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WASHINGTON, DC - Sept. 04: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during a news conference the first day after returning from the August recess. As Congress prepares to receive a trio of reports on the war in Iraq, the top Senate Republican called for a long-term U.S. military presence in the Middle East. "I would like to see us with at least some level of bipartisan agreement that we need long-term deployment in the Middle East somewhere," said McConnell, citing the continuing potential for threats from al Qaeda and Iran. He said that he did not envision troops actively engaged in combat but a "long-term forward deployment" similar to the U.S. presence on the Korean peninsula. He said troops would not necessarily have to be in Iraq but "somewhere in the neighborhood," as the military and the president would decide. The Government Accountability Office was to deliver its Iraq assessment to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday afternoon, with Comptroller General David M. Walker addressing the panel. Walker will speak Wednesday to the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, and will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee Friday. Walker will tell lawmakers that Iraq met three and partially met four of the 18 military and political benchmarks set in the fiscal 2007 war funding legislation (PL 110-28) earlier this year. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly).

WASHINGTON, DC - Sept. 04: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during a news conference the first day after returning from the August recess. As Congress prepares to receive a trio of reports on the war in Iraq, the top Senate Republican called for a long-term U.S. military presence in the Middle East. "I would like to see us with at least some level of bipartisan agreement that we need long-term deployment in the Middle East somewhere," said McConnell, citing the...
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