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View Diary: [UPDATED] Northern Command Unit READY - BUT WAITED on Bush Orders (224 comments)

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  •  Here's an article from WaPo on that (none)
    quoting Gen. Vines of the Pentagon as saying that there's no need now for more troops. Vines' aide claimed he had never heard of the Pentagon plan to boost troop strength by 20,000. Clearly brass don't want to admit that they can't find the troops, or tie the current problem to Katrina (which Bush has denied is any problem whatever).

    The U.S. military has dropped plans to boost its presence in Iraq by more than 20,000 troops to safeguard elections, a senior U.S. commander indicated Friday, with Hurricane Katrina putting demands on a force already stretched thin by the conflicts here and in Afghanistan.

    <snip>

    Vines made no mention of the 160,000 figure that Pentagon officials gave late last month. Vines's aides could not be reached for comment Friday night, and a senior military spokesman in Iraq had no explanation for the lower number.

    "Plans may have changed," said Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, the spokesman, who said he had not known of the Pentagon's plans to have 160,000 troops on hand for the elections.

    Vines's announcement came as complaints grew in the United States that deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan had slowed the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

    <snip>

    In western Iraq, meanwhile, local leaders in the predominantly Sunni Arab region appealed Friday to U.S. troops to stay away from voting centers, fearing their presence would draw attacks by foreign insurgents.

    <snip>

    Residents of the western city of Fallujah intend to secure the voting centers themselves, the police chief, Gen. Sabah Khalil Ani, told reporters there. "The tribal leaders and people in Fallujah asked us to keep U.S. forces away from the centers," Ani said.

    Residents, not U.S. Marines, should protect the polling places, said Abdullah Mahmood, the cleric at the Farouk mosque in Fallujah. The presence of Marine guards would only serve to convince Iraqis "that Americans wrote the constitution and not the Iraqis," he said.

    Political officials in Anbar province have voiced the same sentiment in recent weeks.

    The last bit is particularly disturbing confirmation of what war critics have been saying for more than a year--that the presence of US troops is destabilizing in and of itself. Where does this leave the administration's argument that we need to keep forces in Iraq until Iraqis can take charge of maintaining order? The statements quoted here sound an awful lot like an invitation to leave.

    DowningStreetMemo.com Bush $ Cheney won't read the DSM. Get a jump on them.

    by smintheus on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 12:35:08 PM PDT

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