American commander in Iraq asks for more troops
- The following article, attributed to Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel
of Knight Ridder Newspapers, appeared on page A2 of the Wednesday, July 2,
2003 edition of The Arizona Republic. This is truly a sign that the Iraqi
people are winning the war, and American imperialists are being spread
U.S. CHIEF SEEKING MORE TROOPS
Extra Help Needed To Curb Iraqi Violence
Washington--The top American administrator in Iraq, confronting growing anti-
U.S. anger and guerrilla-style attacks, is asking for more American troops
and dozens of U.S. officials to help speed up the restoration of order and
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is reviewing the request from L. Paul
Bremer, U.S. officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Bremer's request underscores how difficult it has been for his small civilian
staff and about 158,000 U.S.-led troops to meet the demands of Iraqis for
security and other basic needs. It also conflicts with upbeat public
statements from President Bush, Rumsfeld and Bremer himself on the progress
made on Iraq's political and economic reconstruction.
"It is a legitimate critique of this administration that we did a brilliant
job of planning the war, we didn't do a brilliant job of planning what's
going on now," a senior Defense official said.
Senior American officials said Bremer asked for dozens of civilian
officials to make up for a shortage of skilled Iraqi administrators who
weren't closely affiliated with Saddam's regime. In addition, more U.S.
troops are needed as a "stopgap measure" until international peacekeepers
start to arrive, one American official said. None of the officials said how
many troops Bremer had requested.
The Pentagon has been looking for three international divisions, about
60,000 troops. The deployment is being held up because some countries say
they can't afford it.
The United States is exploring the creation of an international fund that
oil-rich Persian Gulf nations, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, would be
asked to finance to help pay for peacekeeping, said a State Department
official, who also requested anonymity.
Rumsfeld doesn't want to send more than the 146,000 American soldies already
in Iraq, and the issue is being fiercely debated, the U.S. officials said.
"It is inconceivable that Rumsfeld and (Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul)
Wolfowitz are fighting this because it would mean admitting they were
wrong," a senior administration official said.
He was referring to a rejection by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz of an estimate by
former Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki that several hundred
thousand U.S. troops would be required to ensure stability in post-Saddam
A Defense Department spokesman said the Pentagon wouldn't discuss any
communications between Bremer and Rumsfeld.