Thursday :: Nov 2, 2006

Iraqis Now Want Another 3 Years?

by Steve


I wish the Iraqis would get their stories straight. Earlier this week, Prime Minister al-Maliki ordered American forces to remove checkpoints and hamper their efforts to find an American soldier taken captive presumably by the same Shiite militias that are the core of al-Maliki’s support. Al-Maliki also said that his forces could take over the security functions in the country from the Americans within 6 months, and not the 12-18 months that General Casey has consistently been estimating.

Then today, President Talabani told a French audience that Iraq will need American troops another three years to fight foreign terrorists before Iraq’s own forces can deal with them, staying totally silent on whether or not Iraq’s forces can deal with sectarian militias now or in the future. He went further and disparaged the Pentagon’s classified assessment that the country was sliding towards “chaos”.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Thursday U.S. troops should remain in Iraq for up to three more years to enable the local authorities to develop their own security forces.
At the start of a week-long visit to France, Talabani rejected suggestions Iraq had descended into civil war and accused the media of focusing exclusively on negative stories.
However, he said “international terrorists” were still concentrating all their efforts in Iraq which meant the country needed outside help to defeat them.
"We need time. Not 20 years, but time. I personally can say that two to three years will be enough to build up our forces and say to our American friends 'Bye bye with thanks'," Talabani told a conference organized by the IFRI think-tank.
“There is no civil war. The media is focusing only on the negative side of Iraq. ... We need to give the real picture. It’s not just car bombs. Visit Iraq from the north to the south. Never mind Baghdad,” he told reporters.

Never mind Baghdad?

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said more than 40 civilians died each day last month as a result of the political violence and the New York Times this week quoted the U.S. military as saying Iraq was descending into chaos.
Talabani angrily shrugged off the suggestion. “The Pentagon can say what it likes,” he said, cutting short the questioner.

Why do I get the feeling that when Talabani talks, he is sitting on Dick Cheney’s lap? I don’t disagree that there are large portions of the country that aren’t war zones, but to characterize the problem by minimizing Baghdad and in terms of foreign terrorists without also addressing the utter failure of his government to deal with homegrown sectarian militias shows a detachment and denial normally associated with the Bush Administration’s stay-the-course policy.

The American public is not going to support keeping our forces there another three years to snuff out Al Qaeda unless they see a commitment from the Iraqis to deal with their own militias simultaneously. Mr. Talabani has some work to do of his own.

Steve :: 9:59 AM :: Comments (33) :: Digg It!