Did AP Distort Abizaid On Iraq?
Gen. says U.S. may boost forces in Iraq reads an AP headline from today. Forget that they buried his real position a few graphs down. Read this passage, then the one below.
"If it's necessary to do that because the military situation on the ground requires that, we'll do it," he said. "If we have to call in more forces because it's our military judgment that we need more forces, we'll do it."
Abizaid said that right now the current number of troops "are prudent force levels" that are achieving the needed military effect.
This below is from a transcript of General Abizaid on CNN with Wolf Blitzer from yesterday.
WOLF: The president keeps saying he relies on you and General Casey, the commander in Iraq, for advice. That if you say to him, we need more troops, he will give you more troops. Are you ready to tell the president you need more troops?
ABIZAID: No, I just talked to General Casey about it the other day. We've got a reserve formation that's down in the Kuwait area. We've got additional reserves that belong to me in the Arabian Gulf area. We don't see a need to commit them to the fight yet, and until they're committed, we don't see a need to ask for more you should the present circumstances. On the other hand, this notion that troop levels are static is not true. Never has been true, and it won't be true. We'll ask for what we need when we need it, but it's key, wolf, that the Iraqi military take on more and more responsibility. It's a hard thing to do. It's hard to have a U.S. Formation in the same area that could do the job and an Iraqi unit that's not quite as ready doing the same job, and letting them get through it.
Could force levels be increased in Iraq? Certainly. No responsible General in any on going war would ever want to get trapped into a position where that might not eventuate. But did Abizaid's statements warrant that particular AP headline?
In my opinion it fits more with someone's anti-war politics than it does the story being reported.