In the midst of the Vietnam War, an American senator proposed his country simply declare it had won the war and was now sending its troops back home. Colonel Timothy R. Reese, a top military adviser urged his superiors in a secret memo to “declare victory and go home” months ahead of the current deadline. Reese argued “the massive partnering efforts of U.S. combat forces with ISF(Iraqi security forces) isn’t yielding benefits commensurate with the effort and is now generating its own opposition.” He supports the end of all American effort by August, 2010.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and President Obama are concerned American military success may not be able to be retained by Iraq military forces since what has been achieved is fragile and could readily be undone. A recent report from the RAND corporation warns Iraqi forces will not maintain efforts at peaceful solutions to problems and will revert to use of force, thus ensuring renewal of violence.

The Reese memo begins with recitation of an old proverb: “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.. we are guests in iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad for the Iraqi host.” Goodbye Baghdad, hello Broadway!