Rumsfeld: U.S. Troops Could be in Iraq for Decade

In his rounds on the Sunday talk shows this morning, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld revisited his “long hard slog” mantra, saying that the U.S. might have troops in Iraq for many years to come.

Rumsfeld: U.S. could be in Iraq for years (UPI)

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Sunday said U.S. troops may be needed in Iraq for years to fight insurgents and to help the Iraqi people win. “We`re not going to win against the insurgency, the Iraqi people will win against the insurgency,” Rumsfeld said on “Fox News Sunday,” one of three network television news programs he appeared on.

He downplayed an ABC News poll that showed 65 percent of respondents think the U.S. is bogged down and lacks a clear plan to get out of Iraq. Rumsfeld said war is a “tough, dirty business” and the media was focusing on negatives. “It`s just the reporting of the nature of war. It`s a tough business. It`s a terrible business,” Rumsfeld said on “ABC`s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Rumsfeld Says Iraq Insurgency May Go on for `Years’ (Bloomberg)

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said insurgent violence in Iraq may continue for a decade or longer and it will be up to the Iraqi forces, rather than U.S. troops, to end it. “That insurgency could go on for any number of years,” Rumsfeld said on the “Fox News Sunday” program today. “Coalition forces, foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency. We’re going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency.”

One hopes that’s accomplished sooner rather than later. Having a U.S. advisory force or even a small garrison might be useful to that end. I can’t imagine that the continuation of a force approaching the current size will be helpful once a permanent government is in place in Iraq, though. There’s no way to be taken seriously as a sovereign power with a large foreign military presence, especially one perceived by many as an army of occupation.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mike k says:

    No surprises here considering we are still in Kosovo/Bosnia after all these years. I think the problem w/ having them in Iraq is that whereever they are and in whatever number, they will be a magnet for terrorists. Personally I don’t want to be a magnet.

  2. Pete the Patriot says:

    The Lies and half truths are now starting to sink into the heads of the most dimwitted of the Red State Rubes and they are starting to see that Bush has no plan and could careless about them. This clown is a lame duck already after only less than a year into his second term. I’m gonna truly enjoy watching Bush, his Administration and legacy circle the drain.

    It’s time for all you Young Republicans to sign up and fight in this “CLUSTER”. Feel free to do something Bush,Cheney and his Neo con handlers didn’t do ie serve. Or is it as Cheney said ..” I had other things to do”

  3. whatever says:

    Pete, you are good at criticizing, how about a real debate – tell us what you think should be done. Tell why your options are better than the present options, and analyze the result of your policy on the area, region and the U.S.

    I don’t think you can do it. The problem with the napalm throwers like you is that you criticize anything anyone else does, but have no ideas of your own.

  4. Anderson says:

    I imagine Hitler in 1944 would yell at any generals who complained about the Eastern Front that they were nattering nabobs who would criticize others but had no constructive ideas themselves.

    Of course, “don’t invade Russia in the first place” was a little obsolete by then.

    The point of Bush’s critics is that the Iraq War was a dumb idea in the first place, and that its pitfalls were obvious to anybody who cared to think about them. What to *do* with the broken earthenware from Pottery Barn is not a question that anyone’s going to have any great answers to, because we’re in a situation without great answers.

  5. McGehee says:

    The people who were talking about the pitfalls of invading Iraq were promising a quagmire the like of which the world has never known.

    I don’t think an honest assessment of the conditions in Iraq today quite match that description.

  6. Just Me says:

    Honestly that doesn’t surprise me.

    I have always thought a 1 or 2 or even 5 year plan was unrealistic. Shoot it has been almost 6 years since Kosovo ended, and they still don’t have a functioning government (and their civil services are also spotty-granted the UN took over that one, so that may explain a lot).

    I don’t think it isunrealistic to think that it will take 10 years-it took that long post WWII with Germany and Japan. Not to mention that I think in the backs of the administrations minds all this time is setting up a permanent base in Iraq, to have troops stationed in the region-much like we kept troops in Germany to have them in the region during the cold war.

    I figure the troops will have a draw down at some point, but I am thinking there will be a military prescense there for as long as they will let us stay.

  7. mike k says:

    wow jason,
    I have to say, the first post you put on here was worthless and this one isn’t much better. Guys like you are an embarassment. You cannot make an argument so you throw words like “nazi” or “fascist” or 4 letter words to make your point b/c you are too stupid to make an argument. Keep it up, WaWa is hiring.
    You sir are a moron.

  8. Anderson says:

    The people who were talking about the pitfalls of invading Iraq were promising a quagmire the like of which the world has never known.

    I don’t think an honest assessment of the conditions in Iraq today quite match that description.

    I didn’t see any “world’s greatest quagmire” predictions. Things could indeed have gone worse. House-to-house fighting in Baghdad, or sarin gas. Our troops fought splendidly, and Saddam’s folded.

    But there was a fundamental problem from the start, namely, that people seldom appreciate having their countries invaded. There was plenty of reason to think this rule would apply in Iraq, given the cultural issues, the oil, etc.

    Yet we went in with way too few troops for the real job (occupation) and with a plan based on (1) cheering masses and (2) funneling megabucks to non-Iraqi “civilian reconstruction outfits” that it appears will turn out to’ve been Treasury transfers to major Republican donors.

    Done right, the invasion would still have been a bad idea (b/c there were no WMD’s and we had better things to do), but would have had a few perks. As it is, we’ve kicked the top off the anthill, created a mess, and have tied up the better part of our available forces for the indefinite future. This cannot seem to anyone, Repub or Dem, wingnut or moonbat, a good thing.

  9. Joe Smoe :American Citizen says:

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…You Bush clowns are all the same, dealing in feel good glittering generalities, flag waving machismo, all with no intellectual substance. Let me geuss the next line will be AMERICA, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT”. Just like Nixon’s Silent Majority, you can’t see the writing on the wall. You gotta love it! Out here in the real world if you screw up bad and cost people their lives ,because of your bad decisions and lies you lose your job, go to jail or get sued. But in Bush’s bizarre world you keep making excuses, ignore the facts, or just plain assassinate the character of those that are brave enough to point out the discrepancies or out right lies, and you get a better job

    Your half-witted fearless leader got us into this thing even after a true American hero, Colin Powell, warned him what would happen. Even his Daddy’s National Security Advisor
    Brent Scowcroft, warned him that this was folly. But, junior knew better than these men of accomplishment and experience. Now he is suffering the consequences and, unfortunately, so are the brave men and women of our armed forces.

    Jason has a very good point even if it was not delivered with the queens English. Mcghee if you don’t believe that it’s all that bad why don’t you go over to the Sandbox and find out first hand for yourself. Hey, the bush twins don’t seem like they’ll be signing up anytime soon. Rest assured when the Draft comes back they’ll utilize their family connections and get a cushy assignment out the line of fire like Daddy did. Hopefully, they’ll be able to finish out the duration and be able keep their noses out of the bag unlike your “GODLY” fearless leader.

  10. LJD says:

    How many times in one day do I have to read “Why don’t you go over to Iraq” from some patchouli wearing, tofu-eating pussy. What a totally lame criticism. I guess the Viet Nam rhetoric got old.

    Likely you idiots have no experience in the military, or are so caught up in your MoveOn haze that you have no F-ing idea what our men and women in uniform are thinking. Save us all a lot of trouble- martyr your self for your cause.

  11. Anderson says:

    The chicks really dig the patchouli, man!

  12. ALS says:

    Likely you idiots have no experience in the military, or are so caught up in your MoveOn haze that you have no F-ing idea what our men and women in uniform are thinking.

    It’s useless… when these people throw that “if-you-like-this-war-so-much-then-why-don’t-you-go-over-there” crap. Because when you tell them that you HAVE served, and you HAVE been over there, they switch gears on you and start insulting your service, calling you a brain-washed lemming, blindly following unlawful orders.

    So you can’t win that argument with them. You’re either a chicken-sh– or a chicken-hawk. Even after dumping all over you and denigrating your service, they of course still insist how truly “patriotic” they are, and how much they “support the troops.”