Iraqi Responsibility For Security Increasing
Per the Washington Times:
Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the Multinational Corps Iraq, said that 36 Iraqi battalions, about one-third of the total force, are now responsible for their own security sectors and can fight the insurgency. But they are not yet ready to operate totally independent of U.S. supply lines and tactical advice………
"Iraqi security forces are able to conduct operations in a large portion of their area with only limited coalition support," Gen. Vines told Pentagon reporters via a teleconference from Baghdad. "They do require our support at this time. That support will be increasingly less over a period of time, but a precipitous pullout, I believe, would be destabilizing."
If the positive trends continue with the Iraqi forces, there are plans for measured decreases in American troops stationed in Iraq:
Per Sec of State Rice:
"The president has said that as soon as Iraqi forces are ready, we want to see a reduction in our own forces, and I think those days are going to be coming fairly soon when Iraqis are going to be more and more capable of carrying out the functions to secure their own future,"
The tentative plan calls for the reduction of troop levels from the current 18 brigade size by 3 brigades early next year. Per Rice it will be done the right way that does not destabilize the progress being made:
Any decision on when U.S. forces start coming home, Rice said, would be a "joint" one between Iraqi and coalition leader. She added that Bush will take his guidance from commanders in the field…………….
WaPo is covering the story as well:
It certainly is not time to cut & run like the majority on the left side of the aisle are calling for these days, even the paper hawks of the party:
party of defeat
It’s not time to repeat the George McGovern defeat march, rather it’s time to let the Iraqis continue to move forward towards self government, and hope that they get it right:
No McGovern March
Giving Iraqis a chance to get it right is what we have been doing and there are many positive signs of late. In the end it will be completely up to them as to whether they succeed. But leaving now as things are just beginning to stabilize would be a terrible decision and a very irrational one..............