Admiral Mullen, the US' top man in uniform, has told Congress that the Army is "significantly stressed" by deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"The pace of ongoing operations has prevented our forces from fully training for the full spectrum of operations and impacts our ability to be ready to counter future threats," Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in testimony prepared for delivery Wednesday.The real heart of the fight against Al Qaeda and it's satellite groups - the Afghan/Pakistan front - is in crisis while the Army's ability to respond to new threats has been severely limited because it is being drained by Bush's war of choice. Which is what those who favor withdrawal from Iraq have been saying - to rightwing cries of "defeatists!" - for some time now. Is Mullen one of those "phony troops"?
..."I am extremely concerned about the toll the current pace of operations is taking on them and on their families, on our equipment and on our ability to respond to crises and contingencies beyond ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
Mullen also said violence in Iraq has "substantially decreased," but that Afghanistan is facing "a growing insurgency, increasing violence and a burgeoning drug trade fueled by widespread poppy cultivation."
Meanwhile, SecDef Bob Gates can't even begin to guess roughly how many troops will still be committed to iraq in six months or a years time, despite the drop in violence. I wonder if he thinks, as many do, that the Surge's success will be temporary without radical positive action on reconcilliation? It would certainly appear so.
(But honestly, Mr. Gates, describing the Dept. of Defense as "the world's biggest supertanker" isn't going to help the administration's contention that Iraq wasn't all about oil and oil money. You've got a dark sense of humour there.)