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Thread: U.S. General Casts Doubt On 2006 Troop Cut In Iraq

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    U.S. General Casts Doubt On 2006 Troop Cut In Iraq

    U.S. general casts doubt on 2006 troop cut in Iraq

    By Will Dunham Wed Sep 28, 7:36 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. general in Iraq on Wednesday cast doubt on his previous forecasts of a substantial cut in American forces in 2006, saying Iraq was in a period of heightened uncertainty that made it "too soon to tell" if troops can be brought home.

    In March and again in July, Army Gen. George Casey, who commands the 147,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, predicted a "fairly substantial" reduction in American forces next spring and summer if Iraq's political process goes positively and progress is made in developing Iraqi security forces. Pentagon officials said that meant a reduction of perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 troops.

    After briefing U.S. lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Casey was more cautious when asked whether the troop reduction was still possible.

    "I think right now we're in a period of a little greater uncertainty than when I was asked that question back in July and March," Casey told reporters, noting that Iraqis vote on a draft constitution in an October 15 referendum and, if they endorse it, then elect a new government on December 15.

    "This constitutional referendum and whether it is supported by the Sunnis to a large degree, I think, is something that we just have to watch to see how that comes out. So until we're done with this political process here, with the referendum and the elections in December, I think it's too soon to tell."

    The draft constitution largely reflects the views of the Shi'ite Muslim majority and the Kurds leading the U.S.-backed Iraqi government rather than the minority Sunni Arabs who controlled Iraq under deposed President Saddam Hussein. Iraq's insurgency draws the bulk of its support from the Sunni Arab community.

    "One of the most positive trends that we see across Iraq is the willingness of the Sunnis to participate in a political process. We have seen them registering in large numbers in all of the major Sunni provinces," Casey said.

    Some Sunni political and religious leaders have urged Sunnis to register to vote in the referendum and plan to mount a "no" campaign with a view to defeating the constitution.

    Casey was joined by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, in separate briefings on the Iraq war to members of the Senate and House of Representatives. They appeared earlier in the day with President George W. Bush at the White House and were due to testify on Thursday before the Senate and House armed services committees.

    "There was nothing that we heard today to suggest that we are coming out of Iraq soon," Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin (news, bio, voting record) told reporters. "There is no indication from the president or the leadership that they have a plan that will bring our troops home soon."

    "And in terms of the capability of the Iraqis to fend for themselves, defend their country, there's been no clear indication from this administration that they have the stand-up capability to do that. And until that happens, there is no end in sight," Durbin added.

    Violence by the insurgency continued unabated. There have been 1,922 U.S. military deaths in the 2-1/2 years since U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq in March 2003 in a war whose primary justification offered by Bush was ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were found.

    Rumsfeld said Casey presented lawmakers "his strategy and plans in Iraq in detail."

    "So the suggestion that there isn't a plan strikes me as more a talking point than a reality," Rumsfeld said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    Of course not! If they cut too many troops in 06 how can they invade Iran later on?

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