Tag Archives: Crocker

Petraeus Now Claims Force Reduction Will Occur

General Petraeus told Military Times editors there would be a reduction in the number of troops in Iraq as a result of reducing the number of troops in certain areas. “The concept is to thin our forces out rathr than to hand off.” His plan is to retain small outposts of cmbat soldieers by improving the security of these bases which he hopes would allow reduction in the number of troops in Iraq to about 120,000 by the fall. An important component of the plan is to use brigade headquarters as the transition point from emphasizing military operations to one in which there is also a shift to local projects that will ensure stability. This interview took place after General Petraeus attempted, with limited success, to sell his ideas to a rather skeptical Congress.

Secretary of Defense Gates and Petraeus told Congress there was need for a pause in order to evaluate the possibility of reducing the number of troops in Iraq but in this interview the Iraq war commander apparently has plans for reducing the number of troops. Some Democratic senators were concerned at the use of the word “reversible” which appears to reflect the fragility of “success” of the surge. They are concerned about the rise in casualties during recent days which witnessed the most bloody week in Iraq in months and the loss of 19 American lives as well as woundng of dozens.

Geneeral Petaeus told Congress, “we haven’t turned any corners. We haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel, the champagne bottle has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator.” His metaphor reflect a basic problem with the Petraeus report. “Victory” in Iraq is more of an economic/political change than a military solution. As of this point there has not been much, if any, of an improvement in the political situation in Iraq.

$30 Billion Iraq Government-Succcess Or Failure?

As General Petraeus and Ambasador Crocker, prepare to offer their ideas on the past, present, and future of Iraq, some Democratic congressmen are raising questions about the famous surge. Senator Carl Levin of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, wants to know why the Iraq government has accumulated a sum of $30 billion which rests in US banks drawing interest while the American public is paying high prices for gasoline. “I want the details,” said Levin, “I’m going to be pressing the ambassador about the funding issues.” However, the main topic of discussion will center on the success or failure of the surge durng the past few months. Senator Joseph Biden of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants to know: “Where are we after the surge? Back to where we were before it started, with 140,000 troops in Iraq and no end in sight?

Republican supporters of the surge argue the surge worked and fatalities are down. They point to examples of new legislation passed by the Iraq legislature and actions to confront violence by the government of Prime Minister Maliki. Or, as Biden raises, have we gone “from drowning in Iraq to treading water?” The Iraq government still requires the presence of 140,000 American troops despite five years of fighting.

In the end, the war in Iraq has always centered on political issues, not military. The Maliki government has failed to win the trust or support of Sunni members of their nation and divisions within the predominant Shiites continue to divide the country. Until those factors are addressed, fighting will continue in Iraq.