James Forsyth

Obama should listen to the architects of the surge

Obama should listen to the architects of the surge
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Tom Ricks has a fantastic essay in The Washington Post about the generals who—in defiance of the military establishment—pushed for the surge and the change of tactics in Iraq that have been key to that country making such progress in the last two years. One of the key points in the piece is how the architects of the surge, oppose any rapid draw down of US troops—something that Obama remains committed to. Ricks writes:

“Obama is likely to find Odierno and other generals arguing passionately that to come close to meeting his commitment to keeping U.S. troops safe, keeping Iraq edging toward stability and maintaining the pressure on extremists, he will need a relatively large force to remain in Iraq for may years.

When asked what sort of U.S. military presence he expected in Iraq around 2014 or 2015 -- well after Obama's first term -- Odierno said, "I would like to see a . . . force probably around 30,000 or so, 35,000," with many troops training Iraqi forces and others conducting combat operations against al-Qaeda in Iraq and its allies.” To pull back from Iraq too fast, risking what has been achieved there would be strategic folly of the highest order. Instead, the Obama administration should listen to those who know the situation on the ground and whose judgement has been proved right by what has happened there.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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