Press Conference: With Troops in Iraq, America is Less Safe


QUESTION: Do you feel that the number of troops that you’ve kept there is limiting your options elsewhere in the world? …

BUSH: I appreciate that question.

The person I asked that to — the person I asked that to, at least, is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, my top military adviser.


I said, Do you feel that we’ve limited our capacity to deal with other problems because of our troop levels in Iraq? And the answer is no, he doesn’t feel we’re limited. He feels like we’ve got plenty of capacity.

You mentioned the Korean Peninsula. We’ve got good capacity in Korea.

Perhaps Gen. Myers was being coy that day. Here’s what he said in February:

Joint Chief of Staff chairman Gen. Richard Myers told Congress that the US military “would have trouble responding as quickly and effectively as commanders would like if it had to go to war in Iran or North Korea.” Myers “said a sudden military crisis in one of those two nations…would likely force the Pentagon to remobilize reserve and Guard components that have rotated home from Iraq to rest.” [USA Today, 2/17/05]