Never Forget Who Started This!!!!
From my friend CJ via email this morning.
General Petraeus and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended that we move forward with additional troop reductions over the next several months – continuing our policy of "return on success." With this reduction in forces, the President also announced additional troop deployments to Afghanistan.
Ø Eight thousand troops will come home from Iraq without replacement. The reduction of forces will include 3,400 combat support troops over the next several months, 1,200 Marines serving in Anbar Province, and another Army combat brigade of about 3,400 troops in early 2009. In addition, troop deployments to Iraq have been reduced to 12-month tours instead of 15. If progress continues in Iraq, General Petraeus believes that further reductions are possible in the first half of 2009.
Ø Successes in Iraq and increasing capability of Iraqi forces have allowed for a reduction in coalition troops. Many coalition partners have now completed their mission in Iraq, and more will be able to conclude their deployments this year. More than 140,000 troops from 41 countries have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and troops from Australia, Azerbaijan, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Ukraine have given their lives in this fight.
Ø A Marine battalion will deploy to Afghanistan in November followed by an Army combat brigade of about 3,400 troops in January 2009. During the past year, the United Kingdom, France, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Australia, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and others have sent additional forces to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan. U.S. forces serving in Afghanistan now total 31,000, up from about 21,000 two years ago. Additionally, there are 31,000 coalition troops, an increase of about 11,000 over the past two years.
Ø The United States, Afghanistan, and our allies will nearly double the size of the Afghan National Army over the next five years. This new initiative is an international effort to help the Afghan government mobilize more forces of its own and further enable Afghan security forces to take a leading role in building a democratic Afghanistan.
The Success Of The Surge And Increased Capability Of Iraqi Security Forces Is Undeniable
Ø Anbar Province, once considered "lost," has now been reclaimed by the Iraqi people. Iraq's largest province has a mayor and functioning municipal council in almost every city. U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams are assisting local leaders in creating jobs and economic opportunities.
Ø Attacks in Anbar Province are down more than 90 percent from October 2006. The success in Anbar is a credit to Iraqi Security Forces, the local tribes, and American troops who together dismantled al Qaida's safe haven.
Ø Across Iraq, violence is at its lowest point since spring of 2004, and civilian deaths, sectarian killings, and suicide bombings are all down. Successful operations led by Iraqi Security Forces against Shia extremist groups have been conducted in Basra, Baghdad, and al-Amarah, capturing hundreds of Al Qaida fighters and extremists.
Ø Normal life is returning to Iraq, and political reconciliation is moving forward. Markets are open and full of commerce, restaurants once again can stay open late, and hundreds of doctors who fled the violence have returned to Iraq to serve the people of their country. The United States will continue working on the Strategic Framework Agreement and Status of Forces Agreement to establish bilateral relations with Iraq like those we have with dozens of other countries and to authorize multinational forces for security support.
Ø We are on the offensive in Iraq, and Iraqi Security Forces are increasingly capable. Current Iraqi-led operations are being conducted in the northern city of Mosul and in Diyala Province where al Qaida seeks refuge. While the progress in Iraq is still fragile and reversible, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker report that there now appears to be a "degree of durability" to the gains we have made.
The Taliban And Al Qaida Will Not Be Allowed To Return To Power In Afghanistan
Ø Troop increases have made a difference in Afghanistan. Improved security is the foundation for peace as well as political and economic success in Afghanistan. The increases in the Afghan National Army, NATO, and U.S. forces will help restore basic security, which is the key to restoring the confidence of the Afghan people.
Ø America has committed over $10 billion in 2008 and 2009 for political and economic development. Unlike Iraq, there are few natural resources in Afghanistan. Its underdeveloped infrastructure, fragile democratic institutions, and ruthless attacks from the Taliban and al Qaida present huge challenges. New personnel from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the State Department's Foreign Service office will increase our civilian presence. Provincial Reconstruction Teams and Agriculture Development Teams will help Afghans fight corruption, improve governance, feed their people, and jump start their economy.
Ø Pakistan has an interest in and responsibility for defeating the Taliban and al Qaida. The Taliban and al Qaida fighters who hide in Pakistan's remote border regions pose a threat to Pakistan's future as they have recently stepped up their attacks in the region. Pakistan's new democratically elected leaders have a responsibility to govern their territory and prevent establishment of a staging ground for extremists to plot and carry out terrorist attacks.
Ø NATO and the United States are committed to working with Pakistan to fight al Qaida and the Taliban. The same terrorists who take refuge Pakistan's remote border regions and target and kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan are also plotting new attacks against Europe and America.
Success In Iraq And Afghanistan Is In The Interests Of The United States And Our Allies
Ø The situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is difficult. All three countries have seen violence and terror used to impose an ideology on their people. There is another way forward in the broader Middle East – freedom.
Ø Defeating our enemies requires success on both the military and ideological fronts. The courage of our Armed Forces, coalition partners, government civilians, and the Iraqi and Afghan people ensures we will prevail in the battle against the al Qaida, the Taliban, and the extremists that support and fight alongside them.
Ø America will stand by brave elected leaders, determined reformers, and millions of people who seek liberty, justice, and tolerance. There will be difficult times in the work ahead, but we can transform nations that once harbored terrorists into allies in the war on terror.
Labels: A Soldiers Perspective, afghanistan, al anbar, gwot, helping iraq/afghanistan, iraq security, Petraeus, troops