Top US army official admits mistakes but stands by decision to invade Iraq

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September 15, 2007 02:11
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The US military's top general acknowledged Friday that he made mistakes in his early Iraq war strategy but said he still has no doubt that the decision to invade the country was correct. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of the war's principal military architects, said he overestimated the ability of the Iraqi Army to hold together after the invasion, and as a result underestimated the number of US troops that would eventually be needed to fight the war. Offering a blunt assessment of the decisions and recommendations he made back in early 2003, an introspective Pace told Pentagon reporters that looking back with the perfect vision of hindsight, it is clear he made "errors in assumption." "One of the mistakes I made in my assumptions going in was that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi army would welcome liberation, that the Iraqi army, given the opportunity, would stand together for the Iraqi people and be available to them to help serve the new nation," said Pace, who is leaving the chairman's job on Oct. 1. "If I knew that the Iraqi army was not going to be available, then I probably would have made a different recommendation about the total size force going in."

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