Even if peace is achieved in Iraq, the United States Marines will remain on active duty, but this time it will be in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan. Senior Pentagon officials say the prpoposed shift of large numbers of Marines out of Iraq and into Afghanistan is back on the drawing board. According to Admiral Mike Mullen, “I think it’s going to be very much tied to force levels in iraq and then, should we be in a position to move forces into Afghanistan. I think that certainly would come back into consideration.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates added, “I think that’s a possibility.”
Admiral Mullen did acknowledge problems in shifting Marines to Afghanistan. “The Marines have been on a vey challenging rotration. And to be in a position that sort of having a foot in both countries is going to be, you know, it will be challenging.”
General Conway who heads the Marine Corps expects al-Qaida eventually will decide they have better operational facilities in Afghanistan than in Iraq and will make the move. Conway said in a memo, “Afghanistan, in some ways, will be an even tougher fight than Iraq.” The resources of Afghanistan are much more limited than Iraq and its geography facilitates guerrilla warfare tactics.