The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 7A
Admin: no deadline for troops' return
WASHINGTON (AP) - Administration officials
refused yesterday to set a timetable on troops return-
ing home from Iraq. Democrats pressed for a depar-
ture strategy amid climbing American casualties.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told
House and Senate committees that progress was
being made in training Iraqi secu-
rity forces but there was no way "There h
to know when the U.S. presence
would end. been a
"There has never been a war that .
was predictable as to length, casu- predicta
alty or cost in the history of man-
kind," he told the House Armed length,C
Services Committee under ques- c
tioning from Rep. Solomon Ortiz cost in t
(D-Texas). of mank
Pentagon officials have long held
that the United States cannot con-
sider drawing down troop levels - D
until Iraqi security forces are able Se
to protect their own fragile democ-_
racy from insurgents.
Later, before the Senate Appropriations Com-
mittee, Rumsfeld declined to rule out a permanent
or long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq when
pressed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
Rumsfeld said the Pentagon has no such plan but
that it could become a matter for the president to
discuss with Iraqi leaders once an elected govern-
ment is in place.
And, testifying before the House appropriations
subcommittee on foreign operations, Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice sidestepped a request by
var that was
ible as to
Donald H. Rumsfeld
ecretary of Defense
Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-
Detroit), that she outline an
exit strategy for withdrawing
"I want to know how
long," Kilpatrick told Rice.
Rice replied, "Our forces
will be relieved when we can
get Iraq security forces up
and running." She didn't say
when that would be.
The officials were on
Capitol Hill to defend bud-
get requests for their agen-
cies. But Democrats took the
opportunity to press both on
March 2003 and Rumsfeld said 1,392 Iraqi forces
have died as well.
He said he expects the United States will make
a modest shift in the coming weeks to focus more
on mentoring and training - and less on battling
the insurgency - as Iraqi soldiers take over the
responsibility of protecting their country.
"I expect to see the coalition countries begin
paring down their forces as they complete their
contributions," he added.
Pressed by Skelton and others about the scope
of the insurgency in Iraq, Rumsfeld said: "I am not
going to give you a number for-it because it's not
my business to do intelligence work."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld displays a chart detailing production of
armored Humvees at his testimony yesterday regarding the Pentagon's supple-
mental 2005 budget request for Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We must win the war, but what is our strategy?"
implored Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the top Dem-
ocrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
"American troops are still paying a deadly price."
At least 1,460 U.S. troops have been killed since
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