Intelligence and military support Bush on dangers of pullout

Bill Gertz:

U.S. intelligence and military officials agree with President Bush's belief that a withdrawal of troops from Iraq will increase the danger of global terrorism and further destabilize Iraq, the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Mr. Bush reiterated his position last week, saying that pulling troops out too soon would be "dangerous" to U.S. security.

"Those who justify withdrawing our troops from Iraq by denying the threat of al Qaeda in Iraq and its ties to Osama bin Laden ignore the clear consequences," he said during a speech Tuesday at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina. "If we were to follow their advice, it would be dangerous for the world and disastrous for America."

Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, agrees that an abrupt change in strategy or a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops could be dangerous.

"What I would hope for is that we are very deliberate if we have a change in strategy ... and not try to do it in a very quick time frame, because I think there's a lot of danger and risk associated with that," Gen. Odierno said recently.

Two Democratic presidential candidates disagree with that viewpoint and are calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.


However, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told the United Nations on July 20 that early withdrawal of U.S.-led forces "would cause a disaster for Iraq and the region."

The best way forward, he said, is to ensure that Iraqi Security Forces are prepared to defend the country on their own.

"But we need time and space," Mr. Salih said, according to the Associated Press. "We need sustained support from the international community."

That support can be hard to find in the Democrat-controlled Congress.


Thomas Fingar, the deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, told the House Armed Services Committee on July 11 that a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq in January, which highlighted the dangers of a rapid troop pullout, is still valid.

"Coalition capabilities — including force levels, resources and operations — remain an essential stabilizing element in Iraq," Mr. Fingar quoted the NIE as stating. "If coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly ... we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict in Iraq, intensify Sunni resistance of the Iraqi government and have adverse consequences for national reconciliation."

The NIE also stated that a rapid pullout of the nearly 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq could lead to military intervention by neighboring states, "massive civilian casualties" and efforts by al Qaeda to use part of the country "to plan increased attacks in and outside of Iraq."

The assessment echoes that of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG), which released its final report on Dec. 6.

"We believe it would be wrong for the United States to abandon the country through a precipitate withdrawal of troops and support," the report stated. "A premature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions."


There is much more. You have to be willfully ignorant or a Democrat to think that pulling out of Iraq is a wise idea. It is one of the least intelligent ideas imaginable in a war we are winning. Many Democrats have an agenda that goes well beyond just quitting the war. They have a visceral dislike for the use of force under any circumstances and they see a humiliating withdrawal as a means of arguing against the sue of force at anytime in the future. That is one reason why they fear success in Iraq and are eager to preempt it before giving the surge a chance for success.


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