"If we don't have guts enough to confront this ideology today, we'll go through World War Three tomorrow," Gen. John Abizaid said in a speech at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, outside Boston, on Friday, November 17, Reuters reported.
The US commander said that failure to stop the militancy would allow extremists to "gain an advantage, to gain a safe haven, to develop weapons of mass destruction and to develop a national place from which to operate."
"And I think that the dangers associated with that are just too great to comprehend," he added.
The United States and its ally Britain have been accused of playing the terror card and employing the fear factor to boost plummeting ratings.
President George W. Bush's Republican Party has taken a drubbing in the November midterm Congress elections in which the Democrats wrestled control of both houses of Congress.
A recent report by British think tank, the Chatham House, said that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Al-Qaeda group is losing sympathy in the broad Muslim world over discomfort about the association of Islam with violence and the indiscriminate civilian killings.
In a report presented to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday, November 13, a galaxy of world-renowned scholars, politicians and religious leaders blamed political conflicts rather than religious differences for a yawning divide between Muslims and the West.
The top US general blamed three major factors for fueling violence in the Middle East: the Arab-Israeli conflict, the spread of militant extremism and Iran, which Washington has accused of seeking to develop nuclear bombs but Tehran has denied the claim.
"Where these three problems come together happens to come in a place known as Iraq," said Abizaid.
Abizaid has vehemently rejected calls for a timeline for US withdrawal from Iraq.
"The sacrifice that is necessary to stabilize Iraq, in my view, must be sustained in order for the region itself to become more resilient," he added.
Democrats, who seized on the public disgust with Bush's Iraq war, have pressed for a phased US withdrawal from Iraq in four to six months.
Abizaid said the United States had underestimated the challenge of preparing Iraq security forces to stabilize the war-torn country.
"We thought we could go from US-led to Iraqi-led without having to pay the price of the transition, in terms of manpower and resources, etc.," Abizaid said.
"Now we realize we have to invest heavily in this transition so you can bring them up faster."
Three years after the US invasion-turned-occupation, Iraq has been gripped with bloody sectarian violence with over a hundred of innocents are being killed on a daily basis.
Abizaid said the level of violence in Iraq was "unacceptably high" and said the 140,000 US forces currently deployed there should focus on training Iraqi units.
The New York Times reported last week that top US military officials began a broad review of Washington's strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Bush administration's so-called "war on terror."
After the Democrats' wing, Bush has conceded to mounting demands to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has come to symbolize the administration's unwillingness to change a policy that has failed to bring order to Iraq and that has lost popular support at home.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16