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Bush aide: U.S. has done 'stupid things'

By Times Wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 24, 2003

WASHINGTON - Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said American officials underestimated the strength of resistance in Iraq by Saddam Hussein's supporters and have done other "stupid things" there.

"It was difficult to imagine before the war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue fighting, fighting what has been sometimes called a guerrilla war," said Wolfowitz, the second-ranking official at the Pentagon.

Wolfowitz's admission of mistakes Wednesday was a departure from administration efforts to put events in Iraq in a positive light.

"Some conditions were worse than we anticipated, particularly in the security area," Wolfowitz, returned Tuesday from a five-day tour of Iraq, said at a Pentagon news conference.

He named three: First, no Iraqi military units "of significant size" defected to the American side during the war.

"Second, the police turned out to require a massive overhaul," Wolfowitz said. "Third, and worst of all," he said, was the underestimation of resistance.

Troop rotation plan okayed, raises questions

WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of war-weary U.S. soldiers will be sent home beginning next month, Pentagon officials announced Wednesday, under a fragile rotation plan that underscores the strain that Iraq war has placed on the military.

The plan, as approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sends new waves of troops for yearlong deployments in Iraq to relieve the Army's 3rd Infantry Division and other units.

But for replacements it relies on foreign troops that have not yet been committed, on two National Guard brigades that have not yet been trained for the mission, on an Army division that just returned home from Iraq, and on two new Army brigades that have not been certified as combat-ready.

Also . . .

RECONSTRUCTION PLAN: L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, on Wednesday laid out deadlines for ambitious goals that include restoring electricity to prewar levels, training Iraqi soldiers and police to help with security and reviving Iraq's economy.

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