2005/09/30

State of progress in Iraq

...clueless Lieutenant AWOL says: "The growing size and increasing capability of the Iraqi security forces are helping our coalition address a challenge we have faced since the beginning of the war. And General Casey discussed this with us in the Oval Office. See, it used to be after we cleared the terrorists out of a city, there wasn’t enough qualified Iraqi troops to maintain control — so when we left to conduct other missions, the terrorists would move back in. Now, the increasing number of more capable Iraqi troops has allowed us to better hold on to the cities we have taken from the terrorists. The Iraqi troops know their people, they know their language, and they know who the terrorists are. By leaving Iraqi units in the cities we’ve cleared out, we can keep the cities safe while we move on to hunt down the terrorists in other parts of the country."

Funny, I thought the new term for the enemy in Iraq was "insurgents" or a combination of "foreign terrorists and insurgents". I wasn't aware that the terms had shifted back to merely "terrorists". In any event, Bush now appears to have recognized that the lack of troops is a very real and serious problem (Which is something liberal bloggerss have been pointing out for over two years now). Uh, slight problem though:

One battalion. "The Iraqi military has only one battalion — about 500-600 soldiers — capable of fighting on its own, U.S. commanders told lawmakers Thursday. Many Iraqi police are not being paid, and insurgents are infiltrating Iraqi police and military forces, the commanders acknowledged. Even so, Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, said U.S. troops could start leaving next year if Iraqi voters back a proposed constitution and form a government." [emphasis added]

The Washington Monthly points out that:

...there's still only one Iraqi combat battalion capable of fighting on its own. Yeah, that kind of sucks, I thought.

Turns out it's worse than that:

The number of Iraqi army battalions that can fight insurgents without U.S. and coalition help has dropped from three to one, top U.S. generals told Congress yesterday, adding that the security situation in Iraq is too uncertain to predict large-scale American troop withdrawals anytime soon. [emphasis in original]

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who oversees U.S. forces in Iraq, said there are fewer Iraqi battalions at "Level 1" readiness than there were a few months ago....

So, after all this time, the number of Iraqi battalions capable of battling on their own is dropping?!?! The President finally realizes that "Hey, we need more troops to do the job." and the number of people available to do the job shrinks?!?!? What the hell kind of progress is this?!?!?

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