"I have no affection for Mr. Assad," Gen. Colin Powell said of the Syrian President on "Face the Nation" Sunday. Recalling interactions with the leader from his days serving as President George W. Bush's Secretary of State, Powell continued, saying, "I've dealt with him, I know him. And he is a pathological liar with respect to my interaction with him."
Despite his read on Assad though, Powell also has major concerns about the alternative to Assad's regime.
"I am less sure of the resistance, what do they represent? Is it becoming even more radicalized with al-Qaeda coming in. What would it look like if they prevail and Assad went? I don't know."
Later in the program, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Rep. Michael McCaul R-Texas, the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, both expressed concerns about U.S. intervention in Syria.
"We can't let ourselves get into a situation where this becomes a springboard for a general military option," Reed warned.
McCaul agreed that many types of U.S. intervention would be unpopular with Congress and many Americans. "I don't think that American people have an appetite to put troops on the ground in Syria," he said.
Chairman McCaul stressed that the U.S. must secure the chemical weapons used in last week's attack in a Damascus suburb.
"My greatest fear as chairman of Homeland Security is these weapons ending up in the wrong hands of some al-Qaida jihadists, who we know are there fighting in the rebel forces, and that could be a direct threat not only to Western interest in the Middle East, but also directly to the homeland security of the United States," McCaul said. Read more about our conversation on U.S. options in Syria at Politico and Newsmax.
Turning to the portion of our broadcast dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, Powell shared his thoughts about the current state of race relations in America.
"If Dr. King was here, I'm quite sure he would say, 'Congratulations on all the progress that's been made, but let's keep going. The dream is not fully achieved yet," he said.
Gen. Powell also weighed in on the Trayvon Martin verdict, a story that's raised hundreds of questions about race relations in the U.S. over the past year.
"I think that it will be seen as a questionable judgment on the part of the judicial system down there, but I don't know if it will have staying power," Powell told Bob Schieffer, "these cases come along and they blaze across the midnight sky and then ... they're forgotten." Powell's view on the Zimmerman verdict was picked up by The Associated Press, The Daily Caller, The Washington Post, Politico, Newsmax, The Hill, RealClearPolitics, United Press International, Talking Points Memo, The National Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Mail, and The Examiner.
Asked about President Obama's response to the Zimmerman verdict, Powell said the President has responsibility to speak on the issue of race, "not just because he's the first black president, but because he is the President of the United States."
"I think all leaders, black and white, should speak out on this issue," he added.
Bob Schieffer also interviewed Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. Lewis remembered aloud being prodded to tone down his speech at the last minute. He told Schieffer about the last minute advice he received from advisers and mentors, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Some people thought my speech as a little too strong, some would say maybe a little too militant," Lewis explained.
"I said in the beginning, in my prepared text, I thought the Kennedy-proposed legislation was too little and that it was too late. And in another part of the speech, I said, 'You tell us to wait. You tell us to be patient. We cannot wait. We cannot be patient. We want our freedom and we want it now.'"
You can read more about our conversation with Lewis at Politico.