Friday, February 20, 2004

US troops to stay in Iraq for years. 

Surprise! So that would make the June 30 hand over of sovreignty, well, an election-driven piece of foofraw, right? Robert Burns of the AP writes in the LA Times here:

American officials say U.S. forces will be needed in Iraq long after a sovereign government is restored this summer, but they have yet to work out the terms of a continued presence.

Senior Pentagon officials said Thursday they were confident that the Iraqis, once given political control, would agree U.S. troops should stay. But some outside the government question whether that would hold true once an elected Iraqi government took over.

"I think there's a fairly comfortable understanding that the coalition has a lot to offer with respect to continued security in Iraq," [Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's chief spokesman, Larry Di Rita] said, and "that people in Iraq understand that (and) want the coalition to continue to be involved in security in some way."

For planning purposes, the Army is assuming it will have to keep roughly 100,000 troops in Iraq for at least another two years, the Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, told Congress recently.

Not that the Bush malAdministration would do something like, you know, budget for that or anything...

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