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Iraq Troop Strength24:42
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The U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey surprised Congress last week when he reported the number of combat-ready, American-trained Iraqi Army battalions had declined from three to one.

Republican Senators bristled. Maine's Senator Susan Collins said such news "contributes to a loss of public confidence in how the war is going." South Carolina's Lindsey Graham doubted U.S. commanders have a clear handle on the nature of the insurgency.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed criticism saying, "There are an awful lot of people chasing the wrong rabbit here." In his news conference yesterday, President Bush insisted progress is being made. But accurate predictions on when Iraqi trained armed forces can take the fight to the enemy remain elusive.

Hear a discussion on when Iraqis themselves will be able to take the place of American troops, if ever.

Guests:

Mark Mazzetti, Pentagon correspondent for the Los Angeles Times

Retired Lt Colonel Kalev Sepp, he teaches
Defense Studies at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA, was part of a team sent to Iraq by General George G. Casey to assess counter insurgency tacticsWayne White, Adjunct Scholar at the Middle East Institute,
Previously served as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia

Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution.

This program aired on October 5, 2005.

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