Concerning US Troop Withdrawal…

(Excerpts: “Iraq Withdrawal Can Only Work with Pressure on Iran and Syria” -Walid Phares, FOX News Contributor

“If the terrorist forces operating against the Coalition and the Iraqi Government are to vanish as soon as the U.S. pulls out, the withdrawal plan (any version of it) will be smooth and successful.”
My comment: In what universe is this going to happen?


“Iran’s leadership will sit down, talk, and sometimes listen — but it will at the same time continue its actions on the ground until it fulfills its own “mission.”….To penetrate, influence and seize 60% of Iraq from Baghdad to Basra as U.S. forces are withdrawing and certainly after the pull out. [Iran will use} special groups, the Mahdi Army, assassinations, infiltration in Government, etc….”
My comment: Extremists lie. Then they do what they want.


“…the success of the Obama plan will hinge on the capacity of his Administration to stop the flow of Jihadism from Syria and Saudi Arabia {into Iraq}.”
The article’s author states the need for quickly filling the ‘void’ left by final US troop withdrawal .
My question: how specifically would this be accomplished? Isn’t it in fact the presence of our troops that keeps a void from even existing in the first place?

Read entire article by FOX News contributor Walid Phares


Tell Me This isn’t Another Iraq…

President Obama has signed the order authorizing an additional 17,000 troops to be deployed to Afghanistan.

This deployment will begin in May, and will increase U.S. forces there by fifty percent, in addition to the 32,000 NATO troops already present. The White House has acknowledged that the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and American homeland security is threatened by al-Qaeda as a result of this. Taliban attacks, as well as U.S. and NATO casualties, in the Afghan/Pakistani area are higher than they have been since our war on terror began in earnest. A request for 30,000 more troops had been made previously, by the U.S commander in Afghanistan, and former President Bush had authorized them, but only 6,000 arrived this past month.

I personally am gratified to see President Obama taking this action, and I would say I’m greatly reassured as to his more aggressive approach towards combating terrorist activities, except that Obama has also stated that he wants to “limit U.S. objectives” in Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post. What does this mean? I would think, as per the title of this post, the president wants to do exactly that. Meaning, Afghanistan can’t become another Iraq, and let’s make sure it doesn’t. Let’s be careful how involved we get, and how we get involved.

Though Obama promised to withdraw our troops from Iraq in a clear, methodical manner, he has yet to begin that process, nor has he received any specific withdrawal plans from military planners. This signifies, to me, that perhaps a more cautious tone is prevailing here. Perhaps campaign promises were a bit too brash…? We are talking the security of not only the United States but the world, really; human lives, bloodshed and human suffering are the issues here. I would not want to be the leader with that responsibility on my shoulders. I cannot even imagine that kind of weight. Even so, I am glad to see that President Obama may be applying the brakes slightly, regarding U.S. troop evacuations, and yet I would also think it wisdom to consider our options in a regretfully necessary Afghan occupation.

Unbelievably, the response of the Afghan citizenry sounds just like the latter years attitude of the Iraqi public. They want us out. Or at least, less. A recent poll indicates only 18% are happy about an increase in U.S. troops there. Rising civilian casualties are, understandably, a source of resentment, and the coalition forces are gradually losing support for this reason, according to yesterday’s U.N. report.

This sound familiar to anybody?

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates Americans are divided roughly 2 to 1 as regards increasing our military presence in Afghanistan, the scales tilting against it. About one-third of us support troops increase; the rest, either let it be, or send some home…

Again, familiar ring…..?

AND YET…”…most Americans consider winning in Afghanistan essential to victory in the broader fight against terrorism…” ( Washington Post )


(Source: Washington Post)

" The Gamble"

( I really am in the middle of my next post on Thomas Jefferson and slavery….I got sidetracked again… )

As I’ve stated in a few forums, and possibly here and there on this site, I was a supporter of President George W. Bush, and of the Iraqi war. I was not, and am not, in favor of a 16 month troop withdrawal deadline. But we as a nation are moving on, there is a new captain at the helm, and I am trying to stay open (minded and -is hearted a word?) Anyway, until this morning I was…

Thomas E. Ricks, senior Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post and author of The Gamble, was being interviewed by Dick Gregory on ‘Meet the Press’. This is not a book review, and I may or may not get the book (only b/c I have a whole list of titles backed up & waiting for me! to read). But I felt an almost tingling, compelling sense of urgency to re-cap some of this interview here. Though I took notes, I was also trying to pay attention to the actual conversation, so I may be missing some names & exact dates, and I may end up crossing my i’s and dotting my t’s, but I’ll try to be as accurate as I possibly can…

The book’s full title is The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006 – 2008. The title would seem to be based on a summarizing remark made by a former infantry officer (who became a defense analyst for the Center for a New American Security.) Saying that the Iraqi war at best is likely to be ‘inconclusive’, the analyst called the war a ‘huge gamble’ for America, risking her future power and reputation on it. Ricks extrapolates from this statement his own conclusion that as a result of these risks, the Obama administration will need to be taking its own risks and gambles, in such a way as to make the first year of ‘Obama’s war’ even tougher than the last year of ‘Bush’s war’. According to Ricks, (and I agree) “alot of people back here incorrectly think the war is over.” His thinking on this is that we may only be halfway through the war in Iraq. Ricks cites U.S.ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker as saying that the events for which this war will be remembered haven’t even happened yet.

Of great concern to Mr. Ricks are the simultaneous events of a series of Iraqi elections being held during U.S troop withdrawals. When forces are needed most, their numbers will be least. And not only least, but lesser numbers in the more dangerous areas, which we will vacate last, as elections near their culmination.

The author says that while the surge was successful militarily, it was not so politically. The U.S. commander in Iraq, General Odierno, says that the ‘breathing space’ that was created by this strategy, intended to provide opportunity for a national reconciliation, actually allowed for just the opposite. Greater sectarianism has resulted. More division. Odierno says the people have stepped backward.

This General wants to see 35.000 troops left in Iraq – by 2015.

(Ricks states during this interview that there will come a time, during an earlier withdrawal process, when the generals will say, we don’t want to do this, it is too dangerous.)

Too dangerous….2015….issues for extremely serious consideration, as I see it.


Author’s note: For more of this interview, see Transcript .