Retired Generals Oppose Bush’s Surge

A panel of retired generals testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and were criticial of the planned escalation of the war:

“Too little and too late,” is the way Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, a former chief of the Central Command, described the effort to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The additional troops are intended to help pacify Baghdad and a restive province, but General Hoar said American leaders had failed to understand the political forces at work in the country. “The solution is political, not military,” he said.

“A fool’s errand,” was the judgment of Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who commanded troops in the first Gulf War. He said other countries had concluded that the effort in Iraq was not succeeding, noting that “our allies are leaving us and will be gone by summer.”

Describing the situation in Iraq as “desperate but not terminal,” he said Iraqis had to try to make political deals domestically and negotiate for stability with neighboring nations, particularly Syria and Iran.

The American effort in Iraq has gone badly because the United States did not understand the consequences of deposing Saddam Hussein, said Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, a former director of the National Security Agency. He said the principal beneficiary of the war was Iran and Al Qaeda, not the United States.

“There is no way to win a war that is not in your interests,” he said.

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