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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 23:24 GMT
US army 'to suggest Iraq changes'
Memorial to slain US marines in Iraq
The US death toll stands at more than 2,800 troops
US military leaders are preparing to recommend changes in strategy on Iraq, America's top military officer says.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Peter Pace said commanders were having their own dialogue and would make the changes that were needed.

President George W Bush is to meet members of a panel drawing up proposals for ending the conflict on Monday.

Iraq was a key factor in the Republican defeat in mid-term polls and US defence chief Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.

Mr Rumsfeld will be replaced by former CIA director Robert Gates, a member of the Iraq Study Group set to report to Mr Bush next week.
We have to give ourselves a good honest scrub about what is working and what is not working
Gen Peter Pace

The White House says it is open to new thinking on the conflict, and correspondents say it would not be surprising if a real change of policy emerged soon.

Democrat calls

Gen Pace told CBS that military leaders were taking a hard look at what they were doing in Iraq.

"We have to give ourselves a good honest scrub about what is working and what is not working... and what should we change about the way we are doing it."

But Gen Pace said Mr Rumsfeld's departure would not have a direct impact.

"We continuously review what's going right, what's going wrong, what needs to change," he added.

His comments came as the White House announced Monday's meeting with the bipartisan task force asked by Congress to examine the effectiveness of policy in Iraq.

The panel, which is led by former US Secretary of State James Baker, reportedly think that "staying the course" is an untenable long-term strategy.

It is said to have been looking at two options, both of which would amount to a reversal of the Bush administration's stance.

One is the phased withdrawal of US troops, and the other is to increase contact with Syria and Iran to help stop the fighting.

Democratic Party leaders visiting the White House in the wake of their poll victory have raised the idea of an Iraq summit.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat set to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives, has called for a change of strategy, describing the current policy as a "catastrophic path".

'War dead 100,000'

In Iraq, the health minister has said between 100,000 and 150,000 civilians have been killed in the war, far more than other previously accepted figures.

Officials say the total is based on estimates of the number of bodies brought to mortuaries and hospitals.

Casualty figures are a controversial topic, with estimates or counts ranging from 50,000 to 650,000 deaths.

Separately, the US military says three of its personnel have been killed in two separate incidents in Iraq.

At least 23 US troops have been killed in November.

In October, at least 105 soldiers were killed, the fourth highest monthly toll since US forces overthrew Saddam Hussein, and the worst for US casualties in nearly two years.


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