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Senators Concerned About American Ops in Iraq, Afghanistan

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2003 – Following meetings with DoD leadership, Senate Armed Services Committee members said they are concerned about the continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the breakfast meeting with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the senators also discussed the 2004 DoD budget request and received an operational briefing from Joint Chiefs chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers.

Virginia Sen. John Warner, committee chairman, called the discussions "thorough and far-ranging." He said the senators also expressed their concern for the loss of Americans still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Warner noted he has requested that Rumsfeld come before the committee to talk about the situation in Iraq.

"All America has a deep concern about the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said during a press conference following the Pentagon meeting. "We're very proud of the achievements of our men and women in uniform; we understand that any situation like this has its unexpected turns."

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin said he would like to see more information on the situation in Iraq. "I've said a number of times, that I don't think the administration has been forthcoming in terms of how many forces for how long," he stated. Levin said he is not asking for precise numbers, but he would like a rough estimate. He noted he will question Lt. Gen. John Abizaid, President Bush's nominee to be the next U.S. Central Command commander, at his confirmation hearing this week on the subject.

Levin said that DoD is conducting a resources assessment that will be ready by the end of June.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts said that Myers had discussed the help allies will provide to the coalition. He said Myers indicated there will be two more divisions of international troops in Iraq by August.

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