Wednesday, September 20, 2006

'Iraq strength to remain stable'...

Slide showFrom Marine Corps Times:
The top U.S. commander in the Middle East said Tuesday that he believes American troop levels will remain stable in Iraq at least through next spring.

White House and Pentagon officials had previously expressed some optimism that troop levels could be reduced in Iraq by the end of this year, but that hope has faded with a spike in sectarian violence and a lack of Iraqi governance.

“If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said that we would be down a couple more brigades from what we currently have,” said Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, in a Sept. 19 meeting with reporters in Washington “We clearly did not achieve the force levels that we had hoped to.”

More than 140,000 American troops are now in Iraq, and Abizaid said he thinks that level “will probably have to be sustained through the spring. And then we’ll re-evaluate.” ...

... “That, in and of itself, is enough to do the military tasks that need to be done — not everywhere all the time equally, but to bring Iraq to stability over time, provided governance and institution-building takes place,” he [Gen. Abizaid]said.
Stay the course.

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