Army Chief of Staff Defends General Who Called for More Troops Before War

ABC's Dean Norland reports: In the House Armed Services Committee hearing this morning, Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker said that history has demonstrated that then-Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki was correct when in February 2003, he suggested several hundred thousand troops would be needed to invade Iraq. 

When Shinseki called for several hundred thousand more troops, before the 2003 invasion, during testimony before the Congress, he was criticized by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  Former deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz at the time called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark."

But Schoomaker today said that while history has suppoted Shinseki's early estimate for more troops, the additional troops would have also increased the strategic risk to the mission because equipment and training shortages would have made those troops unprepared for battle.  Marine Commandant James Conway, also testifying at the hearing, disagreed, saying additional troops probably would not have made much difference.

Gen. Schoomaker said: "In my military judgment, in hindsight, it's clear that several hundred thousand forces following that would have-- made a difference. It would have made a difference.   But you know, this is four years later and we're looking back on it. And so, I don't think there's any question history has demonstrated that Gen. Shinseki was correct, that following-- the follow on phases of it, those additional forces would have been necessary, in my opinion.  In my military judgment."

"I agree with General Shinseki that it would have been useful to have more forces following the success in the initial phase of the operation.  And secondly, had we committed that amount of the Army to this endeavor, the strategic risk would have been greater than where we sit today," said Schoomaker.

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