US general behind Iraq War ‘surge’ dies at age 67

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Raymond T Odirno, a retired US Army general who commanded in Iraq and served as the Army Chief of Staff, has died at the age of 67.

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His family issued a statement on Saturday saying: “The general died after a brave battle with cancer; his death had nothing to do with COVID.” The statement continued: “There are no other details to share at this time. His family is grateful for the concern and demands privacy. “

The general died on Friday but the family did not say where. Information about the funeral and interment has not yet been released.

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President Joe Biden called Mr Odierno a “hero of great integrity and honor”. In a joint statement, President and First Lady Jill Biden recalled that Mr Odirno spoke at the funeral of his son Beau, who served under him in Iraq and died of brain cancer in 2015, reports The Associated Press.

“Ray was a giant in military circles – first and always dedicated to the service members he commanded and served,” Bidens said, adding, “We stand with the Odirno family and all our brave service members who were shaped by Gen. and was cast. Odierno in the service of his lifetime. “

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Mr. Odirno served in several roles in the Army and Department of Defense during his career, with tours to Iraq, Germany, Albania and Kuwait.

As a three-star general he was assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and chief military adviser to the secretary of state.

In 2003, soldiers under his command captured the ousted president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and Mr. Oderno, famously remarking: “He was caught like a mouse. When you’re in the bottom of a hole, you can’t fight back.”

Mr Odirno also oversaw the controversial “surge” of the 2007 Iraq War, when thousands of additional troops were deployed to suppress violence in Iraq.

He made three visits to Iraq, and was the top US commander in Baghdad from 2008 to 2010. Mr Odirno retired in 2015.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Iraq

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