This I didn't know as such:

The former American secretary of state Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2 and a half hours vainly trying to persuade President George W Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today’s conflict cannot be resolved by US forces.

"I tried to avoid this war," Powell said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. "I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers."

Powell has become increasingly outspoken about the level of violence in Iraq, which he believes is in a state of civil war. "The civil war will ultimately be resolved by a test of arms," he said. "It's not going to be pretty to watch, but I don’t know any way to avoid it. It is happening now."

He added: "It is not a civil war that can be put down or solved by the armed forces of the United States." All the military could do, Powell suggested, was put "a heavier lid on this pot of boiling sectarian stew".

Ross was swooning over Powell at Aspen. With caveats, of course. James Bennet: not so much.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.