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Army chief opposes sending US troops back to Iraq

Army chief says US should support Iraq diplomatically but not send US troops back

FILE - This Sept. 18, 2013 file photo shows Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. Odierno, who led U.S. force...

US Iraq Odierno

FILE - This Sept. 18, 2013 file photo shows Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. Odierno, who led U.S. force...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. Army general who led troops through some of the most deadly years of the Iraq war says he opposes sending U.S. combat troops in response to the recent gains in that country by Islamic militants.

Gen. Ray Odierno said Tuesday he is disappointed by the Iraqi government's loss of control in key cities in the restive western province of Anbar.

He said the proper U.S. approach now is to remain engaged diplomatically to help Iraqi government leaders get their political system back on track.

Odierno said that despite Iraq's recent setbacks, it still has the potential to become a strong U.S. partner. He added that hopeful prospect is now looking "a bit shaky."

Odierno is the Army chief of staff. He spoke at the National Press Club.