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Sunday, January 21, 2007

General: Iraq Esclation 'Too Little, Too Late'

President Bush's so-called "surge strategy" to increase U.S. troop strength in Iraq is unlikely to succeed, retired Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Hoar told lawmakers.

"The addition of 20,000 troops is too little too late. This is still not enough to quell the violence and without major changes in the command and control of forces within Baghdad, the current set-up of shared control is unsatisfactory," Hoar told lawmakers at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

President Bush earlier this month unveiled a so-called surge option to increase U.S. involvement in the conflict in Iraq. More than 3,000 U.S. service personnel have lost their lives in Iraq, a conflict that has now lasted longer than World War II. More than 34,000 Iraqis lost their lives in the sectarian violence that increasingly has consumed Iraq since the ouster of since-hanged Iraq strongman Saddam Hussein.

Retired Army Lt. General William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, believes the assumptions behind President Bush's new strategy in Iraq is flawed.

"It is strategic error of monumental proportions to view the war as confined to Iraq. Yet this is the implicit assumption on which the president's new strategy is based," Odom says. "We have turned it into two wars that vastly exceed the borders of Iraq. First, there is the war against the U.S. occupation that draws both sympathy and material support from other Arab countries. Second, there is the Shiite-Sunni war, a sectarian conflict heretofore sublimated within the Arab world but that now has opened the door to Iranian influence in Iraq. In turn, it fore ordains an expanding Iranian- Arab regional conflict. Any military proposals today that do not
account for both larger wars, as well as the Iranian threat to the Arab states on the Persian Gulf, must be judged as wholly inadequate if not counterproductive."

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