Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coming Home

Another brigade's worth of troops will come home from Iraq:

The reduced number of troops in Iraq — from 124,000 to 120,000 by the end of October — marks the latest U.S. step in winding down the six-year war. The reduction was to be announced Wednesday by Army Gen. Ray Odierno.

Not that there aren't problems in Iraq, but they aren't problems for the US military to combat. They include:

_"A clear security lapse," Odierno said, was evidenced by a pair of truck bombings Aug. 19 at Iraq's finance and foreign ministries, which killed about 100 people in Baghdad.

_A system of government that is accepted across what Odierno described as ethnic, sectarian and regional lines has yet to be agreed on. He described a power struggle between provincial officials and Baghdad and said long-standing tensions continue to stall progress between Arabs and Kurds. ...

_Although Iraqi leaders had planned to find government jobs for all members of a group known as Sons of Iraq, who helped curb the insurgency, "we do not believe they will meet this timeline," Odierno said. "We continue to monitor the progress of this program very closely."

Remember, the fact that we need to hold our gains in Iraq doesn't negate the fact that we made those gains.

But defending those gains increasingly is a non-military task for the United States, even as Iraqi forces continue to fight residual enemy forces that retain the capacity to kill civilians.