‘We Have Taken It as Far as Americans Can’
Usually when a journalist says “this is a thoughtful piece of writing” what s/he means is “this is a well-expressed recapitulation of things I already believe,” but, really, in the straightforward sense, this is a thoughtful piece of writing from a Marine stationed near Fallujah, brought to us by Tom Ricks. As it happens, it does recapitulate things I already believe, as well as other propositions that I’m not so sure about, but that’s a separate issue. It’s just a very thoughtful piece of writing that deserves your attention.
” …But we have taken it as far as Americans can. In my opinion, anything we do now may do more harm than good in delaying the inevitable and reinforcing [Iraqis], at times, crippling malaise. The only enduring role for Americans is to provide the safety net to prevent complete collapse, chaos, and civil war; three things that I do not believe will happen in any event.”
Additionally, the Defense Department just emailed this out to reporters:
“The United States is committed to full, transparent, and continued implementation of the security agreement in a spirit of partnership with the sovereign nation of Iraq. Iraqi security forces continue to take the lead in the security and stability of Iraq,” said Gen. Ray Odierno, commanding general, Multi-National Force Iraq. U.S. forces outside urban areas will continue to conduct operations by, with, and through, ISF, focusing on securing Iraqi borders and areas outside the cities. “In order to meet our obligations under the security agreement, some U.S. forces will remain in cities to train, advise, and coordinate with Iraqi security forces, as well as support civil capacity efforts led by the U.S. Mission-Iraq, government of Iraq (GoI) and the United Nations. All U.S. forces retain full authority and ability to protect themselves, Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqi public,” said Odierno.