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Powell advised Bush to send more troops to Iraq

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Apr 30 (Reuters) Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell today said he had made the case to President George W Bush for the United States to send more troops to Iraq to deal with the aftermath of the war.

In an interview with a private British television station, Powell said there had been debates about the size of the force and how to deal with the aftermath.

''The aftermath turned out to be much more difficult than anyone had anticipated,'' said Powell, adding he had favoured a larger military presence to deal with the unforeseen.

''I don't think we had enough force there to impose order,'' he said on ITV's Jonathan Dimbleby programme.

''I made the case to General (Tommy) Franks, to (Defence) Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld and to the president that I was not sure we had enough troops,'' he said.

He argued, however, that his view was not ignored but that those responsible for the troop levels believed they had the appropriate number.

His comments come amid public concern in the United States over Iraq, which has been a factor in driving Bush's approval ratings to the lowest of his presidency.

Since the US-led invasion in March 2003, the US military death toll in Iraq has risen to nearly 2,400. Iraqi military deaths are estimated at up to 6,370 and Iraqi civilian deaths at up to 38,600.

After the invasion, Rumsfeld said U.S. military commanders believed there were sufficient troops to contain insurgents and establish peace.

However, amid escalating violence and to establish security in time for elections, troop levels were later increased.

Bush has not set a timetable for a US withdrawal, saying American soldiers will pull out as Iraqi forces take over fighting Sunni rebels and sectarian violence which has pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

REUTERS PR KP2200

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