Retired Generals See Difficult Situation in Iraq

Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Extended Interview with McCaffrey, Odom

The U.S. faces a very difficult military and political outlook as it prepares to meet a June 30 deadline for transferring power in Iraq, two former U.S. Army generals say. NPR's Bob Edwards discusses the situation with Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey and Retired Lt. Gen. William Odom.

McCaffrey says the United States entered Iraq with a "grossly anemic" military force and probably will need a United Nations-led military presence for a transfer to succeed. He says it probably will take a year or two for Iraqi institutions to be built and security and stability to come to that country. Odom says the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein has had the unintended consequence of making Iraq safe for terrorists and other anti-U.S. movements "and they're breeding them rapidly."

McCaffrey was commander of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and served as drug czar under President Clinton. Odom was director of the National Security Agency from 1985-88.

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