Gates: Democrats 'embolden enemy'

Defence secretary defends US troop "surge" to Iraq at Pentagon news briefing.

    The Democrats say the increasing violence in Iraq cannot be solved by sending more troops [Reuters]

    "It's pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn't have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries," Gates said.
     
    Gates was referring to Lieutenant-General David Petraeus, who was confirmed by the full senate on Friday as the replacemnt for General George Casey as the most senior American commander in Iraq.

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    Petraeus has said he needs all 21,500 extra troops that Bush has ordered to Iraq to combat the sectarian violence in Baghdad.
     
    "I think it's hard to measure that with any precision, but it seems pretty straightforward that any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks," Gates said, referring to the anti-government forces in Baghdad.

    Show of opposition
     
    He said he was certain this was not the intent of those who support the congressional resolution.
     
    "But that's the effect," he said.
     
    The resolution would be non-binding but would be used by the Democrats to show their opposition to any escalation of the US involvement in Iraq.
     
    "We are going to see if the timetable for the dispatch of the brigades can be accelerated," Gates said.
     
    "There are simply some logistical constraints that make it difficult to do a lot but I've asked people to look at it and see to what extent they could be - or some portion of it could be - accelerated."
     
    Harry Reid, the senate Democrat leader, said on Friday that a quick test vote would probably be taken if Republicans tried to delay or block the planned resolution.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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