Yesterday at a satellite press briefing at the Pentagon, Gen. Ray Odierno got visibly agitated when pressed by reporters about the number of U.S. troops still in Iraqi cities, according to Reuters:
‘How many times you want me to say that? I don’t know.’
Seriously — you think the commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq really has no idea how many of his soldiers are currently deployed in the country’s urban centres? That he really cannot come up with even a ballpark figure? Let us all take a moment’s rest from being naive here. The reason for Odierno’s sudden bout of cluelessness is not that he’s not on the map as to where his assets are. It’s because in reality nothing much changed yesterday — most of the U.S. troops that were inside Baghdad and Mosul are still there. For political reasons, of course, this fact cannot be uttered aloud. All I can say is, pity the old soldier.