget by 3 percent in each of the next five years.
Powell and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney have said over the past several months that the Warsaw Pact is finished as a military organization and that a Soviet invasion of Western Europe almost