Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Resistance to Deadlines for Iraq is Weakening

More U.S. officers doubt insurgents would gain, and believe that Baghdad must be pushed.

WASHINGTON -- Growing numbers of American military officers have begun to privately question a key tenet of U.S. strategy in Iraq — that setting a hard deadline for troop reductions would strengthen the insurgency and undermine efforts to create a stable state.


"It's basic counterinsurgency," said a military officer who has served in Baghdad and did not want to publicly disagree with the president's stated policy. "You have to have a trusted, capable government."

Some in the military argue that publicizing a timetable for reducing forces is far less damaging to a counterinsurgency campaign than the administration has suggested....

"The Powell Doctrine is all about overwhelming numbers of troops with specific missions, with specified end-states, for specified durations with — go figure — an exit strategy," said the officer who has served in Baghdad. "To not mention this stuff is actually counter to the contemporary military mind-set."

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