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US Speeding Up Iraq Troop Withdrawal

From a delighted Associated Press:

U.S. soldiers escort Iraqi detainees who are waving to their families before their release in al-Rasheed district council in southern Baghdad, September 30, 2009.

US speeds Iraq withdrawal; 4,000 more headed home

September 30, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is speeding up its military withdrawal from Iraq, sending 4,000 more troops home next month, the top American commander there says.

The reduced number of troops in Iraq — from 124,000 to 120,000 by the end of October — marks the latest U.S. step in winding down the six-year war. The reduction was to be announced Wednesday by Army Gen. Ray Odierno…

A copy of Odierno’s testimony was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. A Defense Department official confirmed Odierno planned to announce he is reducing the number of brigades in Iraq, as has been widely expected.

In his eight-page statement, Odierno voiced cautious optimism about Iraq’s future. But his outlook for the nation he called an enduring U.S. interest was far from rosy.

He predicted several looming problems as U.S. troops prepare to end combat missions by September 2010 and leave Iraq at the end of 2011.

Those problems include:

— ”A clear security lapse,” Odierno said, was evidenced by a pair of truck bombings Aug. 19 at Iraq’s finance and foreign ministries, which killed about 100 people in Baghdad.

— A system of government that is accepted across what Odierno described as ethnic, sectarian and regional lines has yet to be agreed on. He described a power struggle between provincial officials and Baghdad and said long-standing tensions continue to stall progress between Arabs and Kurds…

Still, Odierno said the darkest days of the Iraq war seem to be long gone, citing failed efforts by extremists still seeking to destabilize the nation.

”The overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people have rejected extremism,” Odierno said. ”We see no indications of a return to the sectarian violence that plagued Iraq in 2006-2007.”

On the bright side, Odierno cited data showing that the monthly number of attacks in Iraq has dramatically dropped over the last two years — from more than 4,000 in August 2007 to about 600 last month.

He also said that far fewer al-Qaida and foreign fighters remain in Iraq, and most of those who are left are criminals and disenfranchised Iraqis who have been recruited by what Odierno described as a ”small ideological core” of insurgents.

Well, we can only hope Gen. Odierno is right.

And that he is acting upon the best military judgment rather than political pressure from Mr. Obama and his America-hating constituents.

”We see no indications of a return to the sectarian violence that plagued Iraq in 2006-2007.”

Let’s hope that’s true, as well.

But the civilian toll in Iraq spiked in August, with the highest number of violent deaths there for more than a year.

A detail our watchdog media has been careful to soft-pedal.

By the way, the Associated Press neglected to mention whether Gen. Odierno’s testimony was classified or not.

Of course, why should tipping our hand to the enemy matter to them?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “US Speeding Up Iraq Troop Withdrawal”

  1. proreason says:

    Funny, but off the top I would have to say that the policy most likely to result in Iraq slipping back into the forces of darkness would be withdrawing American troop too quickly.

    The only thing more disastrous would be letting Iran get nuclear weapons. Thank goodness our president has been so forceful about that.

  2. MinnesotaRush says:

    Let’s get all our boys (and girls) outta there before Iraq’s neighbors sandbox gets turned into glass beads.

    Don’t mean to be crass or shallow here, just sayin’, ya’ know.

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