Sam Nunn on Iraq: "It was the worst strategic error I've seen in modern times by the United States."
[Sam Nunn] hasn't ruled out another round in politics, although he says he has no inclination to run for office.
Nunn was widely viewed as the Senate's foremost authority on foreign and military affairs at the end of his 24-year career, in which he served as an influential chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He remains active in international affairs and is among a select group of former lawmakers who many current leaders look to for guidance.
He was asked but declined to serve on the Iraq Study Group led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton.
Nunn has sharp words for the Bush Administration's planning of the Iraq war.
"We've lost a lot of prestige and credibility in the world," he said. "I definitely think we made a real mistake going to war without the consensus of other countries ... we can't occupy a country successfully without cooperation from neighbors and countries around the globe.
"I think we're paying a very severe price for that right now," he added. "It was the worst strategic error I've seen in modern times by the United States."
"Our friends in a lot of places in the world are alarmed by the deterioration of our position in the world," he said. "We can restore it ... but to lead we have to listen, and we have to be perceived as listening.
"I don't think it's intentional, but we've come across as basically very arrogant in the last several years."
Nunn said he believes voters sent Bush - and the world - an important signal by ousting the president's party from power in November's elections.
Back in Georgia, he's not optimistic Democrats will retake political power anytime soon, but he said his party still can win statewide races.
His daughter, Michelle, could be one of them.
"She would have a real shot if she wanted to run," Nunn said of his daughter, who directs a national nonprofit group based in Atlanta and considered running for the Senate in 2004. "I think one of these days she may toss her hat in."