Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he hopes to be a ble to continue to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq over the coming months even as military commanders in the field poder a pause in troop cuts. Secretary Gates told Australian military leaders it might be necessary to have a brief “pause” in order to reflect on the situation and consider what can be done in the future regarding a withdrawal of American forces. “I think my hope still is that we will be able to further draw down our troops in Iraq over the course of the next 10 to 12 months.” He did not comment on the decision of the new Rudd government in Australia to cut back on its forces in Iraq. “We’re concerned about the strees on our forces, the Australians are confronting that challenge themselves.”
Australia has a force of about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan and shares concerns that many
European nations are not placing sufficient numbers of men in the field in that area of the world. Gates was given assurances there is no present plan for withdrawal of Australian forces from Afghanistan.
A recurring issue is the lack of a comprehensive plan for dealing with Afghanistan as allies squabble over what to do and the situation shows scant sign of success. Six years have passed without a vigorous approach to creating a vibrant economy and challenging the Taliban in rural areas of the nation.
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded US forces in Iraq from 2003-2004, came out in support of Democratic congressional proposals for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. “The improvements in security produced by the courage and blood of our troops have not been matched by a willingness on the part of Iraqi leaders to make the hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country,” he told a radio audience. “There is no evidence,” he added, “that the Iraqis will choose to do so in the near future or that we have an ability for force that result.” He supported the House bill calling for a timetable on withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
General Sanchez made mistakes while leading American forces in Iraq which undoubtedly allows his critics to come down hard on these recent statements. But, General Sanchez, is also an example of someone who has learned from past failures and is willing to venture along new roads. Essentially, he is suggesting the necessity of a tough policy toward Iraq political leaders by challenging them to take action or face the prospect that American forces will leave. There is a great deal of sense in this perspective since the Bush placating of incompetent narrow minded Iraqi political leaders has not demonstrated evidence that change will occur.
Posted in Democrats, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, George Bush, Iraq, Military, Peace, Politics, Republicans, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Democrats, Gen. Sanchez, Iraq, Withdrawal troops
Prime Minister Gordon Brown indicated there would be a significant withdrawal of British troops from the Basra area. He proposed “over the next few months to move from a situation where we have a combatant role for an overwatch role.” He pledged to bring British troops home by Christmas.
The prime minister’s comments are interesting because as he pledged to get British troops home by Christmas reports are circulating that Brown has indicated his support for Bush plans to launch an air attack on Iran. If such attacks are made, there is no doubt the world will witness an incredible increase in suicide bombing and insurgent activities against American and British troops in Iraq. If Gordon Brown is serious about his desire for switching from combat to an “overwatch role” in Iraq, he must oppose Bush plans for war with Iran. Only a naive person would actually believe there will be peace and quiet in Iraq after an attack on Iran.
Posted in George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Military, UK, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Gordon Brown, Iran, Iraq, UK, Withdrawal troops