Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In Contrast to His Previous Views, Retired General Writes of 'Strategic Peril'

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 28, 2007; Page A11

An influential retired Army general released a dire assessment of the situation in Iraq, based on a recent round of meetings there with Gen. David H. Petraeus and 16 other senior U.S. commanders.

"The population is in despair," retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey wrote in an eight-page document compiled in his capacity as a professor at West Point. "Life in many of the urban areas is now desperate."

McCaffrey is widely respected in the military, having fought in the Vietnam War, commanded a division in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and later served as the commander for U.S. military operations in Central America and South America. After retiring, he became President Bill Clinton's director of drug policy.

McCaffrey, who has met twice with President Bush to discuss the war, most recently in December, was scheduled to brief White House officials on his conclusions late yesterday.

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