Al-Arab Blog - مدونة العرب
New army refused to fight in Fallujah
By Alec Russell in Washington
A battalion of Iraq's new army refused to deploy during fighting in Fallujah last week, it emerged yesterday.
It was said to be the first time that United States commanders had tried to involve the new Iraqi forces in combat. The outcome underlines the inherent problems in the Pentagon's planned phased pullout of American troops.
The news came as a debate raged in Washington over whether to send more troops to stabilise Iraq, with opinion polls suggesting that Americans are divided.
Politicians and former generals lined up on yesterday's talk shows to criticise the Pentagon's insistence over the past year that it had enough troops to do the job.
John McCain, Mr Bush's defeated rival for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, led the charge for more Forces. "It's obvious that we're paying a heavy price for not having had enough troops there from the beginning," he told NBC's Meet the Press.
A Time/CNN poll suggested that the public broadly accepted that America might now have to step up military efforts to achieve its goals.
But only a quarter (26 per cent) thought it should increase the number of troops, while 30 per cent would retain the current level, 12 per cent favoured cutting the number, and 27 per cent would remove all US troops.
Most politicians agree that the June 30 deadline for handing over power to an interim Iraqi government is sacrosanct, but they are divided over how America can rescue its mission.
Related reports : Iraqis unite against US
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Anti War - Anti Racism
Let the downFall of Sharon be end to Zionism
By the Late, great political cartoonist Mahmoud Kahil