At least, not with respect to ending the Iraq war. But don’t believe us – here it is from the horse’s mouth:
Bush Sees South Korea Model for Iraq
Wednesday May 30, 2007 10:01 PM
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush envisions a long-term U.S. troop presence in Iraq similar to the one in South Korea where American forces have helped keep an uneasy peace for more than 50 years, the White House said Wednesday.
The comparison was offered as the Pentagon announced the completion of the troop buildup ordered by Bush in January. The last of about 21,500 combat troops to arrive were an Army brigade in Baghdad and a Marine unit heading into the Anbar province in western Iraq.
Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins, deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there are now 20 combat brigades in Iraq, up from 15 when the buildup began. A brigade is roughly 3,500 troops. Overall, the Pentagon said there are 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. That number may still climb as more support troops move in.
The administration warns that the buildup will result in more U.S. casualties as more American soldiers come into contact with enemy forces. May already is the third bloodiest month since the war began in March 2003. As of late Tuesday, there were 116 U.S. deaths in Iraq so far in May – trailing only the 137 in November 2004 and the 135 in April 2004. Overall, more than 3,460 U.S. service members have died.
Presidential spokesman Tony Snow said Bush has cited the long-term Korea analogy in looking at the U.S. role in Iraq, where American forces are in the fifth year of an unpopular war. Bush’s goal is for Iraqi forces to take over the chief security responsibilities, relieving U.S. forces of frontline combat duty, Snow said.
“I think the point he’s trying to make is that the situation in Iraq, and indeed, the larger war on terror, are things that are going to take a long time,” Snow said. “But it is not always going to require an up-front combat presence.”
Read the rest here.