Generals bash Bush on Iraq surge

Jan. 19, 2007 at 2:48 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Retired senior U.S. generals Thursday told Congress they had little faith in President Bush's "surge" plan to stabilize Baghdad.

Even retired four star Gen. Jack Keane, the former U.S. Army vice chief of staff, who advised Bush to boost U.S. force levels in the Iraqi capital, was critical in his testimony, the Navy Times reported.

Keane said he recommended sending far more troops than the 21,500 envisaged in the president's plan and he also said he opposed allowing Iraqi military forces to take the leading role in the envisaged Baghdad operations.

Giving Iraqi forces the lead role "makes no sense to me. I don't understand that," Keane said in his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The plan would remove Iraqi forces from direct U.S. control and allow them to operate autonomously, he said.

"We don't have unity of command, therefore you don't have unity of effort," Keane said. "Every time we do something like that we have military problems."

Retired four star Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey was even more scathing about the new "surge" strategy. "I personally think the surge of five U.S. Army brigades and a few Marine battalions dribbled out over five months is a fool's errand," he said.

Retired four star Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, the former head of U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, which includes the Iraq theater of operations, urged a full pull-out of U.S. forces from Iraq.

"In the Marines, we say, 'When you're in a hole, stop digging,'" he said.

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