UK General on Troop Withdrawl

Major General J.B. Dutton, Commander of the Multinational Division Southeast, held a press conference earlier today.

One of the issues he touched on...without cue from a reporter...was the topic of troop withdrawl and force downsizing. He had a few notable points:
We are developing plans to enable the Iraqi security forces to provide for their own security with decreasing support from ourselves, the MNF. Now, obviously you have to tailor these plans to the area of Iraq you are in. The plans for the South are clearly going to be different than the plans for, let's say, Baghdad or Al Anbar province.
In other words, different force requirements for different demographics. Iraqi Security Forces will be able to "stand up" in some areas before they can do so in others. It doesn't all have to be one big sweeping "okay! you guys are in charge now, good luck!" situation with the transfer of security responsibilities.

A reporter from the AP followed up, asking for specifics on the responsibilities of the Iraqi Army and police. General Dutton replied:
We are in a situation here now and have been for some time when Iraqi forces take the lead for security. We are not after all fighting an insurgency down here. The sheer insurgency finished in August `04, and since then there have targeted attacks against ourselves and also sometimes intra-Shi'a and Shi'a-Sunni violence. But in general, there is not an insurgency going on down here. So we are already in a situation in the southeast where the security lead is taken by the police, and when the police need assistance, they call on the Iraqi army.
To echo what our commanders have been saying for two years now, Rome wasn't built in a day. We're making solid progress (as quoted by General Dutton), but different areas of Iraq require different troop strengths, have different costs, and will take different amounts of time to "hand-over."

I think that many Americans assume that the transfer of power -from Coalition to the Iraqi Army- was going to happen in one fell swoop, at some nebulous date in the next 5-10 years. Success will come in phases, not in a big lump. Patience!


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