Iraq war seen lasting months

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Posted by Tony from ( on Thursday, March 27, 2003 at 1:13AM :

March 27, 2003 5:00 AM

Iraq war seen lasting months

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some U.S. military officials are convinced the war in Iraq is likely to last for months and will require considerably
more combat power than currently on hand in the country and in Kuwait, the Washington Post says.

An article posted on the paper's website quoted unnamed senior defence officials as saying bad weather, long and vulnerable supply lines
and stiffer than expected Iraqi resistance prompted some U.S. generals to conduct a broad reassessment of military expectations and

Officials told the Post that military commanders on the battlefield in Iraq and in the Pentagon are talking about a longer, harder war than had
been expected just a week ago.

"Tell me how this ends," the newspaper quoted one senior official as saying in the article, which was also expected to appear in the
newspaper's Thursday editions.

But Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke denied the Post's claim that a strategic reassessment had been undertaken.

"There is no major revision under way," she told Reuters. "There is no major mid-course correction under way, as suggested in the
Washington Post story." She added that defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has maintained for some time that the war in Iraq could last for
days, weeks or months.

On Tuesday, Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, fended off criticism that the invasion force
was too small and not packing enough armour, after Iraqis inflicted casualties and caused numerous problems for U.S. and British troops in
southern Iraq. Myers called the U.S. strategy "a brilliant plan."

Meanwhile, the Post article said some military planners favour a continued push north to Baghdad but that most Army commanders favour a
pause so that U.S.-led forces can replenish supplies of water, food and ammunition.

Strained supply lines have been accompanied by a degree of chaos exacerbated by sniping and immense traffic backlogs from the
Kuwaiti border, the Post said.

The Army's 4th Infantry Division, which has begun putting equipment into Kuwait after Turkey refused use of its territory to launch a second
front in northern Iraq, could take nearly a month to move its tank-heavy operation into combat positions, the newspaper said.


-- Tony
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