Friday, July 31, 2009

Good enough for what?

Yesterday, the New York Times published a memo written by Col. Timothy R. Reese, Chief of the Baghdad Operations Command Advisory Team, in which he advised that the U.S. should end its combat operations in Iraq now and get all its troops out within a year. The American forces are somewhere between irrelevant and an irritant, he wrote, and the Iraqi Security Forces are "good enough." That day 12 Iraqi civilians were killed by bombs. The next day it was 29. Good enough for you? It's encouraging to have evidence that at least someone in an official capacity in the U.S. military understands the futility of keeping American soldiers in Iraq way after they've worn out whatever welcome they may have had (a dubious conjecture to begin with), even more encouraging that he's willing to go on record with that analysis and that someone has made sure the NY Times got a copy of the memo. But damned if we won't end up patting ourselves on the back for getting the level of violence somewhere back near the one we created six years ago and would never tolerate in our own country. "As the old saying goes, 'guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,'” he wrote, naming U.S. troops as the guests. Smell anything fishy, anyone?