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Pentagon "to do" list gives little hint of US goals for Iraq

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 20, 2007
The Pentagon's number two has issued a "to do" list for the administration's waning days in office, but it gives little hint of its goals for Iraq.

"Conduct September 2007 Iraq surge assessment and revise and execute plans accordingly," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England in an August 9 memo obtained by AFP.

That was the only one of 25 priorities that even alluded to what the United States hopes to achieve in Iraq by the end of President George W. Bush's term.

England briefed his list to Bush and sent it out by memo to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and military services.

"It's basically saying, 'Let's move forward," a Pentagon official said.

Many of the priorities focus on the loose ends from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- detainees, roadside explosions, and the military's frustrated attempts to find "high value targets" like Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

England wants to carry out a long-range strategy for detainees by the end of 2008, the memo said.

He called on the military to field Mine Resistant Ambush Protect (MRAP) armored vehicles more rapidly and to aggressively support a Pentagon organization that already has been given billions of dollars to come up with ways to defeat homemade bombs.

He wants to "swiftly improve high value target tracking and locating capabilities," according to the memo.

Other goals under the rubric of "Prevail in Global War on Terrorism" are to develop a security and cooperation plan for the Near East and South Asia; to develop the capabilities of partner countries; and to communicate in "a 24/7 New Media Age."

England's goals also call for pressing ahead with plans to expand, reorganize and reequip US ground forces, and to expand US special forces.

Other items on his list: establish a new Africa command, carry out a "cyberspace strategy," and begin a new approach to nuclear deterrence.

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US senators suggest Maliki government be replaced
Washington (AFP) Aug 20, 2007
Two key US senators suggested Monday that Iraq's parliament replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government if it fails in a "last chance" political reconciliation bid.

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