Results 1 to 1 of 1
09-07-07, 02:09 PM #1
Petraeus wants surge to last until spring
Petraeus wants surge to last until spring
Top general suggest modest withdrawal then
By Pauline Jelinek - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Sep 7, 2007 12:08:06 EDT
The top U.S. commander in Iraq says he wants to continue the troop buildup there until next spring, amid divisions in the Bush administration over whether to bring some forces home months earlier than that.
When he delivers a much-anticipated report to Congress on Monday, Army Gen. David Petraeus said he expects to advise that there could be a gradual reduction of forces beginning in the spring because of some of the successes achieved so far with the escalation ordered by President Bush in January.
“Based on the progress our forces are achieving, I expect to be able to recommend that some of our forces will be redeployed without replacement,” Petraeus said in an e-mail to the Boston Globe and published in its Friday editions.
“The bottom line is that ... I do not envision that the U.S. would need to send more troops,” he said, adding that commanders are planning for how remaining troops will be deployed around Iraq “as the surge of forces inevitably runs its course.”
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that administration officials said Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker recommended to Bush that he stand by his current war strategy.
But they also said that Bush was considering a symbolic reduction in troops by year’s end. Sen. John Warner, R.-Va., a former Armed Services Committee chairman, Navy secretary and key player on military issues on Capitol Hill, also has suggested that some troops be brought home by Christmas as a gesture.
The U.S. would be hard-pressed to maintain the current level of nearly 170,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely.
Bush himself suggested that modest troop cuts may be possible if military successes continue, but he gave no timeline or specific numbers. Speaking to reporters Wednesday during his attendance at the APEC summit in Australia, he restated his view that decisions about troop levels should be based on recommendations from military commanders.
Reducing troops before spring runs the risk that “you are going to unhinge” security gains made with the buildup, said Col. Steve Boylan, Petraeus’ chief spokesman.
The five brigades sent as part of the buildup arrived from January to June, and the first will complete its 15-month tour in April.
Petraeus is one of many who are advising Bush on Iraq. The Joint Chiefs of Staff met with Bush last week and conveyed its concern that the troop buildup should come to an early end because of the increasing strain that it has put on troops and their families as a result of long and repeated combat tours.
Bush met privately at the Pentagon with the service chiefs and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in preparation for decisions about how long to sustain the buildup, whether to change course this fall and how to restore vibrancy to the heavily stressed Army and Marine Corps.
The Petraeus appearance before Congress will follow the release of a host of grim assessments of conditions in Iraq over the past several weeks — providing fresh impetus for Democrats demanding troop withdrawals.
An independent panel led by retired Marine Gen. James Jones recommended that the Iraqis assume more control of their nation’s security and that U.S. forces, seen as an occupying and permanent force, should step back. Its report, presented to Congress on Thursday, contended that “significant reductions, consolidations and realignments would appear to be possible and prudent.”
The Jones panel also found that Iraq’s security forces would be unable to take control in the next 12 months to 18 months and recommended that its national police force be scrapped and entirely rebuilt because of corruption and sectarianism.
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, reported Tuesday that Iraq has failed to meet 11 of its 18 political and security goals. The agency’s head, U.S. Comptroller David Walker, was scheduled to appear Friday before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss the report.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)