Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rumsfeld Says US Able to Take on New Fight

On Monday, August 28, 2006, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned potential adversaries that the US is still capable of responding to military threats at home and abroad, despite ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking to troops at an airfield in the Nevada desert, Rumsfeld responded to a question about military options for dealing with Iran. According to Rumsfeld, “We are capable of dealing with other problems were they to occur. It would be unfortunate if other countries thought that because we have 136,000 troops in Iraq today, that we're not capable of defending our country or doing anything that we might need to do.” While noting diplomatic efforts to solve Iran’s nuclear program, Rumsfeld again accused Iran of funding, training and supplying terrorist groups, including Hizbollah. Pentagon officials also claim Iran is supporting the insurgency in Iraq.

Rumsfeld seemed not to acknowledge a military that is showing signs of stress and argued instead that military evacuations of some 15,000 people from Lebanon during the war between Israel and Hizbollah, as well as its role in responding to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina last year, prove the military’s ability to respond to new missions.

Meanwhile, the Army and Marine Corps must spend tens of billion of dollars to replace and repair equipment. Army officials have said the combat readiness of many units and their ability to take on new missions have suffered. And, recruiting levels for new troops are also down.

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