U.S. general disagrees with Warner proposal to begin troop
withdrawals by Christmas
PENTAGON (AP) - A U.S. military commander in Iraq says beginning a troop withdrawal before the end of the year would be a "giant step backward."
Army Major General Rick Lynch, who commands U.S. troops south of Baghdad, was reacting to a proposal from Senator John Warner. Yesterday, the Virginia Republican said that by at least making a small reduction by Christmas, President Bush would send a message to the Iraqi government that the U.S. commitment is not open-ended.
But Lynch, speaking to Pentagon reporters from Iraq, says U.S. soldiers have fought hard to make gains south of the capital. And he says if they were to begin leaving, militant fighters would quickly return. The general warns that militants would renew attacks on the local population, start building bombs again and try to export violence back into Baghdad.
Lynch says he needs all the troops he has until Iraqi forces are able to take over.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)