Big Debate over New Plan to Keep Troops in Iraq Until 2010

By: Alex Zequeira
By: Alex Zequeira

Former Democratic Presidential Hopeful, General Wesley Clark, is trying to drum up support to put democrats back in office.

But the retired 4-star army general is also finding himself in the spotlight defending his party's stance on the war in Iraq.

General Clark was in Ozark, Thursday, drumming up support for democrats in the wiregrass region.

Clark did take some time to speak about the current situation in Iraq. And while president bush says the u-s military must "stay the course" in Iraq, General Clark disagrees.

"Right now the course in Iraq has taken us into a ditch... So we have to get a strategy that works over there,” said Clark.

Retired Four Star General believes America is losing the battle in Iraq. The 34-year Army vet, who served as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during the Kosovo conflict, is also against the military's new plan to keep troop levels in Iraq, at a steady pace until 2010.

Clark says, "Whether you can actually create a democracy, I honestly don't know, but I do know this... the administration cannot solve this problem by dumping it in the laps of our men and women in uniform.”

President Bush does acknowledge that the situation in Iraq continues to be dangerous for U.S. troops, with daily attacks claiming the lives of soldiers and Iraqi civilians. But he says America cannot bail out until its mission is complete.

"If we want to abandon that country before the Iraqi's can defend their young democracy, the terrorist will take control of Iraq and establish a new safe haven from which to launch attacks on Americans," said President Bush.

Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, there have been nearly 3,000 U.S. troops killed. Thousands of others have returned home. More recently were 100 members of Fort Rucker's 46th Engineering Battalion, who reunited with their families after spending a year overseas.

And while those families rejoiced after seeing their loved ones return home safely, there is no guarantee these soldiers or others will not be called back into action, at least not for the next several years.

There are currently more than 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. While Republicans argue that troop presence is necessary to deter insurgents and train and protect Iraq's new democracy, Democrats say Iraqi officials need to step it up, and take more of that responsibility for themselves.


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