Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Obama To Lower Troop Levels In Iraq To Below Safety Levels

The Obama Administration has ordered the Pentagon via new SecDef Leon Panetta to lower troop levels by the end of the year down to 3,000, a figure most commanders on the ground consider too small to ensure the safety of the U.S. troops who would remain there.

Originally, the administration wanted to reduce the number to 10,000, less than half of what commanders said they need to continue counterinsurgency warfare, training and aiding in Iraqi security. The field commanders said they could possibly make that work "in extremis," in other words, meaning it was a push to make that level of forces work security-wise and manpower-wise.

Now they're faced with a third of the minimum number they insist they need.

"Discussions with the Iraqis on our post-2011 strategic relationship are ongoing, and no decisions on troop levels have been made," said Panetta spokesman George Little. "We continue to proceed with troop withdrawals as directed by the president."

On Tuesday, the head of the three-province Kurdish autonomous region in the north of Iraq, warned that if American troops leave sectarian violence might resurface. Massoud Barzani urged the central Iraqi government to sign an agreement with the U.S. to keep forces in the country.

What's going on of course is that Barack Obama is running for re-election.He'll want to campaign as the president who 'ended Bush's wars' and brought our troops back from Iraq. At the same time, by leaving what amounts to a skeleton force there he'll be able to say he's 'continuing the mission of securing Iraq' and pound his chest as a national security watch dog.

The fact that he's leaving a token force in country that could be overwhelmed if things get hot is secondary to the president's political agenda.

The smart thing to do would either be to withdraw our troops altogether so as not to leave a vulnerable small force behind or to leave at least enough troops to be able to defend themselves effectively and carry out their mission successfully.

Our president wants to vote present on this one and have it both ways, and that could end up being both dangerous and counterproductive if things get hot.

Lately, President Obama has been styling himself lately as the new Harry Truman, at least on the campaign trail. He probably never learned history at Harvard, but someone ought to tell him that Truman's withdrawing everything but a skeleton force from Korea led to much greater problems than he bargained for.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

I thought the Iraqi and the Americans had agreed to an end to combat missions by the end of
2011. In other words, Iraqis will have the final say on what, if any, troop levels and types will remain in country by the end of 2011. Since I don't see us wanting to remain and I don't see them asking us to say becuase they know we would turn them down outright assuming they wanted us there in the first place which they don't.

For what its worth, the smartest course of action would be a complete withdrawl. We need those forces to secure America. Trying to secure Iraq only wears them down and depletes them further.

A token force like where you seem to suggest the President is leaning is worse than dumb. If he goes in this direction, I would hope that the military commanders protest this vigorously even to the point of resigining their commissions rather than to carry out policies that are suicidal to our warriors and are suicidal to our interests and very likely suicidal to America itself.

Who knows, if enough military commanders resiged rather than follow down right dumb orders that place America in even more danger than it is already in, this might get someone's attention. If so, perhaps we will see a change in America's national secuirty policies that are saner and actually have a fighing chance to defend our country.