15 month withdrawal from Iraq a worthy effort?


A reader complained of lack of coverage of the ME at AB now compared to a few years ago, and charged it was a ‘pass’ on President Obama because he was our darling messiah. And of course ignoring the build up in Afganistan. Now this memo could be used to declare victory of the Bush planning and eventual response to realities of Iraq via General Patreaus and his policies. So here we go again.

Colonel Reese is reported by the NYT to have issued a memo recommending withdrawal from Iraq within 15 months, assuming all things remaining the same.

For all of these problems, however, Colonel Reese argues that Iraqi forces are competent enough to hold off Sunni insurgents, Shiite militias and other internal threats to the Iraqi government. Extending the American military presence in Iraq beyond 2010, he argues, will do little to improve the Iraqis’ military performance while fueling a growing resentment.

“As the old saying goes, ‘Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.’ ” Colonel Reese wrote. “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.”

The memo continued, referring to the Iraq Security Forces: “The massive partnering efforts of U.S. combat forces with I.S.F. isn’t yielding benefits commensurate with the effort and is now generating its own opposition. We should declare our intentions to withdraw all U.S. military forces from Iraq by August 2010. This would not be a strategic paradigm shift, but an acceleration of existing U.S. plans by some 15 months.”

Before deploying to Iraq, Colonel Reese served as the director of the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, the Army’s premier intellectual center. He was an author of an official Army history of the Iraq war — “On Point II” (warning…pdf) — that was sharply critical of the lapses in postwar planning.

The book is a usefull read too. See this announcement 7/31 by Defense Sec. Gates.