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U.S. General Won’t Rule Out Iraq Extensions

June 7, 2004

WIESBADEN, Germany (AP) _ Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday he could not rule out keeping soldiers from the 1st Armored Division in Iraq beyond a previously announced three-month extension.

``I think it is unlikely, but in the end we are going to have to do what is needed to be done _ never say never,″ Myers told reporters during a visit to Wiesbaden, where the 1st Armored Division is based.

Soldiers from the division were to have begun returning to Germany in April, but had their tour extended because of a surge in violence in Iraq.

``The decision to extend the 1st Armored Division was very difficult, but they are also involved in a very important mission,″ Myers said.

Myers stopped over after attending Sunday’s D-Day commemorations in France to talk with 120 family members, and said he was ``impressed with the spirit and resolve of our military families.″

He said he had no plans to meet Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the commander of a Wiesbaden-based military intelligence brigade implicated in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

U.S. Army officials investigating the mistreatment are examining whether military intelligence officers ordered or encouraged the abuse. Pappas, head of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, was named in Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba’s report as someone ``either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses.″

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