New Pentagon Plan at Odds with Iraq Study Group's


Dec. 8, 2006 — -- The recommendations are not complete yet, but sources familiar with the reviews conducted by Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace and National Security Adviser Steven Hadley, tell ABC News that military leaders will advise the president that he change the primary mission from fighting insurgents to training and supporting Iraqi troops.

The plan for U.S. forces seems to mirror the one suggested by the Iraq Study Group. But there's one big difference.

Under the Iraq Study Group plan, released earlier this week, combat troops -- about half of all the forces in Iraq -- would return home by the first quarter of 2008.

But under the Pentagon's plan, those combat troops would remain in Iraq -- with a new mission. Entire companies of U.S. combat forces (units of about 150 troops) could be embedded in Iraqi army and police battalions.

Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top operational commander in Iraq told Pentagon reporters this morning, "We believe now that what we need to do is to embed those trainers, to make that organic, as part of the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police."

Other aspects of the plan under consideration include:

Absent from the plan: Any timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces in the short term.

Today, in an emotional farewell to Pentagon employees, outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it would take patience to win in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We have every chance in the world of succeeding in both those countries, but only if we have the patience and only if we have the staying power," said Rumsfeld. "There have been -- in every conflict in our country's history, there have been those who said, 'Toss in the towel. It isn't working.'"

He later added: "But, by golly, something important isn't easy. And this isn't easy."

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