National Post (Canada)
September 22, 2006
Iraqi Troops Are Winning The War
The recent article ("Why we’re losing", 9/19/2006) contains the erroneous claim that in Iraq "150,000 U.S. troops have been trying to win a war that, from the very beginning, called for double or triple that number." This is doubly misleading.
First, it implies that Secretary Rumsfeld has opposed sending more troops to Iraq if that proves necessary. As General Tommy Franks told the Senate in July 2003, while still in command in Iraq: "There has been [the] suggestion that perhaps there should be more troops. And in fact, I can tell you … that if more troops are necessary, this secretary's going to say yes." Since then, the Secretary has regularly asked General John Abizaid, the current commander of U.S. Central Command, and General George Casey, the commander of Multinational Force – Iraq, if they have all the necessary resources, and, if not, what more is required to carry out a successful campaign. Commanders in the field have consistently said that they need more capable Iraqi forces, not American troops. This is what has occurred over the past three years.
There are now, in fact, “double or triple that number” of troops in Iraq, as some 300,000 Iraqi Security Forces are now trained and equipped. 106 Iraqi Army battalions are currently taking part in combat operations. In fact, Iraqi forces now lead nearly 75 percent of combat operations in their respective areas. The capability of the Iraqi Security Forces continues to grow.
Bryan Whitman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.