The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-325483 US/Iraq (L-O)
DATE:>
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=6/23/05

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=U.S. / IRAQ (L-O)

NUMBER=2-325483

BYLINE=MICHAEL BOWMAN

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

HEADLINE: US General: Iraqi Insurgency Maintaining Strength

INTRO: The commander of U.S. military forces in the Gulf region says the overall strength of Iraq's insurgency is unchanged from six months ago. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where a senior Democratic Senator has urged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign over alleged errors of judgment in Iraq.

TEXT: Flanked by Secretary Rumsfeld and other top U.S. military officers, General John Abizaid gave a sobering assessment of Iraq's insurgency in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

/// ABIZAID ACT ///

"In terms of foreign fighters, I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago. In terms of the overall strength of the insurgency, I would say it is about the same as it was."

/// END ACT ///

Last month, Vice President Dick Cheney said he believed the insurgency was dying out -- or, as he put it, "in the last throes." General Abizaid said it was not his intention to contradict Mr. Cheney, but that he stands by his assessment.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said he is sensitive to concerns about U.S. troop losses in Iraq, which stand at more than 17-hundred. But he insisted the sacrifices made are not in vain, and that progress is being made in Iraq.

/// RUMSFELD ACT ///

"Any who say that we have lost this war or losing this war are wrong. We are not. The objectives of the overwhelming majority of the Iraqis and the coalition are the same. That is a peaceful and prosperous Iraq with a representative government."

/// END ACT ///

Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy bluntly disagreed.

/// KENNEDY ACT ///

"We are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire. Our troops are dying, and there really is no end in sight."

/// END ACT ///

Secretary Rumsfeld doggedly disputed the "quagmire" characterization, saying the notion is fundamentally inconsistent with the facts in Iraq. He acknowledged that U.S. objectives for the country are not easily achieved and that much remains to be done. But he noted that dissenters and pessimists have criticized every military engagement in U.S. history -- including many, like the Second World War, that have since been judged great successes.

But Senator Kennedy did not appear impressed with this line of reasoning. He blamed Secretary Rumsfeld for a host of alleged misjudgments, beginning with inadequate U.S. troop levels in Iraq.

/// KENNEDY ACT ///

"There have been a series of gross errors and mistakes. Those were on your watch. Those were on your watch. Is it not time for you to resign?"

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Rumsfeld appeared to have anticipated the question.

/// RUMSFELD ACT ///

"Senator, I have offered my resignation to the president twice. And he has decided that he would prefer not to accept it. And that is his call."

/// END ACT ///

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Michigan Senator Carl Levin, said there should be no open-ended U.S. military presence in Iraq. Mr. Levin suggested that Iraq's new leaders be put on notice of an eventual drawing down of American forces in order to propel them to make speedier political progress and more aggressively work to pacify their nation.

Several Republicans countered that the only way to ensure defeat would be to prematurely withdraw U.S. servicemen from Iraq -- or to signal to insurgents that a withdrawal was being contemplated. (SIGNED)

NEB/MCB/FC/RH



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list