Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pentagon Leaders Express Doubt over Iraq Occupation

from The Wall Street Journal
In a major shift, many American civilian and military leaders have concluded that the insurgency can only be defeated politically. The best way to take some steam out of the insurgency and boost the growth of a credible home-grown government is to begin withdrawing troops, these officials argue. To be sure, they don't want a precipitous withdrawal, but they think a lower profile over time would ease some problems.

The large American military presence in Iraq "feeds the notion of occupation" and "extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant," Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told Congress last week. Gen. John Abizaid, a fluent speaker of Arabic and the top American commander in the Middle East, said at the same hearing that it was vital for the U.S. to gradually "reduce our military footprint" in the region. "We must make clear to the people of the region that we have no designs on their territory and resources," he added.

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