West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton is skeptical about the president’s latest strategy for Iraq. Skelton has more say now that he is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The committee began hearings on the president’s plan Thursday. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, testified. Skelton’s not sure President Bush’s move to increase troop levels by 21,500 will help turn things around in Iraq. And Skelton says the question isn’t the effectiveness of the troops, but whether the Maliki government in Iraq will live up to the commitments it has made to this country. The president’s plan is to help the Iraqi government regain control of Baghdad. The focus of American troops will be to advise and support Iraqi forces and it relies on a greater commitment from the Iraqi government. Skelton says he’s not sure what alternative he would like to see the Bush Administration take. He says it is so late in the game and there have been so many strategic, incorrect decisions made in the last few years, it’s hard to say what the correct strategy would be.
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