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US Lawmaker Says More American Troops Needed to Provide Security in Iraq - 2003-04-21


A key U.S. lawmaker says the United States will have to deploy more troops in Iraq to provide the security necessary to begin crucial relief and reconstruction efforts.

Congressman Jim Kolbe, an Arizona Republican, has just returned from a four-day visit to Jordan and Kuwait to assess plans for relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

"While it is apparent we had a well-planned well-thought out strategy for winning the war over there, and it was executed brilliantly, I think there has been less thought that has been given to post-war relief and reconstruction," said the congressman, who chairs a House subcommittee that controls U.S. foreign aid spending.

During his trip, Congressman Kolbe met with representatives of international aid organizations as well as with retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, who is overseeing the reconstruction and relief effort.

Mr. Kolbe said more U.S. troops are needed to secure Iraq, although he could not say how many would be necessary. He said a U.S. disaster relief team that was sent to Baghdad last week to survey Baghdad hospitals was ambushed three times and ultimately had to be evacuated by helicopter.

"The fact is we are very, very short on the number of people we need there to provide that kind of security, and hence we have seen the kind of looting and violence that has taken place, and the anger that is now beginning to seethe because people are getting frustrated that services have not been restored. Services cannot be restored because people cannot get in there.

Congressman Kolbe also said he believes Congress will have to provide more money for Iraq reconstruction later this year.

The Congress earlier this month approved nearly $80 billion to pay for the initial costs of the war, a package that included $2.5 billion in aid to rebuild the country.

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