Rumsfeld Says No Need for
More Troops In Iraq

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Wednesday he saw no need to send more troops to Iraq, despite the U.N. headquarters bombing, which analysts cited as the latest example of the U.S. failure to create order in the country.
Rumsfeld told a news conference in Honduras that top U.S. generals in Iraq saw no need to boost troop levels. He said Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz had spoken with U.S. military commanders there, "and they reiterated their belief that the size of the force in Iraq is appropriate today."
"And, at the moment, the conclusion of the responsible military officials is that the force levels are where they should be," Rumsfeld added.
Rumsfeld's comments in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, one stop on a Latin American trip, came as analysts said tens of thousands more troops were needed in Iraq.
The United States has 139,000 in Iraq, with another 24,000 from other countries, primarily Britain, U.S. Central Command said. And U.S. officials are turning to Iraqi security personnel, rather than American troops, to guard facilities such as water and power plants and foreign embassies.
"It's hard to escape the conclusion that we need more forces," said analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. "The pattern in Iraq doesn't suggest confidence about our ability to pacify the country."
"We need more troops there to establish a secure and safe environment," added former Pentagon official Michele Flournoy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Compared to the local population and size of the territory involved, Flournoy said, "the density of troops that we have in Iraq is much lower than in places like the early days of the (peacekeeping) missions in Bosnia or Kosovo, where arguably we were facing a less volatile and difficult security environment."
The truck bombing at the U.N. facility in Baghdad on Tuesday killed at least 20 people, including U.N. special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. It followed attacks on Iraqi infrastructure targets and an Aug. 7 truck bombing at the Jordanian embassy that killed 17 people.
U.S. troops also have faced regular guerrilla-style attacks since President Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said it was up to U.S. commanders to decide "what resources are needed."
"I will assure you of this: the president will make sure that we are always providing the necessary resources to achieve our objectives," McClellan said in Crawford, Texas, where Bush was vacationing.
Thompson called for roughly 20,000 more U.S. troops in Iraq, essentially one more Army division.
Analyst Charles Pena of the Cato Institute said based on an equation stemming from the number of troops that the British used in Northern Ireland, a total of at least 240,000 U.S. troops was needed in Iraq.
"We're at least 100,000 troops shy, and it could be a whole lot more than that," Pena said.
"And we're already concerned about how we would maintain the current force inside Iraq, because we won't cut back on other commitments, and we've only got so many active-duty and reserve units that we can rotate in and out."
U.S. officials cite commitments from about 30 nations to provide 30,000 troops for a stabilization force, but some countries, such as India, have balked.
Former top State Department official Edward Walker of the Middle East Institute said Tuesday's bombing may make civilians involved in reconstruction less willing to go to Iraq.
"The Pentagon is going to come down to a basic choice: either you build up your own forces, or you encourage others to join you by giving more authority to the U.N. ... or you watch the situation drag on with very little progress," Walker said.
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