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General: U.S. Must Maintain Presence in Iraq

Posted March 19, 2008

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— On the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, President George W. Bush touted the gradual rebuilding of the country while Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged to end the conflict if elected.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Springer said he finds Bush's assessment more tenable than Obama's.

"I don't know what ending the war means. Does it mean abruptly pulling everyone out and bringing the troops home? It's not an easy thing to do," Springer said. "Amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk about logistics. You would need 18 to 24 months to bring everybody home if you chose to do that."

Obama said the Iraq War hasn't made America safer, but has instead created more bitter enemies for the country. Springer disagreed.

"I would say we are safer. We have not had an attack on American soil since 9/11," he said.

That safety has allowed the war to slip off the radar screen for most Americans, he said, despite almost 4,000 casualties and more than $500 billion invested in the conflict.

"It's been overtaken by the economy. It's been over taken by politics, maybe even by March Madness," he said.

Springer said he believes a significant American presence will be in or near Iraq for decades, although he said he understands the worry and frustration of the American people over a war that's already lasted five years.

"Our independence was 1776. It was 1786, (or) 11 years, before we got the Constitution, and there was a lot of fighting in there, too," he said, citing another lengthy battle in American history.

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  • rushbot Mar 19, 2008

    Mr/Ms reelhillbilly, I was an air force officer and I believe one is not promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General without talent and skill. I honor and respect his service, but I mightily disagree with him. BTW, my granddaddy was an army enlisted man during WW II, my daddy was an army officer during Korea and Vietnam, and one of my sons is an army enlisted man on his was to Iraq while another will be a marine enlisted man this summer and probably be in Iraq before the years end.

    But we all have the right to speak freely and to think freely. I would hope that there would be a polite dialogue in this forum. I also hope the General will change his mind!

  • rushbot Mar 19, 2008

    Perhaps General Springer ought to visit the black wall at the river end of the capital mall in Washington DC and reflect upon the 50,000 names enscribed thereon. Perhaps he will find the names of comrades with whom he served in the Vietnam War. Perhaps he will remember the reason for that war, provided by a US president; the domino effect: we must stop the expansion of communism in Vietnam, or it will spread throughout the world and never be stopped.

    Perhaps the General will ponder the misrepresentations by the current US president and decide if the continued loss of lives and treasure will contain al qaeda in iraq.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Mar 19, 2008

    rushbot May I disagree on the matter of Colin Powell? From what I've read, Powell HAD an exit strategy to save himself from being associated with the rats that chose to stay in the corn crib. He's the smart one of the whole lot.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Mar 19, 2008

    Well said rushbot! If this guy was such a great general, why is he taking a chance on tarnishing his reputation by endorsing this mad-man's war? If he were a real general, he would be providing more viable solutions to end this police action in a civil manner and stop the blood sacrifice on all sides?

  • rushbot Mar 19, 2008

    The invasion of Iraq can only be described as a disastrous fiasco! Just as the USSR could not control Afghanistan, neither can the US control Iraq. Bush has ruined the military; we are stretched to the breaking point and cannot project non-nuclear military power anymore as the result. The money which has been wasted in Iraq could have purchased solar power cells to power 2/3s of the United States. Thousands of Iraqis have been killed and injured, and their country has no infrastructure. Thousands of Americans have been killed and many tens of thousands have been injured. Thousands of families from both sides have been damaged; many beyond repair. And for what? An enormous power vacuum know exists in the region and Iran is the probable filler of the vacuum. And by the way, has anyone heard General Colin Powell speak out in favor of our continued involvement. No. He found out about the lies, objected and was forced out!

  • geosol Mar 19, 2008

    "I would say we are safer. We have not had an attack on American soil since 9/11" You don't suppose the main reason for that is increased awareness and additional security measures inside the country since the attack, do you? When we are attacked again, will the same wingnuts proclaim that "it had nothing to do with the war in Iraq"? You bethca!!

  • rushbot Mar 19, 2008

    Fact: The president either lied or willfully misrepresented the truth about weapons of mass destruction and al-qaeda in iraq.

    Fact: The only reason there has been a decrease in violence in iraq was the defacto surrender of american forces to the sunnis/former baathists.

    Fact: The shiites have hated the sunnis and kurds for centuries. The sunnis have hated the shiites and kurds for centuries. The kurds hate both and want nothing to do with them or iraq. They have cheerfully been torturing and murdering and maiming each other for centuries.

    Fact: Iraq is an artificial construct cobbled together and held together by a strongman, just like Yugoslavia was. And like Yugoslavia it will fall apart into several parts without a strongman.

    Fact: The shiites are the clients of Iran and the sunnis are the clients of the Saudis and will continue to fight each other until those sponsors tell them to stop.

    Fact: We do not know where Bin Laden is and al qaeda is stronger than ever!

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Mar 19, 2008

    Let's just take over the world and get it over with. Once we can declare total domination, an exit strategy will no longer be necessary.
    There you go, numb skull!

  • TheDude abides... Mar 19, 2008

    Ok, lets see how many dissenting comments on here are made by anyone with as much knowledge and experience/qualifications as LT GEN Springer. Armchair Generals/Defeatists...time to show true colors and comment.