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December 17, 2005
Those 3K Iraqis Sure Do Get Around

The three thousand trained Iraqis that Joe Biden says comprises all of the independent Iraqi security forces have a very full plate, according to the latest from the Washington Post. The American forces have already begun tasking Iraqi battaliions -- those that Biden says don't exist -- with holding territory in the most contentious parts of Iraq, and they are finding them succeeding in doing so:

The U.S. military is scaling back combat forces in regions of Iraq's Sunni Triangle that were once fiercely contested, freeing thousands of troops to shift to other trouble spots or to go home without being replaced, according to senior military officials.

The U.S. drawdown in parts of central Iraq is a new and important indicator of commanders' confidence in Iraqi security forces in a region long ravaged by lethal insurgent attacks. In Iraq's east-central Diyala province, for example, the U.S. military expects by next month to have cut the number of ground combat units by two-thirds -- a reduction of about 3,000 troops, according to U.S. commanders here.

Who was it that said, "As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down"? Was that the Man Without A Plan? It seems that the plan has been in place for quite a while, and that Slow Joe Biden couldn't recognize a trained military or security troop if he tied Biden's shoes for him.

Americans will continue dropping back into contingency bases, supplying logistical support for the growing and more competent Iraqi Army, much as it does for the various NATO forces in Europe -- like the Dutch, for instance, who insist that they cannot provide their own security more than 60 years after their liberation from the Nazis. (I don't hear Slow Joe demanding an exit strategy and a timetable for training the Netherlands to operate independently from the US, by the way.) We will remain available for support missions and continue to supply intelligence, weapons, and communications for the Iraqis, but we will increasingly find ourselves freed up for other tasks in the region and/or for return home.

Again, I know that this holds no surprise for people who have paid attention to the clearly stated mission given by the administration over the past three years, but for those who have spent that time chanting "BUSH LIED -- PEOPLE DIED!!" and have not heard about this "plan" thingy, welcome back to reality. This is what success looks like.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 17, 2005 9:47 AM

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