Friday, July 20, 2007

Pentagon Extends Marine Tours Of Duty in Iraq, Again

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - The Pentagon has extended the combat tours of 2,200 Marines in Iraq for 30 days, keeping the troops on the ground to help stabilize Anbar province, a Marine Corps spokesman said on Thursday. The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is conducting counterinsurgency operations in Iraq's western province, will stay until at least the end of September, under the extension. "It's to contribute to stability operations," said Maj. Jay Delarosa, who called the extension typical. "The bottom line is if they're extended another month, that's when you kind of have to be concerned," Delarosa said. The United States has boosted force levels to about 158,000 troops under a plan aimed at establishing enough security to allow progress on political benchmarks seen by Washington as critical to long-term stability in Iraq. The Pentagon is due to provide a progress report on the so-called surge in September. While an increasing number of lawmakers are calling for a strategy shift in Iraq, some commanders have urged for more time beyond the September assessment.

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....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

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