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"We have to leave to win"

Reported by Chrish - December 29, 2005

US Sergeant Major Steve Greer, just returned from Iraq, was a guest of David Asman (guest hosting) on The Big Story today 12/29/05. The topic was the US forces' change in strategy in fighting the insurgents in Iraq, and the success of the change in strategy. But Greer said something that only a few months ago would have had him labeled as anti-troop, and he would have been accused of "cutting and running."

The chyron below the segment read for the most part, US Forces change terror-fighting strategy.

Greer spoke very fast, so I'll just synopsize what he said:

The counter-insurgency is made up of terrorists and foreign fighters, and Sunni and Shia rejectionists, who object to the US occupation presence. The latter are trying to influence not only the political situation but also the military fight.

He referred to the two takings of Fallujah and said they are using the same tactics in other cities: have an Iraqi security force come in and occupy the city directly behind the coalition forces. But Fallujah is still, two years later, not completely clean of safe-havens for "a certain terrorist element". When Asman asked "enough Iraqis "haven't been killed so that Iraqis are willing to inform on their neighbors who are harboring a terrorist" Greer replied that some who do not support the insurgents' tactics are so opposed to the occupation, so rather than turn in another Muslim or another Iraqi who is part of the insurgency, they just keep their mouths shut.

Asman asked what will make it better, a lessening of US forces on the ground in Iraq. Greer then said

"that's one of the strategies: we have to leave to win. I think there's no doubt, we now understand, we've reconceptualized what the idea of insurgency really means. Coalition forces have got to pull out of sovereign Muslim land - we know that."
BUT we don't do that until the conditions are set: those are prosperity, and economic, and the Iraqi governmental system. (Comment: Seems like the bar just got raised - prosperity now?) IF the Sunnis buy into the political process and the government becomes one that is representative of all Iraqis, and can ensure the human rights of all Iraqi citizens, and the Iraqi security forces can actually defend their country, and can defend external threats to their country, that's when the Sunnis will buy into the process, and you'll see us disengage more and the Iraqis take over more of the battle space.

Comment: Sounds like a Catch-22 and we'll be there forever. This "change of strategy" and talk of troop reduction is false hope being dangled out as the war drags on and becomes increasingly unpopular. Asman ended the segment with "let's hope it happens soon" but I'll add, don't hold your breath.

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