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Pentagon rebuffs troop criticism

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Pentagon rebuffs troop criticism

The Pentagon has defended Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld against charges there were not enough troops in Iraq at the time of the invasion.

In a statement, it said Mr Rumsfeld took advice from military commanders when deciding on troop levels.

The statement responds to criticism from the former civilian administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer.

On Monday, Mr Bremer said the US had paid a "big price" for having too few troops on the ground in May 2003.

In a speech reported by the Washington Post, he said he had arrived in Baghdad on 6 May 2003 to find "horrid" looting and an unstable situation.

"We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness... We never had enough troops on the ground," he said.

Mr Bremer later said he had supported the invasion and believed current troop numbers in Iraq were sufficient.

But the speech added to the woes of Mr Rumsfeld, who this week has also had to back-pedal on remarks in which he said he had found no "strong, hard evidence" linking former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.


In its statement, the Pentagon said Mr Rumsfeld "relied upon the recommendations of the military commanders... as the basis for decisions regarding force levels".

"Before, during, and subsequent to Mr Bremer's tenure", commanders believed the US had an appropriate level of forces, the statement says.

The statement says that while in Iraq, "Mr Bremer was understandably interested in - but not in charge of - security issues".

This looks like quite a put-down for Mr Bremer, says the BBC's Nick Childs at the Pentagon.

The release of a formal statement reflects the political fallout from Mr Bremer's comments.

But it will not halt the argument - Mr Bremer merely added fuel to a debate over US troop levels that has long been raging, says our correspondent.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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There was a news clip about what Bremer said that was on the local ABC news last night.

Bremer said that what he had said was taken out of context and that he was referring to the early stages of the ground war only, and thinks that there are just enough people there right now and that the war is being handled correctly.

He also said that he supports President Bush in his handling of the Iraq war. It was also mentioned that Bremer is a big supporter for the Bush re-election.

In my opinion Bremer made the comment in all seriouseness not realizing that it would be picked up and used against Bush like it was; I would be willing to bet good money that there were a few quickly placed phone calls from the Bush camp to Bremer to work on damage control, hence the back peddling...

That will teach him to express an opinion that goes contrary to the bush doctrine... rolleyes.gif

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or perhaps its indicative of a media who loves to take things out of context:)

both cases are equally likely

hell if CBS was involved, he wouldn't have even needed to say it, a recording of someone else saying it would have been good enough because the 'information in it is correct'


Edited by bathory

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