Iraq combat could outlast Obama

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Washington, Feb.9 (ANI): Many Iraq veterans believe the U.S. is likely to have "soldiers in combat in Iraq until at least 2015.

According to a book written by Thomas E. Ricks, America's best-known defense correspondent, American forces would remain in danger past President Obama's terms, into his second term if he wins reelection or the 45th presidency if he doesn't.

Ricks, the author of the best selling "Fiasco," offers that grim forecast in a new book being published Tuesday, "The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008".

A member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, Ricks also predicts that President Obama and his generals "eventually will settle on what one Obama adviser calls 'a sustainable presence' - and that that smaller force will be in Iraq for many years."

On NBC's "Meet the Press on Sunday, Ricks told moderator David Gregory that "a lot of people back here incorrectly think the war is over."

"What I say in this book is that we may be only halfway through this thing. This year we're in now, '09, is going to be, I think, a, a surprisingly tough year. You've got a series of elections in Iraq. Meanwhile, you've got American troops declining. ... We're doing the easy troop withdrawals now, but down the road you start taking them out of areas that aren't so secure, that aren't so safe, that you're, that you're worried about," Rick said.

The Washington Post is running two days of excerpts under the rubric "The Generals' Insurgency." Sunday's first installment starred Army Gen. Roy Odierno, who in September succeeded Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and formerly oversaw day-to-day operations under Petraeus.

The book is supposed to be under a strict sales embargo, but Politico obtained a copy at a Washington-area bookstore on Saturday night. (ANI)

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