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U.S. Military Ready for 'Whatever, Whenever'

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2002 – "The U.S. military is ready for whatever, whenever," the nation's top-ranking military officer said here today.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. military remains able to respond to whatever the president asks of it, be it "crisis prevention or conflict across the entire spectrum."

Reporters asked if the length of time it is taking to get a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq works in Saddam Hussein's favor.

"In a hypothetical situation, the longer you wait, the longer an adversary has to prepare," Myers said. "But so do you. I would say no, we have a strong military force, we have potentially great military partners, and we'll contribute in many different ways." Myers said military planners would not limit the options open to the president in responding to crises.

The chairman also discussed the training of Iraqi dissidents. "No training has started yet, because we are still evaluating those plans," he said. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will review the plans again before they are put in place, he said.

Myers said the numbers, duties and location are all still under review. "We're in the preliminary stages of determining if there are people out there who might be helpful in case the president asks us to use force in Iraq," he said.

He said his guess is that there would be some Defense Department involvement in training any Iraqis. He said the training they receive would depend on who volunteers and what the United States needs them to do.

"It could be as simple as trying to develop liaison officers who might be useful for language skills and local knowledge to combat units," Myers said.

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