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August 11, 2005

Iraq: mission unaccomplished

Seems that the military doesn’t share Bush’s rosy outlook on Iraq [October 2005: link dead, no substitute available]:

Iraq’s leaders and military will be unable to lead the fight against insurgents until next summer at the earliest, a top U.S. military official said Wednesday, trying to temper any hopes that a full-scale American troop withdrawal was imminent as Iraq moves toward elections scheduled for December.
Both Americans and Iraqis need “to start thinking about and talking about what it’s really going to be like in Iraq after elections,” said the military official, who spoke in an interview on the condition he not be named. “I think the important point is there’s not going to be a fundamental change.”
The official stressed that it was “important to calibrate expectations post-elections. I’ve been saying to folks: You’re still going to have an insurgency, you’re still going to have a dilapidated infrastructure, you’re still going to have decades of developmental problems both on the economic and the political side.”
U.S. military officials in Iraq said last month that it might be possible to withdraw 20,000 to 30,000 of the 138,000 American troops by next spring if Iraqi civilian leaders managed to meet deadlines for drafting a new constitution and holding elections.
… In Baghdad, the U.S. military official sought to tamp down any hopes that political progress would immediately improve security.
The Iraqi government’s opponents “certainly are not going to pack up and go away, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. Instead, he suggested, insurgent attacks are likely to surge as Iraq’s new constitution and government take shape.
If “you’re a terrorist or an insurgent, what I can say to myself is, if I can kill this process, I’ve got to do it this year,” the official said. “I think they’re going to pull out all the stops.”

Which means many more dead American troops. Something for George and Cindy to discuss, should their paths ever cross.

Posted by Stephen at 12:48 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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