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Washington Post: Fort Riley's neighbors wrestle with the war


Today, [The Washington Post][1] visits the communties surrounding Fort Riley to find out what residents there think of this week's testomony by Gen. David Petraeus on the Iraq War."Within range of the sprawling headquarters of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, a place where Capitol Hill seems far and Iraq strangely near, Petraeus drew credit for navigating a delicate path with honesty and as much clarity as Iraq's tangled landscape will allow," Peter Slevin writes."Yet his endorsement of a continued increase in U.S. combat troops and a long American military role lifted few hearts, especially after three Fort Riley soldiers died last week in Iraq. With more than 125 soldiers from the base killed since 2003, the war does not seem nearly over, nor does the debate over its wisdom and duration."Slevin visited Manhattan and Junction City to see what locals are thinking of the war."Anthony Montez flipped on the television after class at Kansas State University to watch Petraeus tell Congress members that an extra contingent of U.S. troops will be needed in Iraq until next summer and that tens of thousands will be required for years more. That sounded right to Montez, 32, who retired from the Army last year after 10 years and two tours in Iraq. It will take time, he said, for Iraq's future leaders to grow up enough to take over, and Americans must hold the line until then."'I do think we do a lot of good,' he said."John Cook, a social worker at a Manhattan mental health center, sees things differently. He noted Petraeus's report respectfully. But he sees no way to justify further commitments to a war he believes has already cost too much in money and lives."On Monday, the day Petraeus presented his report, one of Cook's colleagues told him that her son-in-law had just been killed in Iraq."'I'm willing to accept there has been progress, but the price has been, of course, too high. There's no benefit worth the costs in lives, that I can see,' said Cook, 57."Other Kansas-related military headlines today:Fort Leavenworth[(KC Star) War demands sacrifice, ex-general says at Fort Leavenworth symposium:][2] U.S. politicians need to act as if the country is at war and ask for sacrifices accordingly, a retired four-star general said Tuesday at Fort Leavenworth. Barry McCaffrey also warned against retooling American military firepower and strategy too dramatically to meet the threat of Iraqi and Afghan insurgencies, saying that could leave the United States ill-prepared for its next major conflict. "I don't want to see us spend the next 15 years creating the military that would have been optimized to fight the counter-Sunni civil war campaign in Iraq. I'd rather conclude that we shouldn't fight that campaign," he said. [1]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/11/AR2007091101993.html [2]: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics/story/271285.html


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