It’s Time for the U.S. to Declare Victory and Go Home
Posted on Jul 30, 2009
By Col. Timothy R. Reese
Editor’s note: Col. Timothy R. Reese is a senior U.S. military adviser to the Iraqis in Baghdad, at the flash point of the transition of power. Reese penned the memo below, which challenges the timetable championed by President Obama and Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior American commander in Iraq. Leaked text by way of the New York Times.
As the old saying goes, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose. Today the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are good enough to keep the Government of Iraq (GOI) from being overthrown by the actions of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the Baathists, and the Shia violent extremists that might have toppled it a year or two ago. Iraq may well collapse into chaos of other causes, but we have made the ISF strong enough for the internal security mission. Perhaps it is one of those infamous paradoxes of counterinsurgency that while the ISF is not good in any objective sense, it is good enough for Iraq in 2009. Despite this foreboding disclaimer about an unstable future for Iraq, the United States has achieved our objectives in Iraq. Prime Minister (PM) Maliki hailed June 30th as a “great victory,” implying the victory was over the US. Leaving aside his childish chest pounding, he was more right than he knew. We too ought to declare victory and bring our combat forces home. Due to our tendency to look after the tactical details and miss the proverbial forest for the trees, this critically important strategic realization is in danger of being missed.
Continue to read: