Retired Generals Slam Bush's Iraq Plan

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Odom (2nd-L), tesitifies before the Senate Senate Foreign Relations Committee full committee hearing on "Iraq: Military Strategy" 18 January, 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Also testifying are retired Gen. Joseph Hoar (2nd-R), retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey (R), and retired Gen. Jack Keane (L).
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The President's troop build-up — already taking political fire from both Democrats and Republicans — came under withering attack on Thursday from a panel of retired generals on Capitol Hill, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

"The proposed solution is to send more troops and it won't work. The addition of 21,000 troops is too little and too late," former Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar said.

Hoar once commanded all American forces in the Middle East and has nothing good to say about the war.

"This administration's handling of the war has been characterized by deceit, mismanagement and a shocking failure to understand the social and political forces that influence events in the Middle East," Hoar said.

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded a division in the first Gulf War and was consulted by the president in drawing up the new Iraq strategy said, "They're going to try to muscle this thing out in the next 24 months with an urban counterinsurgency plan that I personally believe, with all due respect, is a fool's errand."

It will take political compromise to end Iraq's sectarian violence, and retired Lt. Gen William Odom, who once headed Army intelligence, doubts it will happen.

"The Sunnis certainly are not committed to it, and I don't think the Shiites have ever been committed to it," Odom said.

Even the build-up's lone supporter, former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Keane, acknowledged that success depends on an unknown quantity — the performance of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Malaki and his government.

"Who is Maliki and who is the Maliki government? And I don't believe our government, I don't pretend to speak for them, but I don't believe our government truly knows that answer," Keane said.

At another hearing, reports Martin, the head of the CIA was asked if his analysts think the Maliki government can deliver. He replied, "It's an unknown."

Meanwhile, opposition to the president's plan is also growing on Capitol Hill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged the support of House Democrats for legislation declaring that Mr. Bush's decision to send additional troops to Iraq is "not in the national interest of the United States."

Pelosi's commitment came as Senate Democrats said they intend to begin advancing a nonbinding measure next week that criticizes the White House's new strategy.

Democrats sought to bring public pressure to bear on the president's new policy as Mr. Bush and senior administration officials worked to limit Republican defections.

"He said, 'If you can help us out, I really appreciate your help,'" Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said after a White House meeting with the commander in chief.

Even a Republican senator who won't speak out against the president for fear it will hurt the war effort told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer there is virtually no enthusiasm among Senate Republicans for the plan. With the exception of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the senator said almost no one among Republican senators is enthusiastic about enlarging the force.

Senate Democrats, backed by two Republicans, unveiled legislation Wednesday that criticized Mr. Bush's decision to increase troop levels by 21,500. "It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence in Iraq," the nonbinding Senate measure states.