U.S. generals differ on Iraq troop plan

Aug. 25, 2007 at 9:05 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- There is disagreement among top U.S. generals about the number and rate of troop withdrawals from Iraq, the New York Times said Saturday.

Pentagon sources told the newspaper the debate is getting more intense in the run-up to next month's report to Congress by Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq.

Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, are said to be leaning toward steep reductions by the end of 2008.

Most of the 160,000 U.S. soldiers are now serving 15 months in Iraq and get a year or less at home.

In a video briefing Friday, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the Third Infantry Division in Iraq, warned against cutting back U.S. troops.

"What would happen is the enemy would come back," Lynch told reporters. "He’d start building the bombs again, he’d start attacking the locals again, he'd start exporting that violence to Baghdad. We would take a giant step backward."

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