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Gates: Discussed Possibility Of More US Troops In Iraq December 20, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Military News, US News.

BAGHDAD (AP)–New U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in an unannounced trip to the battlefront, discussed the possibility of boosting U.S. troop strength in Iraq with U.S. commanders there but has made no decisions about what to do, he said Wednesday.

On just his third day in his post, Gates journeyed to Iraq armed with a mandate from President George W. Bush to help forge a new Iraq war strategy. His goal is get advice from his top military commanders on a new strategy for the increasingly unpopular, costly and chaotic war -a conflict that Bush conceded Tuesday the U.S. is not winning.

“We discussed the obvious things,” Gates told reporters after meeting with top U.S. generals. “We discussed the possiblity of a surge and the potential for what it might accomplish.”

Gates said he was only beginning the process of determining how to reshape U.S. policy in the war. He said before making final decisions, he would also confer with top Iraqi officials about what the future U.S. role in the country should be.

Gates spoke to reporters after meeting with commanders including Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, and Gen. George Casey, the top commander in Iraq.

Abizaid and Casey have both raised questions in the past about the value of sending thousands of extra troops into Iraq, where violence has been rising in recent months.


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