Monday, July 21, 2008

The nation's senior military official warned yesterday against a plan, put forward by presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by early 2010.

"I think the consequences could be very dangerous," Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on "Fox News Sunday." "I'm convinced at this point in time that . . . making reductions based on conditions on the ground are very important."

Obama has argued that a drawdown in Iraq is necessary to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. The senator from Illinois was in Afghanistan yesterday, and reiterated on CBS's "Face the Nation" his call to add two and perhaps three U.S. brigades there. [Story, A4.]

Mullen said conditions in Iraq have improved, and "we're making progress." If that trend continues, he said, "I would look to be able to make recommendations to President Bush in the fall to continue those reductions."

Asked whether more troops might depart before Bush leaves office in January, Mullen said, "Certainly there are assumptions which you could make which would make that possible."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," former vice president Al Gore warned that time is ticking down on the opportunity to avert a climate disaster.

"We may have less than 10 years in order to make dramatic changes, lest we lose the chance to avoid catastrophic results from the climate crisis," which, he said, "is threatening our country, threatening all of human civilization."

Last week, Gore proposed a 10-year plan to move the nation's entire energy supply to renewable sources, reinventing the electricity grid, moving fully to electric cars and spending billions of dollars on solar, wind and other renewable technologies.

"We need to reset the bar and change the debate," he said. "Our current course is completely unsustainable."

-- Zachary A. Goldfarb

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