A top US Army officer said the Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012.
Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, said Tuesday the world remains dangerous and unpredictable, and the Pentagon must plan for extended US combat and stability operations in two wars. Casey said, "Global trends are pushing in the wrong direction."
He spoke at an invitation-only briefing to a dozen journalists and policy analysts from Washington-based think-tanks. He said his planning envisions combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade as part of a sustained US commitment to fighting extremism and terrorism in the Middle East.