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StateSide:Policy
Gen. Conway: Afghanistan Could Use a Surge
Commanders Expect to Face Aggressive Taliban Spring Offensive
01/23/2007 11:44 AM ET
Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army Chief of Staff, and Gen. James T. Conway, Comandant of the Marine Corps, are currently testifying about force readiness to the House Armed Services Committee.

In response to a question, Gen. Conway very reluctantly admitted that commanders in Afghanistan have told him that it would be helpful to receive a fresh surge of manpower in advance of the Taliban offensive they are anticipating for Spring. He emphasized that the fight for Baghdad would not take away from the commitment to Afghanistan, as he said, it "will impact, but will not interfere to the extent that it would preclude it."

When pressed for more information on how the influx of troops into Iraq could negatively impact the needs of commanders in Afghanistan, Conway insisted that the U.S. military could rise to whatever challenge the circumstances required. He explained that "impact" does not necessarily mean "hinder." He cited service extensions and compressed training schedules as methods that can be used to ramp up troop levels quickly.

When Conway referred to Schoomaker for further comment, Schoomaker said only that he agreed with Conway's assessment that the U.S. military could rise to any challenge, but added that when you're talking about "impact" of troop deployments, "the price is always paid on the backside."

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