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U.S. adviser’s Iraq memo: Time ‘to go home’
« on: July 30, 2009, 05:49:08 PM »

WASHINGTON - A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that the Iraqi forces suffer from deeply entrenched deficiencies but are now capable of protecting the Iraqi government, and that it is time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.”

Prepared by Col. Timothy R. Reese, an adviser to the Iraqi military’s Baghdad command, the memorandum asserts that the Iraqi forces have an array of problems, including corruption, poor management and the inability to resist political pressure from Shiite

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.”

Not the official stance of U.S. military
A spokeswoman for Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior American commander in Iraq, said that the memo did not reflect the official stance of the United States military, was not intended for a broad audience, and that some of the problems the memo referred to had been solved since its writing in early July.

Referring to the Iraq Security Forces, the memo said: “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” — that was sharply critical of the lapses in postwar planning.

Colonel Reese’s memo comes at a sensitive time in the Iraq conflict as American forces are gradually shifting to an advisory role. American combat troops moved out of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities last month, as required by the Status of Forces Agreement concluded by the United States and Iraq.

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External links
 
Colonel Reese’s memo lists a number of problems that have emerged since the withdrawal. They include, he wrote, a “sudden coolness” to American advisers and the “forcible takeover” of a checkpoint in the Green Zone. Iraqi units, he added, are much less willing to conduct joint operations with their American counterparts “to go after targets the U.S. considers high value.”

The Iraqi Ground Forces Command, Colonel Reese wrote, has imposed “unilateral restrictions” on American military operations that “violate the most basic aspects” of American-Iraqi agreement.

“The Iraqi legal system in the Rusafa side of Baghdad has demonstrated a recent willingness to release individuals originally detained by the U.S. for attacks on the U.S.,” he added.

The spokeswoman for General Odierno, Lt. Col. Josslyn Aberle, responded in a e-mail to questions about the memo. “The e-mail was written by Col. Timothy Reese at the beginning of July and sent to selected personnel within Multi-National Division Baghdad on our classified e-mail system,” Colonel Aberle wrote. “It was expressed to a limited audience, and not meant for wider/general distribution.

“The e-mail reflects one person’s personal view at the time we were first implementing the Security Agreement post-30 June. It does not reflect the official views of U.S. Forces in Iraq. Since that time many of the initial issues have been resolved and our partnerships with Iraqi Security Forces and G.O.I. partners now are even stronger than before 30 June.” G.O.I. is the abbreviation for Government of Iraq

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32223540/ns/world_news-the_new_york_times       full story
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