More Iraq US troop cuts 'likely'

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Doomsday101, May 23, 2008.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    The top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, says he expects to be able to recommend cuts in US forces before he leaves his post in September.

    Gen Petraeus told a Senate panel he hoped to make the recommendation at the end of a 45-day freeze on withdrawals, which is due to start in July.

    He would not say how many troops would be withdrawn.

    The Senate panel is considering Gen Petraeus' nomination to be appointed head of US Central Command.

    After the latest round of withdrawals is completed in July, the US will have about 140,000 troops in Iraq.

    Gen Petraeus played a key role in the Bush administration's "surge" strategy, which has been credited with helping reduce violence in Iraq.

    Pressure on Iran

    He told the Senate panel that security conditions in Iraq had continued to improve despite the withdrawal of three of the five surge brigades and that Iraqi security forces were taking on more responsibility.

    "Prime Minister Maliki, his government, the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi people, in addition to our troopers, deserve considerable credit for the positive developments since Ambassador Crocker and I testified a month and a half ago," he said.

    Gen Petraeus said he did not know if the next withdrawal would be as large as a brigade - a unit of between 3,000 and 5,000 troops.

    "I do believe that there will be certain assets that... we'll be able to recommend can be either redeployed or not deployed to the theatre in the fall," he said.

    On Iran, Gen Petraeus told senators the United States should increase pressure on Tehran to counter its rising influence in the Middle East, and should retain the option of military action as a last resort.

    He has been nominated to take charge of US Central Command, the headquarters responsible for US security interests which covers an area from the Horn of Africa into central Asia and includes all operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    His former deputy in Iraq, Lt-Gen Ray Odierno, has been nominated to replace him in Baghdad.

    Gen Petraeus has been credited with bringing about progress on both the political and economic fronts in Iraq since he took over as the top commander in February 2007.
  2. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Ahhh, just in time for the elections...

    But I'm sure the timing is entirely coincidental...
  3. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Do not worry ...... I am sure there will be more Soldiers deaths to benefit Obama or Clinton.
  4. iceberg

    iceberg winter??? RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!! Zone Supporter

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    for a man who's been shouting to bring forces home for a long long time, when it is brought about it could finally be about to happen, you're still not happy.
  5. Jon88

    Jon88 Benched

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    Liberals are never happy. It is always something.
  6. iceberg

    iceberg winter??? RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!! Zone Supporter

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    no. next it will be "They never should have been there to begin with!!!"

    always sumptin.
  7. hank2k

    hank2k Member

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    I guess the 81% who think we're headed in the wrong direction are all liberals.

    (CBS)*Americans' views on the economy and the general state of the country have hit an all-time low in the history of the CBS News/New York Times poll. Eighty-one percent of those polled say the country is on the wrong track, while only 14 percent believe it is heading in the right direction.

    Asked to compare the state of the country to how it was five years ago, 78 percent say things are worse today - the highest percentage since CBS News began asking the question in 1986. Only four percent say things are better now.
  8. iceberg

    iceberg winter??? RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!! Zone Supporter

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    what does this have to do w/sb being mad they're there *or* coming home? rest assured i think there are massive whiners on *both* sizes.
  9. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    I say it's better to leave with your heads held high, knowing you have surpassed all expections, that you have turned the tide. Then leaving with your tail between your legs in political defeat, when our own politicians publically proclaimed defeat. Can you say "Harry Reid".
    Hold your heads high, for you have silenced the nay sayers, the defeatists of this country, the left,
    Alot has changed in a years time since the surge.
    You have made America proud once again, and we are proud of you our fighting men and women, volunteers every last one you, serving this great country and some, making the ultimate sacriface in protecting our freedom.
    You are true Patriots, you are just in your cause, offering freedom to those, who have never known it.
    God Bless you!
  10. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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  11. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    Violence falls to four-year-low

    *Al Qaeda close to defeat, says US envoy

    *Sadrists say government endangering truce

    (Adds three Sunni tribal chiefs killed in last paragraph)

    By Ross Colvin

    BAGHDAD, May 24 (Reuters) - Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level in more than four years, figures released by the U.S. military showed on Saturday, but officials said progress was still fragile and reversible.

    Iraqi security officials said an offensive against al Qaeda in the northern city of Mosul, which the U.S. military says is the Sunni Islamist group's last major urban stronghold, had wiped out most of the insurgent network.

    Washington's envoy to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, declared that al Qaeda had never been closer to defeat. The United States says the group is the biggest threat to peace in Iraq and has blamed it for most of Iraq's deadliest suicide bombings.

    "You are not going to hear me say that al Qaeda is defeated, but they've never been closer to defeat than they are now," Crocker told reporters during a visit to the Shi'ite holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala in southern Iraq.

    The U.S. military released slides showing that incidents of violence, including roadside bombs, shootings and mortar and rocket attacks, had fallen to their lowest level since the week of March 26, 2004.

    The drop follows a surge in violence that threatened to unravel the security gains made over the past year. A government offensive against Shi'ite militias in the southern city of Basra in March sparked widespread violence in other towns and cities.

    The figures are good news for U.S. President George W. Bush, who sent 30,000 extra troops to Iraq last year to halt a slide toward sectarian civil war and has rejected calls by Democrats for 155,000 troops to be withdrawn as soon as possible.

    Bush has argued that this would hand victory to al Qaeda, a position shared by Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The two Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have campaigned for troops to be brought home.


    According to one of the unclassified slides made available to Reuters, the number of incidents in the week ending May 23 was around 300, down from a high of nearly 1,600 in mid-June 2007.

    "For security reasons we cannot give out exact figures, so this is a ballpark figure," U.S. military spokesman Major John Hall explained.

    He attributed the fall in violence to the growth in the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces and their increased involvement in counter-insurgency operations, the formation of largely Sunni Arab neighbourhood patrol units, and a ceasefire declared by anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

    "There has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq. The levels of violence and civilian deaths have been reduced substantially," he said, adding that the progress was "fragile and reversible".

    "Al Qaeda in Iraq and a number of other extremist elements have been dealt serious blows," he said.

    The group, which has defied previous predictions of its demise, sought haven in Iraq's northern provinces after being pushed out of western Anbar province and Baghdad last year.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf said Iraqi-led operations in Mosul, capital of Nineveh province, had destroyed "most of the insurgents' network".

    "We have arrested most of the wanted men and the operations are continuing. The are no longer big challenges in Mosul. There will always be sleeper cells, but that is not important because we will be able to deal with those cells," he said.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki launched the offensive against al Qaeda in Mosul as part of a wider plan to stamp his government's authority over areas where armed groups hold sway.

    Iraqi troops now patrol Basra after reaching a truce with Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

    Tens of thousands of troops moved unopposed this week into Sadr City, Sadr's Baghdad bastion, under a separate truce that ended nearly seven weeks of fighting with U.S. and Iraqi forces.

    The fragile truces in Basra and Baghdad were tested on Friday when Iraqi security forces fired into the air to disperse worshippers loyal to Sadr who had gathered for the Friday Muslim prayers in an open square. At least six people were wounded.

    At about the same time, police raided Baghdad's Amil district, arresting about 400 people, many of whom had gathered at Sadr's office, which doubles as a mosque, for Friday prayers.

    "This aggression on our Friday prayers is a new escalation which could have grave consequences for the future," Salah al- Ubaidi, spokesman for Sadr, said on Saturday.

    A bomb attached to a minibus killed three tribal chiefs on Saturday after they left a conference at the headquarters of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, a small Sunni political party. Police said four other people were wounded in the attack. (Additional reporting by Adrian Croft)
  12. DallasFanSince86

    DallasFanSince86 Pessimism Sucks

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    Great picture.
  13. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Exactly when did I say I wasn't happy that some of them will be coming home??

    All I did was express cynicism about the timing... just like I expressed cynicism when gas prices started plummeting weeks before the 06 midterms...

    Permit me to note that I'm only a "liberal" to mindless, knuckle dragging neandercons... to the rest of the THINKING world, I can only be described as a moderate... so when you try to marginalize me with the "l" word, all you do is reveal your own political extremism...
  14. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Oh yeah??

    Exactly what do you think has changed in the last year?? We're no closer to what Dubya himself has defined as "victory" (a stable, democratic Iraq) than we were back then... Iraq is still in the middle of a bitter, bloody civil war...

    Yay, us...
  15. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Between September 8th, 2005 and December 31st, 2006 (right before the start of the "surge"), 479 Americans died... 479 dead in 460 days...

    Since the surge began, between December 31st, 2006 and March 23rd, 2008, 448 American soldiers have died... that's 448 dead in 447 days...

    So, in the first 460 day span, 1.04 Americans died per day; in the second 447 day span, 1.0 Americans have died per day...

    WOW, we're really putting a stop to the violence... FWIW, these figures are courtesy of the Washington Post, and charts on the subject can be found at the following link:

    If you look at those charts, you'll see that yes, we ARE in a lull right now, violence has been down a bit these last coupla months... but those charts show similar lulls in past years as well, only to be followed by upticks in the violence...

    That's how a guerilla war goes, that's how it went in Vietnam; we'd have lulls in the violence, and our leaders would start telling us that victory was in sight... I particularly remember the optimistic rhetoric we were reading, talking about how North Vietnam was on the run, in the weeks before the Tet Offensive... clearly, what was happening then was the enemy was pulling back and regrouping for a BIG offensive...

    IOW, a downtick in violence doesn't necessarily mean us good guys are winning... such downticks often mean that the enemy is getting ready for a SERIOUS offensive...

    Proud of our troops, certainly not proud of the war...

    In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted between 5/8 and 5/12, 62 per cent of respondents said we were wrong to invade Iraq... 70 per cent favored either an immediate withdrawal or setting a definite timetable for getting out...

    In a CBS/New York Times poll taken between 4/25 and 4/29, 62 per cent of respondents want the war ended "in the next year or two", 57 per cent say we should have stayed out of there in the first place...

    In a USA Today/Gallup poll taken between 4/18 and 4/20, 63 per cent of respondents said we made a mistake in invading Iraq...

    In an ABC/Washington Post poll taken between 4/10 and 4/13, 64 per cent of respondents said invading Iraq was "not worth it"...

    Clearly, if you're trying to suggest that America is proud of having invaded Iraq, you're just dead WRONG... I'm certainly not proud of that war, even as I am proud of the young men and women being forced to fight it (it ain't their fault that our leaders have gotten them into this fiasco)... and neither are the vast majority of Americans...

    The truth is, you who still defend this war represent the minority in America these days... most of the rest of us look at it as an umitigated disaster...

    So perhaps you shouldn't presume to speak for all Americans, at least on this subject...
  16. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    What a crock of MANURE...

    It has been estimated that AQI has been responsible for at most 15 per cent of the attacks in Iraq (according to national intelligence estimates), and many experts say the administration has exaggerated even that number, claiming that the figure is closer to 2 per cent...

    Crocker would have us believe that defeating AQI is the key to victory in Iraq, and that is simply a LIE...

    Andrew Tilghman, a reporter for Stars & Stripes (the military's newspaper) wrote an article titled "The Myth of AQI" that was published in Washington Monthly Magazine in their October issue in which he writes:

    IOW, he's suggesting that Dubya is still trying to use al-Qaida as a "boogeyman" to scare the American electorate, and somewhat exaggerating both their importance, and their impact in the field... even if they were responsible for the 15 per cent that official estimates claim, clearly defeating them would not spell the end of the civil war in Iraq... beat al-Qaida, run 'em clean out of Iraq (which wouldn't matter, since their staging bases are already outside of Iraq), and you're still not close to ending the violence in that country... you'll still have all these other factions to defeat before real peace can be achieved...

    The problem in Iraq is NOT al-Qaida, even if Dubya would have you believe otherwise... the problem is centuries-old tribal antagonisms; the Shia are not going to peacefully let the Sunnis run things, the Kurds aren't about to trust either of them...

    IOW, the current drop in violence is a new development, of relatively short duration, which follows on the heels of INCREASED violence... further, it's caused mostly because of al-Sadr's agreeing to a cease-fire, not because of the American "surge" (the Americans were not the ones fighting the Sadrists)...

    Furthermore, there is no indication that this recent drop in violence is something that will continue long-term, it might well just be a brief lull in the violence... indeed, just today we saw Sadrist legislators stand up and warn that the truce could fall apart if the government gets too aggressive...

    Even as Crocker tries to be optimistic, he's too honest not to admit that the gains are fragile, and perhaps temporary...

    I'll give him props for that, and will resist the urge to insult him for playing the shill for Dubya... it sounds to me like he has some distaste for the role...

    To sum up, it's highly unlikely that al-Qaida in Iraq is in its death throes, the way the administration wants us to believe... all along, they have melted away when they have been directly confronted, to appear somewhere else... run 'em out of Baghdad, watch 'em show up in Basra; run 'em out of there, and they show up in Mosul...

    Even if we succeed in running them completely out of the country, all they'll do is go to their staging bases in neighboring countries, where they can rebuild and resupply, and look for the next place to strike...

    And even if we were ultimately able to defeat AQI altogether, that still wouldn't come CLOSE to achieving peace in Iraq (Sadrists are a huge threat, and they're not al-Qaida)... that country has much bigger problems than AQI...
  17. hank2k

    hank2k Member

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    Dont forget the fake terrorism alerts. Get out your duct tape and flashlights people.
  18. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Fake terrorism alerts. Hank, you are now near Quincy land.
  19. iceberg

    iceberg winter??? RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!! Zone Supporter

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  20. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    It's because, I believe in the bigger picture, an Iraqi Democracy, that if we stay the course get this fledgling government on it's feet, we will have earned a new consideration in the Arab world and among our allies. That the repercussions of not achieving this stability will cause major economic hardships for all of us and far greater instability in the middle east region.
    All recent indications point to a Government and it's people taking pride and control of their country.

    Change That Matters
    Iraq has changed. Why can't the Democrats?
    by Matthew Continetti

    General David Petraeus was back in Washington last week. President Bush has promoted him to chief of Central Command (CENTCOM), which requires Senate confirmation. Under Petraeus's leadership, Iraq has changed dramatically. Why can't the Democrats change with it?

    Bush announced the surge in January 2007. Iraq was a violent place. Al Qaeda in Iraq held large swaths of territory. Shiite death squads roamed much of Baghdad. The Iraqi political class seemed feckless. Hence Bush's decision to send more troops, replace General George Casey with Petraeus, and change the mission from force protection and search-and-destroy to population security. The new strategy's strongest proponent and supporter was Senator John McCain.

    Democrats opposed the surge almost without exception. Barack Obama said that the new policy would neither "make a dent" in the violence plaguing Iraq nor "change the dynamics" there. A month after the president's announcement, Obama declared it was time to remove American combat troops from Iraq. In April, as the surge brigades were on their way to the combat zone, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid proclaimed "this war is lost" and that U.S. troops should pack up and come home. In July, as surge operations were underway, the New York Times editorialized that "it is time for the United States to leave Iraq." The Times's editorial writers recognized Iraq "could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave." But that didn't matter. "Keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse."

    Wrong. When Petraeus returned to Washington in September 2007, he reported that the
    numbers of violent incidents, civilian deaths, ethnosectarian killings, and car and suicide bombings had declined dramatically from the previous December. Why? The surge--and the broadening "Awakening" movement, which began when the sheikhs in Anbar province rebelled against al Qaeda in late 2006 and accelerated when the tribal leaders understood America would not abandon them in 2007.

    How did Democrats respond? bought a full-page in the Times suggesting Petraeus had betrayed the American people. Senator Hillary Clinton said that to accept Petraeus's report required the "willing suspension of disbelief." Those Democrats who did not question the facts moved the goal posts instead. They said the surge may have reduced violence, but had not led to the real goal: political reconciliation.

    Petraeus returned again to Washington in April of this year. Violence had been reduced further. American casualties had declined significantly. Al Qaeda was virtually limited to the northern city of Mosul. There were more Iraqi Security Forces, and those forces were increasingly capable. The Iraqi government had passed a variety of laws promoting sectarian reconciliation. And the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, was demonstrating that he was a national leader by meeting with Sunnis and launching military operations against Shiite gangs and Iranian-backed "special groups" in the southern port city of Basra.

    Democrats responded this time by saying the Basra operation was a failure and that any reduction in violence only meant Americans could come home sooner rather than later. Wrong again, because (a) despite early missteps the Iraqi army had control of Basra within a couple of weeks, and (b) any precipitous, politically calculated American withdrawal would clearly lead to more violence, not less. What is new is that Petraeus's strategy and tactics, his patience and expertise, have succeeded and now allow some of the surge brigades to return home without replacement--and without a spike in killing. There's every reason to continue his strategy, not abandon it and force a withdrawal.

    On May 22, Petraeus was able to tell the Senate that "the number of security incidents in Iraq last week was the lowest in over four years, and it appears that the week that ends tomorrow will see an even lower number of incidents." On May 10, Maliki traveled to Mosul to oversee the launch of a campaign against al Qaeda. The number of attacks in Mosul has already been reduced by 85 percent. Acting CENTCOM commander Martin Dempsey says that Al Qaeda in Iraq is at its weakest state since 2003. Also last week, Iraqi soldiers entered radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr's Sadr City stronghold in Baghdad. They met no resistance.

    The Iraqi army and government have done exactly what Democrats have asked of it, and the Democrats remain hostile. Their disdain and animosity has not diminished one iota. Nor has their desire to abandon Iraq to a grim fate.

    We keep hearing that this year's presidential election will be about judgment. If so: advantage McCain. For when it comes to the surge, not only have Obama and his party been in error; they have been inflexible in error. They have been so committed to a false narrative of American defeat that they cannot acknowledge the progress that has been made on the ground. That isn't judgment. It's inanity.

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