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Dissension in the ranks

Of course, before the Iraq war, the Pentagon and State Department held different views about the appropriate policy. But it's a rather bad sign that even now, the two groups can't get their stories straight. Is the US going to pull troops out of Iraq after June 30th?

ecretary of State Colin L. Powell was joined by the foreign ministers of Britain, Italy and Japan on Friday in declaring that they would honor any request by Iraq's new government to withdraw foreign troops after June 30, when it is to receive limited sovereignty.
A "top aide to Mr. Powell, Marc Grossman" said the same thing when he was asked by a House committee last week.
Mr. Grossman, under secretary of state for political affairs, was then contradicted by Lt. Gen. L. Walter Sharp, director of strategic plans for the military's joint staff, who said an Iraqi pullout request would not be valid unless it were made by an elected government due to take office next year.
So which is it? Apparently everyone is banking on Iraq not making such a request, which would enable us to avoid having to make such a decision. But hoping that a problem goes away doesn't always work, unfortunately.


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