Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Commandant's Voice

One of those supporting sending more U.S. Marines to Afghanistan is General James T. Conway,Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.He said that 25,000 Marines in Anbar province,Iraq are probably in excess of the need.Attacks in Anbar are down markedly from two years ago.On the other hand,the general noted,the Taliban are growing bolder in their tactics in Afghanistan,and clearly doing their best to exploit security gaps where they exist.As well,al Qaida is shifting its focus to Pakistan and Afghanistan,having been largely defeated in Iraq.The economy of force,General Conway believes,is not necessarily working in Afghanistan.Without more Marines,militants may retake captured territory and subjugate the Afghan people.We need to maintain the momentum.Accordingly,Marines have been intensifying their mountain warfare training in the U.S. in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.It is the Marine Corps view,the Commandant stated,that if there is a stiffer fight going someplace else in a more expeditionary environment,that's where we need to be.Indeed,President George W. Bush has ordered a battalion of Marines to Afghanistan before the year's end,to replace a battalion-or 3200 Marines-that is coming off its extended deployment in November.

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