Contrary To Pentagon Claims, Gen. Casey Still Warning Against Troop Escalation In Iraq

general-casey2.jpg On Dec. 23, an anonymous Defense Department official told the Los Angeles Times that top American military commanders in Iraq, including Gen. George Casey, had “decided to recommend a ‘surge’ of fresh American combat forces.”

But in an interview last Friday, Casey told reporters that he still has doubts about an President Bush’s troop escalation plan in Iraq. From today’s New York Times:

The longer we in the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq’s security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias. And the other thing is that they can continue to blame us for all of Iraq’s problems, which are at base their problems. … It’s always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq over the long term.

Additionally, according to Casey’s spokesman, the general, as of Dec. 23, had “not recommended more troops be sent here.”

The Bush administration has been heavily pushing the idea that there is support for troop escalation in Iraq. But in reality, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are unanimously opposed to Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, as are prominent conservative senators, including outgoing Foreign Relations committee chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) and outgoing Judiciary committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA). Many military officials believe that Bush has tried to bribe them into supporting his escalation plan by offering a tradeoff of increasing the size of the military.

Casey was “scheduled to shift out of Iraq in the summer.” But that now may “happen in February or March.”