Captain's Quarters Blog

« The Innocence Project's Single Guilty Secret | Main | The Axe, Poised »

November 23, 2005
As The Iraqis Stand Up ...

The Washington Post reports that soon after the last round of Iraqi elections concludes, American commanders in Iraq plan to drop three of the 18 brigades deployed in Iraq, in favor of the burgeoning Iraqi security forces. One brigade would transfer to neighboring Kuwait as a rapid-reaction force, and the other two brigades would simply never arrive to relieve two slated to return to the United States in the first quarter of 2006:

Barring any major surprises in Iraq, the Pentagon tentatively plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces there early next year by as many as three combat brigades, from 18 now, but to keep at least one brigade "on call" in Kuwait in case more troops are needed quickly, several senior military officers said.

Pentagon authorities also have set a series of "decision points" during 2006 to consider further force cuts that, under a "moderately optimistic" scenario, would drop the total number of troops from more than 150,000 now to fewer than 100,000, including 10 combat brigades, by the end of the year, the officers said. ...

Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, the senior tactical commander in Iraq, indicated to reporters at the Pentagon yesterday that his staff had looked at shrinking U.S. force levels more quickly. But he made his opposition to such a move clear.

"A precipitous pullout, I believe, would be destabilizing," Vines said from Baghdad.

Another senior general likened an accelerated withdrawal to "taking the training wheels off of a bike too early," warning that a sudden removal of all U.S. troops would risk the collapse of Iraq's fledgling security forces. He and several other officers privy to the planning for force reductions said the process has not been affected by the mounting political pressure in the United States and among some Iraqi leaders for U.S. troops to leave.

Despite the blatherings in Congress last week, the military has its own plans on when American forces can safely withdraw from Iraq. Based on readiness assessments of the indigenous security forces as well as political progress, it assumes that one American battalion can leave the theater for every three Iraqi battalions that achieve a Level Two readiness -- able to take a leadership role in combat operations with some American support, be that tactical or communication or leadership. It's a formula that makes sense, and more to the point, it's one we've seen work in the field where Iraqi troops have been able to occupy cities after cleaning out terrorist holdouts.

We have heard this formula over and over again from the Pentagon and the White House, and yet the opposition keeps insisting that no one has any plan for disengagement in Iraq. The plan for disengagement is victory -- a free and democratic government in Baghdad that has the security forces to protect itself while Iraqis make their own decisions on how to govern themselves. It's no different than the plan to disengage from Bosnia, only it didn't take ten years to get around to it. It differs significantly from Kosovo; ten years after pacifying the province, no one can decide whether it should even govern itself at all, let alone how to do so and how to build a republic that will signify success.

The Left will keep screeching that the sky is falling all over Iraq, even as the previously oppressed citizens vote in ever-larger numbers and form the region's newest democracy. They will insist on seeing disaster in every newsbreak and failure at every turn, because they do not believe that the US can do any good outside of its own borders or that the American national interest can also benefit Iraqis, Afghanis, and others who have their first taste of true freedom thanks to the efforts of the Anglo-American coalition. The soldiers and Marines know better, even if the journalists by and large won't cover anything but the bombs.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 23, 2005 7:01 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is


Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!