Gates Nixes Marine Shift to Afghanistan

Defense secretary says troops needed in still-volatile Iraq
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2007 5:48 AM CST
Marines in Falluja point out blast marks on their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) to media during a visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Camp Falluja in Iraq's Anbar province in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates has rejected a proposal to shift Marine Corps soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan, saying the situation is still too volatile in Iraq, reports the New York Times. The top general of the Marines met with Gates in Washington last week and presented a formal proposal to move his troops from Anbar Province and deploy them in Afghanistan.

Marine Corps officials couched their proposal in the logic of military capabilities, but some analysts see another motive: maneuvering for a higher profile and more significant slice of the budget at a time when military spending is certain to decline. The Marines have 25,000 soldiers in Iraq, but none in Afghanistan.