Home>News Center>World

General says troops in Iraq 'stretched'
Updated: 2006-01-27 08:41

The top U.S. commander in Iraq acknowledged on Thursday that the U.S. Army was stretched but insisted forces here were capable of accomplishing their mission and any recommendation to reduce troops further would be dictated by the situation on the battlefield.

U.S. officials said Gen. George Casey was speaking about the Army in general and not specifically about the 136,000-strong force in Iraq. However, his comments are likely to fuel a debate inside the U.S. government over whether the United States can sustain the fight long enough to break the back of the Sunni Arab-led insurgency.

"The forces are stretched ... and I don't think there's any question of that," Casey told reporters. "But the Army has been for the last several years going through a modernization strategy that will produce more units and more ready units."

A fuel tanker burns after being hit with gunfire from unknown attackers, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq.
A fuel tanker burns after being hit with gunfire from unknown attackers, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq. [AP]
Casey said he had discussed manpower strains with Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker on Wednesday and that the Army chief of staff feels he can sustain missions around the world. Casey was adamant that the troops in Iraq were getting the job done.

"So, yep, folks are stretched here but they certainly accomplish their mission, and the forces that you've seen on the ground are absolutely magnificent," Casey added.

In Washington, President Bush brushed aside talk that the United States could not prevail in Iraq.

"If the question is whether or not we can win victory in Iraq, our commanders will have the troops necessary to do that. If the question is, Can we help keep the peace in a place like the Far East? Absolutely," Bush told reporters.

"And let me use the Far East as an example of what I'm talking about," the president continued. "There were some 30,000 on the South Korean peninsula. As you might remember, we reduced the amount of manpower and replaced it with technology."

Meanwhile, the U.S. command announced that two more American soldiers died Wednesday — one in a bombing south of Baghdad and a second of wounds suffered in a rocket attack in Ramadi. At least 2,238 members of the U.S. military have died since the war began, according to an Associated Press count.

At least 11 Iraqis were killed Thursday in attacks around the country, police said.
Page: 12

Most Earth-like planet found
Japan's rocket blasts off with land-observation satellite
Canadians vote Monday
  Today's Top News     Top World News

Hamas captures landslide parliamentary win



China welcomes Russian nuke proposal



Hukou blamed for compensation discrepancy



Top Banker: Forex policy in good shape



Medical disaster brings ministry warning



Japan, China to hold talks February 10-11


  Hamas captures landslide parliamentary win
  Harper calls for apology to Chinese-Canadians
  Israel tried to kill bin Laden in 1996
  China backs plan to have Iran's uranium enriched in Russia
  Cold claims more lives in Europe, snow covers south
  Signature of Ukraine-Russia gas deal put off again
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Iraqi women to be freed from US custody
Separate roadside bomb blasts kill four
Germany: No contact with Iraqi kidnappers
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.