Thursday, February 7, 2008

Adm. Michael Mullen honest about deployments

Mullen: Army must return to 12-month tours

By Anne Flaherty - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Feb 7, 2008 5:44:07 EST

WASHINGTON — The top uniformed military officer on Wednesday described a tired U.S. military force, worn thin by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and unlikely to come home in large numbers anytime soon.

The assessment comes as President Bush decides whether to continue troop reductions in Iraq — possibly endangering fragile security gains made in recent months — or not, and risk straining ground forces further.

“The well is deep, but it is not infinite,” Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We must get Army deployments down to 12 months as soon as possible. People are tired.”

Mullen’s stern warning swiftly became political fodder for anti-war Democrats, who want legislation requiring that troops start coming home from Iraq immediately. Democrats also want legislation that would require soldiers and Marines spend more time at home between combat tours. The Pentagon objects to both proposals, contending it would tie the hands of military commanders.

The leader of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said Mullen’s testimony “confirms our warning that the war in Iraq has seriously undermined our nation’s military strength and readiness, and therefore our national security.”
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