For immediate release
October 25, 2006
Contact:
Chad Campbell, NPR
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FORMER SECRETARY OF THE ARMY TOGO D. WEST JR.:   “WE HAVE NO CHOICE” BUT TO PROVIDE THE IRAQI government A TIMETABLE

REMARKS MADE ON NPR’s NEWS & NOTES AIRING TOMORROW THURSDAY OCTOBER 26, 2006

Transcribed excerpts are below; Audio to be Available after 4:00pm ET tomorrow at www.NPR.org


Washington, D.C.; October 25, 2006 –  In an interview about US policy in Iraq, Togo D. West Jr., former Secretary of the Army (1993-97) and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs (1998-2000)  says “we have no choice” but to provide the Iraqi government a timetable.  His remarks were made in an interview with NPR's Farai Chideya airing tomorrow on News & Notes.  West also says Iraq’s toll on the military is in “the long run unhealthy, unwholesome and not good for our national security.”

Transcribed excerpts from the interview are below.  All excerpts must be credited to NPR’s News & Notes.  Audio of the interview will be available after 4:00pm ET tomorrow at www.NPR.org.  For local stations and times for News & Notes, please visit www.npr.org/stations.

Togo West on the need for a timetable:  “We have to communicate to the Iraqi government a timetable.  Some days, some dates, a point by which, several points by which.  And of course the other side of that is, once you do and the dissident elements learn of it, they either ratchet up their activities so they can begin to position themselves to really attack whatever is left behind as a government once we go on the date certain, or they lay low until that date certain and then erupt again.  And so there are arguments that say never set a date certain.  We have no choice. We will eventually have to say on these days we will take these steps and by this point in time we will have withdrawn, to, take your pick, back to the United States, to some over the horizon presence, to nearby Kuwait.”

    Togo West on Iraq’s toll on the military:  “Iraq, coming hard on the heels of an incomplete mission in Afghanistan, that is to say it was done, it was done successfully, but it still lingers, and with all the other responsibilities that we assign to our military, is taxing our forces -- especially our army and to a lesser extent our marine corps -- in ways that are, on the long run, unhealthy, unwholesome and not good for our national security.”

Togo West on recent comments from General George Casey about the possibility of increasing troops in Iraq:  “The present force simply is not proving to be able, using lots of different tactics, to stem the continued increase of violence specifically in Baghdad and at large in Iraq.  And so he's likely to need more forces just to hold on.”