Hardly a vote of confidence – New US General refuses to promise success
Could Lt. Gen. David Petraeus sound any more upbeat? The 21 000 troops can’t do what the ‘surge’ hopes to do and Bush’s claim of 20 000 + troops may start climbing. Right wing think tankers want 50 000 troops. This from ABC News
New U.S. Commander in Iraq Refuses to Promise Success
President Bush's pick as the new top commander on the ground in Iraq today offered a dour assessment of the war, calling the situation dire and making no promises of success. Lt. Gen. David Petraeus told senators in his first appearance in a Capitol Hill hearing since being nominated as the four-star commander in Iraq that factional violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq has increased significantly since the bombing this past February of the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra, the third-holiest Shiite shrine. "The escalation of violence in 2006 undermined the coalition strategy and raised the prospect of a failed Iraqi state, an outcome that would be in no group's interest, save that of certain extremist organizations and perhaps states in the region that wish Iraq and the [United] States ill," Petraeus told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "In truth, no one can predict the impact of a failed Iraq on regional stability, the international economy, the global war on terror, America's standing in the world and the lives of the Iraqi people," he said. "The situation in Iraq is dire. The stakes are high. There are no easy choices. The way ahead will be very hard."
Nevertheless, he added "hard is not hopeless."
Army Chief of Staff Defends General Who Called for More Troops Before War
ABC's Dean Norland reports: In the House Armed Services Committee hearing this morning, Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker said that history has demonstrated that then-Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki was correct when in February 2003, he suggested several hundred thousand troops would be needed to invade Iraq. When Shinseki called for several hundred thousand more troops, before the 2003 invasion, during testimony before the Congress, he was criticized by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Former deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz at the time called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark."