Defense Secretary Robert Gates traded ideas with Iraqi leaders Thursday about boosting military assistance for the embattled government and warned Iraq’s neighbors that the U.S. will be a presence in the Persian Gulf for a long time.
But on the second day of a visit to the war zone, the new Pentagon chief would not answer the key question on the minds of many, including U.S. troops: Will he recommend a short-term increase in the number of American forces in Iraq?
Speaking to reporters after meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi officials, Gates said the talks were “mainly on the overall approach, including the possibility of some additional assistance.” He said no numbers of additional troops were discussed.
“We were really talking in broad terms,” said Gates, who is in his first week as defense secretary.
Gates’ visit comes as President Bush reassesses U.S. policy in the war, which is solidly opposed by the American public after 3 1/2 years of bloodshed. Among the president’s options is whether to quickly add thousands of U.S. troops to the 140,000 already in Iraq, in hopes of staunching the escalating violence in Baghdad and elsewhere.
And what direction will REHAB FOR IRAQ TAKE?
More troops, pacification and tightening of Iran, Syria borders would be welcome first steps…..
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