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US Joint Chiefs Balking At More Troops For Iraq December 20, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Military News, US News, World News.
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NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–The Bush administration is facing resistance from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff over a plan to increase U.S. troop presence in Iraq, The Washington Post reports in its Tuesday edition.

According to the Post, which cited “U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate,” White House officials are aggressively promoting a surge in troops over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs.

Which way President George W. Bush Bush is leaning remains unclear, according to the report.

The Joint Chiefs think the White House doesn’t have a defined mission and is proposing the surge idea, in part, because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public, the Post said. The chiefs have taken a firm stand, the sources say, because they believe the strategy review will be the most important decision on Iraq to be made since the March 2003 invasion.

Officials familiar with the debate told the Post that because of logistical reasons, the idea of a much larger military deployment for a longer mission is virtually off the table.

A senior administration official said it is “too simplistic” to say the surge question has broken down into a fight between the White House and the Pentagon, but the official acknowledged that the military has questioned the option, the Post reported. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said military officers have not directly opposed a surge option.

Robert M. Gates, who was sworn in Monday as defense secretary, is headed for Iraq this week and is expected to play a decisive role in resolving the debate, officials said, according to the report. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s views are still open, according to State Department officials.

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