Rumsfeld Talks Troop Support, Iraq With Radio Personality
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2004 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld discussed troop support, Iraq and other defense issues during a Nov. 23 interview with radio personality Laura Ingraham.
The secretary first talked about the Pentagon's "America Supports You" program, which showcases nationwide public initiatives that support servicemembers and their families.
The program's Web site "is terrific," Rumsfeld stated, noting it's especially appropriate during the holiday season to recognize troops' service when so many are deployed overseas supporting the war against global terrorism.
Turning to Iraq, Ingraham asked Rumsfeld if U.S. troop levels would rise with the approach of the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections.
U.S. forces in Iraq would be boosted to above the current 140,000 troops through overlaps of unit rotations, the secretary replied, noting that military planners "expect an increase in the intensity" of insurgent attacks between now and the Jan. 30 elections.
And, Rumsfeld noted, about 115,000 Iraqi security forces are "now participating fully in the war."
The "real test" in establishing capable Iraqi security forces, the secretary said, is centered on morale and leadership, which determines how well a military organization performs under battle stress.
And Rumsfeld reported, the training of Iraqi military leaders "is taking hold."