Despite his optimistic public comments about the success of U.S. forces in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has privately expressed the need for better intelligence on whether Iraqi insurgents are replenishing their ranks faster than they are being killed and captured. In a closed-door session with defense analysts and retired officers three days before Thanksgiving, Rumsfeld said he was not quite as confident as Gen. John Abizaid, his top military commander in Iraq, about U.S. gains in counterinsurgency operations because he cannot gauge the extent to which foreign terrorists and new Iraqi recruits are joining the fight led by former Baath Party members, a person who attended the session said. Another who attended the Pentagon session said Rumsfeld commented: “We know we’re killing a lot, capturing a lot, collecting arms. We just don’t know yet whether that’s the same as winning.” “That was a very legitimate point,” the attendee said. “We don’t really have a sense. He did mention that 90 percent of the country is quiet.” Full Story
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