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U.S. Is Out of the Fight in Half of Iraq, Gates Says

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the steps necessary in Iraq before Washington can begin to withdraw troops are "already happening."

"Eight provinces in Iraq are already under provincial Iraqi control, where there are either no coalition forces or they are ... not involved in combat," Gates said, adding that Al-Anbar province, once one of the most violent parts of the country, appears to be the next headed in that direction.

So "what we have is half of Iraq where the transition has already been made to a different kind of role or mission for U.S. forces," Gates said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

He warned, however, that "it may take a while" for the rest of the country to get there, noting that Baghdad and Mosul are still wracked by heavy combat. He offered no timeline for the complete transition.

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Posted at 1:57 PM ET on Apr 13, 2008  | Category:  Sunday Talkies
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The problem here is that the war in Iraq has been subjugated to the 08 political campaign. Yes violence is down, but at the cost of undermining the very government that is supposed to be out ticket out of the country. We've created Sunni militias to ge them to halt attacks on our forces, but that also erases any chance that the Shia or Kurds will disband their militias. This means that the ISF will continue to be the fourth or fifth most powerful group in Iraqi combat forces, behind the Badr Corps, Mahdi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga, and the Sunni Awakening/Sons of Iraq groups. Since these groups are not beholden to the government in any real way, the power of the Iraqi government will continue to need underwriting of American fighting forces, which only perpetuates what we've seen for the past five years. Pro war advocates constantly point to lower levels of violence, casualties, etc, but they miss the point. It is not the casualty levels that are dooming the mission in Iraq, it is the financial expenditure and the strain on the military, neither of which was alleviated by the surge. America's economy cannot bear the extra burden of 50-70 billion in spending per year for Iraq/Afgahnistan, not to mention the costs of repairing and refitting our forces. The military cannot continue the vicious cycle of deployments that are cracking the foundation of the all volunteer force. Those are simple and undeniable metrics by which it can be stated that this war in Iraq must come to end in the relatively near future.

Posted by: M Johnson | April 14, 2008 5:50 AM

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HILLARY VOTED FOR THE WAR

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Posted by: . | April 13, 2008 6:27 PM

No Shibai Secretary Gates! What is happening in Iraq is actually very far from over. While certain Posturing Posers were trying to look good, Sleepers were "Sleep Walking" so to say.

Iran, has been very actively Training and equipping Iranian Loyalists all across Southern Iraq, and MORE. They have also been playing with Sunni Fire, and just got "Burned".

No, if anyone wants to talk about "Parts" of Iraq, it can be al-Sadr, al-Sistani, and Khameini who can argue that the Iranian Theocracy controls everything to North of An-Najaf, possibly Karbala! :-(

As Bushie would say: Heckuva Job! ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | April 13, 2008 4:50 PM

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