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Richmond Times-Dispatch
October 4, 2006

War Plan Needs No Further Troops

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The recent article, "Rumsfeld Criticized," contains the inaccurate claim that Secretary of Defense Donald "Rumsfeld altered [the Iraq war plan] considerably by sending in 'far too few' troops." As Gen. Tommy Franks, the former commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate in July 2003, when he was still in command in Iraq: "There has been [the] suggestion that perhaps there should be more troops. And in fact, I can tell you . . . that if more troops are necessary, this secretary's going to say yes."

The secretary has regularly asked Gen. John Abizaid, the current commander of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. George Casey, the commander of Multinational Force-Iraq, if they have all the necessary resources, and, if not, what more is required to carry out a successful campaign. Commanders in the field have consistently said they need more capable Iraqi forces, not American troops. And with some 300,000 Iraqi Security Forces currently trained and equipped, that is exactly what is happening.

Bryan Whitman, Deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, Washington, D.C.

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